Over 280 tutors from multiple football disciplines such as medical, coach education, psychology and refereeing joined together at St. George’s Park for the 2014 FA Licensed Tutors’ Club Conference this week.
Focused on the theme of Engage and Innovate, tutors enjoyed a programme of workshops and presentations delivered by a mixture of FA and elite performance development coaches that centred on developing tutors’ understanding of how to improve the effectiveness of their delivery.
The first of these presentations came from the world-renowned expert on performance development and author of The Gold Mine Effect, Rasmus Ankersen.
In his session he examined how a select band of training centres around the world have emerged as epicentres for producing uniquely high rates of successful sportsmen and women, and outlined some of the lessons that can be learned from each of them.
It was the first of two keynote speeches, the second of which was delivered by Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL.
Her presentation, The Teenage Brain, took an in-depth look at how hormonal, physical, psychological and social factors impact the biological development of the adolescent brain and the consequences it can have for teenage learning.
The conference also included a selection of workshops for tutors to choose from. The FA’s Jack Walton looked at the role of technology in aiding delivery, while Pete Sturgess, FA Technical Lead 5-11, was joined by Dr Misia Gervis for a session on the Enhanced Learning Environment.
Gervis, whose work at Brunel University focuses on developing the university’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses in coaching and sport psychology, explored the key principles of positive psychology and its application in building learners’ strengths to unlock their potential and help them develop other skills.
One of the day's more animated workshops made for a somewhat noisier affair. Language and communications expert Avril Carson's session on Presentation Skills looked at how tutors can captivate and influence audiences by bringing their presentations alive through voice work.
Finally, renowned sports psychologist Andy Cale and education consultant Merfyn Roberts attracted strong crowds to their workshops that focused on Managing Feedback and Managing Challenging Behaviour respectively.
Speaking at the end of the day, National Tutor Workforce Manager, Tessa Payne was delighted with how the day had gone.
"It has been a fantastic day and to see such an abundance of learning going on everywhere you look has been wonderful to watch," she said.
"Our hope and aim when designing this conference was that all tutors who attended would leave with valuable knowledge, experiences and new ideas that will ultimately improve and upskill them as a developer.
"From what we have been seeing and hearing throughout the day, we have definitely achieved that."