The Scottish FA South East Region held its second annual Small-Sided Games Coaching Conference on Saturday 27th February at the Hearts Academy.

Over 100 coaches attended the event, which focused on developing training programmes for 4-a-side and 7-a-side teams.

The sessions were delivered by Scottish FA South East region coach education tutors and football development officers, Keith Wright (Midlothian) and David Sheldon (Edinburgh), with guest coaches Scottish FA head of youth development, Neil Mackintosh, national technical development officer, Mark McNally and Dundee United children’s academy manager, Ian Cathro.

The event included presentations on the new National Player Pathway, developing technique and coaching sessions, plus practical sessions in the indoor training area.

The feedback from the event has been extremely positive and the event will continue to feature as a key part of the South East regional calendar from now on.

Scottish FA Regional Manager, Mark Munro felt that the event was extremely useful for the region’s coaches. He said: "There was a fantastic turn-out of coaches from across the region, the sessions were excellent and the presentations very informative.

"Research is now telling us that the key age groups for developing technical players is in the 6-12 age bracket, so it is vital that we support coaches working with children in the small-sided game. We will certainly continue with this type of event in the future".

Ian Cathro undee United children’s academy manager, said: “It was great to see so many coaches attending the event. At Dundee United we are following the Scottish FA’s long-term player development programme and we are now investing heavily in those players under the age of 12.

"If we don’t do the right things  then we will never be able to develop players who can cope at international level or consistently develop players into our first team.

"My message to coaches out there working with children is to focus on technique and the ABCs (agility, balance, coordination and speed). Keep instructions simple, build up your session and make sure we are challenging our players to work hard, practice and improve”. 

The next event on the regional calendar will be the Regional Coaching Conference which will take place on Sunday 28th April at Almondvale Stadium, Livingston. Guest coaches include, John Hughes, Hibernian FC manager, Ricky Sbragia, Sunderland chief scout, and Gary Bowyer, Blackburn Rovers Head Youth Coach.

Information and application forms are available through the link on the right.