This year’s UEFA Pro Licence is under way, lasting 18 months with the diploma covering a number of aspects of football coaching and management, operating on a two-year cycle.
The course has been delivered for 18 years, with graduates in the past going on to coach at the very highest level of the game.
The latest participants had their second meet up at the start of this week, where they undertook a management course at Stirling University followed by a media training session at Hampden Park. They also heard from former Cardiff City Head of Youth, Dick Bate.
One of this year’s participants is former Scotland midfielder Barry Robson who is currently a first team coach at Aberdeen and will blog his Pro Licence experience.
Robson experiences the boardroom hot seat
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the business management side of the game in the first couple of days at Stirling University. It was a real eye opener.
It made all of us think about looking outside the box as a manager to bring money into your football club
Some of us might end up managing a club which perhaps isn’t the wealthiest, so it’s important to be aware of what you can do as manager to help the commercial side, whether it be interviews with sponsors or attending certain events.
We were also given good insight into how to act in a boardroom situation.
We did a role-play scenario where I was Chairman and other people were playing an entrepreneur, club investor, a managing director and finance director.
I had to run the meeting which was challenging with everyone coming at me from different angles, making me think on my feet and be strong in my viewpoints.
On the final day we undertook some media training with Scottish FA’s Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Darryl Broadfoot.
I would say I’m pretty experienced dealing with the media, having done a lot of live TV over the years and working as a pundit. I’ve also done interviews as a Captain in pressured environments for a number of years.
The training opened my mind to new things though, as it gave me an awareness about how the dynamics of it can change when you’re the manager of a team.
As a player you can think of just yourself, but if you’re the manager you’ll have to remain cool under some tough questioning and protect everyone you work with.
It made me think about avoiding certain words in interviews that will create unwanted headlines and trying to strike a balance between being negative or perhaps overly positive in a post-match interview.
We did some role-play again with Dave Mackay and James McPake facing questions from everyone in a fake press conference.
It was interesting to see how your words could be twisted and the little corners you can easily talk yourself into.
When you’ve been in the game for a long time, like I have, there are a lot of things that you know, but there are now a number of things I’m looking at in a different light.
Next month we will be working around Scotland’s upcoming matches against Canada and Slovenia where we will watch the squad training at Mar Hall and meet with the backroom staff.
Having been involved with the squad in recent years as a player, it will be good to go back in a different role and look at things from another perspective.