Over 250 coaches attended the Scottish FA South East Region Coaching Conference at Almondvale Stadium, Livingston, on Sunday 28th March.

The conference featured former Sunderland FC manager and current chief scout, Ricky Sbragia, Hibernian manager, John Hughes, and Blackburn Rovers head youth coach Gary Bowyer.

The event was aimed at coaches working with children and youths.

Mark Munro, Scottish FA South East regional manager opened proceedings by challenging the coaches to make an impact in their own areas.

The day included a series of presentations by the guest coaches as well as practical coaching sessions on the pitch, with the Hibs under 19 squad kindly helping out.

The conference ended with an open forum, with questions for the delegates from the assembled coaches.

Ricky Sbragia said: “This has been a great event with a fantastic turnout. If I could put a message out to all coaches working with children and youth players, I would say, make sure the players enjoy themselves, focus on technique and concentrate less focus on creating a winning team by letting the players work it out for themselves.

"When I was at Manchester United we would let the youth players try to work out positions and set-pieces so that they would learn for themselves. If we constantly shout at players and tell them what to do, then they will never learn and fully understand what they should be doing."

John Hughes presented on the importance of good technique and passing. He said: “Players need to learn how to pass and receive the ball, they must have  technique and understanding and they must have an appreciation for the pass they will make. It is crucial that young players learn the basic techniques or they will never fulfil their potential."

Mark Munro said: “It was a great day with a very high calibre of guests. The conference was structured to be as open and interactive as possible, encouraging everyone to share ideas."

"It's great that the messages Ricky, Gary and John were putting out were similar to ours,  in that children must focus on practice, technique, and creativity and everything must be done at the correct time, in the right way and at the right stage of the player’s development.

Particularly thanks go to Scottish FA Borders football development officer, and coach tutor, Dougie Anderson, and Scottish FA South East region office and events co-ordinator, Aidan Forbes, as well as all the regional staff and community coaches who contributed significantly to the organisation of the event.