by Thomas Coupland
This week, 39 coaches from around the country took part in a three-day residential CPD course at St. George’s Park.
'Developing defenders', run by Elite Coaching Director Dick Bate, is designed to examine and develop the candidates’ knowledge of the skills and mental processes required of the modern player.
Delivered through a series of stimulating theory-based and practical sessions, the course looks at a wide array of practices intended to enhance technical and tactical capabilities.
Against the iconic backdrop of the Sir Alf Ramsey indoor 3G pitch, we managed to speak to two candidates.
Chris Witts, a coach from Horley Town FC, and Lee Warren, a coach from Welling United, spoke first about their reasons for taking the course.
Warren said: “The reason why I wanted to take the course was to develop a broad knowledge of what a defender is and how they go about their roles and responsibilities on a pitch.
“I had heard that Dick Bate is a very good coach and I wanted to improve my own general knowledge to hopefully take back and implement in training within matches.”
Similar motivations were shared by Witts, who was focused more on the practical elements of the course.
He revealed: “The practical sessions on the pitch, working with the players and improving them as units were the main things I wanted to take from the course.
“With that knowledge I hope to improve as a coach so I can then take it back to my players and implement it with them.”
One of the key methods behind 'Developing defenders' is examining the different defensive strategies and tactics employed by teams operating at the highest levels of the game.
While it is a feature that relates more towards coaches at the top end of the game, Warren revealed that the course was still very much accessible for candidates at all levels.
He said: “Dick has been fantastic. He is a very good coach, has excellent mannerisms and is very concise.
He is able to get his point across with minimal effort and minimal amount of words used, so it has been good.”
Coaching players from U7s to U18s, Warren has faced the challenge of promoting defensive positions to his players.
However, having taken the course, he believes he now has new ways of encouraging young players to find the attraction of becoming a defender.
He added: “Something I tend to find at the moment in British football is that people want to play in midfield or as a forward player.
“Not many people are keen on being defensive players even though their role is vitally important to the team in protecting the team and making sure no goals are conceded.
“I have now found potential new ways of making it more fun for children and getting them to understand that the role is really important and that it can be fun at the same time.”
'Developing defenders' is one of a series of three ‘Developing’ modules, 'Developing midfielders' and 'Developing forwards', that count towards Licensed Coaches’ continuous professional development.
To find out more about Developing Defenders and how to book your place for 2013, click here
For more information on St. George's Park, click here