Scottish FA Performance Director Malky Mackay hopes the country’s up and coming coaches have been inspired by the latest elite coaching programme masterclass.
Run as part of Project Brave, the two-day event in Edinburgh focused on the art of attacking and boasted some top-drawer speakers.
With the stated aim of connecting some of Scotland’s brightest touchline talents with hand-picked experts from across football, Mackay and his team were delighted to welcome a line-up that included Eric Black, Henrik Larsson and Kenny Dalglish to Oriam and Herriot Watt University.
Malky, talk us through what was a packed programme in Edinburgh.
With the emphasis on the art of attacking this time, we brought in Eric Black, of Aberdeen fame, who I really feel is one of the best coach educators in the country.
Eric’s fresh from assisting the national team in November and has picked up so much experience as a coach in England over the last 20 years.
It goes without saying that it’s been great to have been able to call on someone like Kenny Dalglish, who talked about his work in the penalty area.
We had Kenny and Henrik Larsson do a Q&A for the group – talking about their careers and lives off the pitch, but also getting right into the detail of what we were there to discuss.
“It’s gold as far as we are concerned.
“Henrik’s a long-time friend of mine and one of the best strikers Scotland’s ever seen.
“Henrik talked the guys through the detail behind some of the great goals he’s scored.
“It’s information the young coaches can take back to their clubs, because this is all about them imparting that information back on our young players, to make them better and inspire them to play for Scotland.
‘Humility’ is one word that kept cropping up throughout the various presentations. It’s something you’ve stressed before.
Humility is a fabulous word. The very top players – like Henrik and Kenny – have that discipline attached to them. They sacrificed things over their whole career and look where it took them.
I want good people like that to come here and speak to our coaches.
What do you ask of the coaches in return?
Our coaches have to be comfortable with a bag of balls and 50 people watching them while they put on a session.
They have to have that charismatic personality to draw people in and make them want to play for them and have a depth of detail and knowledge from talking to people like Eric, Henrik and Kenny.
This is about us working with the clubs. This wasn’t a normal CPD event.
This was invite-only, so if they were there it’s because their clubs want them to go back and share that knowledge.
I want a lot of communication between the assembled coaches and the Scottish FA staff. This isn’t about telling anyone anything or preaching. It’s about becoming better together.
Our next session will be around midfielders towards the end of the year and I believe elite coach education in this country has to keep improving.
We have to keep pushing the boundaries. It’s on us, the Scottish FA. We’re investing a lot of money in it and I’m putting demands on the coaches to work hard, be innovative and push themselves and the clubs because that will benefit us all.
Eventually we will qualify for finals again because the quality of player will be better. Over the next year Project Brave will really kick in. We will lead the way.
Finally, how inspired were you to see the likes of Eric, Henrik and Kenny pull on the training gear again after all they’ve accomplished in the game.
‘Inspirational’ is the right word. Kenny’s an icon to everyone throughout Scotland for all that he’s achieved as a player and a manager.
He’s a humble guy who comes back year on year to help Scottish coaches.
He mingled with them all over the course of two days and gave them so much to take away.
Eric was the same and for Henrik to fly in from Sweden for this speaks volumes for the man.
That’s the calibre of individual I want our coaches exposed to and there is more where that came from.