The Scottish FA’s new PCS Plus for Football programme has proved a major hit, with the first round of workshops having concluded at the end of last month.

Developed as an element of the Scottish FA’s continued partnership with the Winning Scotland Foundation, the programme offers a series of five workshops – mastery, confidence, mindset, life skills and values – centred on the promotion of positive coaching at community clubs across Scotland.

The sessions have been well-received across the country, with venues such as Pittodrie, Tannadice and Hampden Park all hosting workshops over recent months.

Included in this year’s cohort of participants was Gordon Smith, the assistant coach with Stamperland FC’s youth section having attended two of this year’s workshops – PCS Confidence at Hamilton Palace and PCS Mastery at Hampden Park

“I think, for myself coming in from a non-footballing background, the workshops have helped not only my own confidence but that of the children I coach,” said Smith.

“You find that other coaches are in the same boat as you, which makes you feel like you’re not alone. There’s a real network out there, from players and coaches right through to tutors.”

Barry Fleming echoed Smith’s sentiments, with the Cambuslang Football Academy coach enthusiastic when recalling the benefits of each session.

“Apart from learning new skills, it helps you re-think what you’re already doing – what you can tweak or change, whether you’re going about something the correct way or if you’re missing a particular aspect of your skillset,” he said.

“I liked the fundamentals behind the courses. They’re designed to not just give you the knowledge, but probe you to work things out for yourself, whether that’s through sharing experiences, listening to others or simply working towards that lightbulb moment.”

Both men agree that the skills gained from PCS Plus has already benefitted them in their involvement with their respective teams, with Smith underlining the extent to which those skills are helping both him and his team develop.

“I feel much better equipped with the confidence and knowledge that help is out there”, he said.

“I feel passionate about helping to improve the kids’ confidence and help them as much as I can. I would encourage development workshops for any coach, as the kids pick up on your willingness to learn.

“Showing them that interest in learning massively helps.”

So what message would the pair send to any prospective participants in next year’s PCS Plus workshops?

“Turn up and try it – how would you know if you liked mince and tatties if you never tried it?” laughed Fleming.

“Seriously, though, as I say to all my players - if you take one thing from every session over a period of time, then that one thing will build on every other thing and make you a better player over time.

“The same logic works with coaches. If you see one player gain some confidence, that in turn kicks him on not just in football, but socially as well.

“If that happens, then surely the two or three hours out of your day has been worth it.”

More information on next year’s PCS Plus workshop dates will be released over the coming weeks, with updates to be provided on official Scottish FA social media channels. For more information on the programme, click here.