Deny space

I have embarked on the Level Two Certificate in Coaching Football with FA Learning and Suffolk FA this week, and throughout his time on the course will be sharing his experiences and hopefully encourage others to take their next steps into coaching…

Day Three – 4 April 2012

Wednesday started and ended in a similar way for me – writing a session plan.

With our first day of ‘mock’ assessments coming up tomorrow, Keith (tutor), gave us the opportunity to have a look at how to draw up a plan for a coaching session, something that is an essential part of the Level Two course that helps you as a coach and also provides evidence for the assessors that you actually understand what you are trying to deliver.

It covers the preparation basics; number of players, venue, medical information, equipment, health and safety. It then goes on to ask about the aims of the session, warm-ups and cool-downs, key technical aspects and also provides space to draw up any diagrams to illustrate what the session will look like. The second page looks at Long Term Player Development (LTPD) and how the session will affect the four-corners – psychological, physical, technical and social, ideas to develop the session and then finally the self-evaluation after you’ve finished the practical.

That’s how I wrapped up my evening, completing a session plan on my topic for Thursday – ‘Create Space as a Unit’ – while half-watching Chelsea beat Benfica and at the same time observing  the movement of the attacking team and how they used the ‘principles’ to make the pitch bigger and exploit their opponent.

I needed an early night, though. We’ve only reached the half-way mark of the week and we’ve probably spent over 12 hours in total on the training pitch at Suffolk One. Today was the longest day, and the chilliest, and after focusing on the final few required areas of attacking principles – forward runs without the ball, 1-2s, overlapping and third-man running – we moved onto the defence side of the game.

We had a brief look at goalkeeping, and as I watched Keith explain the basics, I chatted to Josh, the youngest lad on the course, who I assumed lived locally. But no, he’d travelled with his dad from his home in Munich to take the course with Suffolk FA. Another example of the esteem coach education in this country is held.

This afternoon I didn’t want to stand around getting cold and wet, so got myself involved in the defending-focused session, which aims to highlight the principles of denying space, restricting space and predicting space. We worked as a 1 v 1 to begin with, before progressing into a 4 v 4 where defending as a team was the focus. I felt like Franco Baresi as I snuffed out a few attacks that came our way.

But when I burst forward on one occasion and lost control of the ball, the counter from our opponents allowed the group to look at recovery defending, slowing down the attack to allow the man out of position (me) to get back to cover between the ball and the goal. Needless to say, the running and heavy breathing prevented me from getting cold.

So from denying space today, I’ll be looking to create it tomorrow…

Level Two Diary
Day One
Day Two

If you are keen to get into coaching, whether that’s at Level Two, or any other of the courses on offer, click here to find out about local courses or here for the national course information. There is also a host of online courses available via The FA Learing website.