This year Aberdeen first team coach Barry Robson has been furthering his coaching experiences by following in the footsteps of managers who have gone to coach at international level, in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, by completing his UEFA Pro Licence with the Scottish FA.
Joining other former professionals such as Stevie Crawford, Martin Canning and Graeme Murty, the fifth meet-up of the year welcomed guest speaker Walter Smith, former Rangers and Scotland Manager, as well as David Moyes and his football agent brother Kenny.
The UEFA Pro Licence diploma covers all aspects of football coaching and management, operating on a two-year cycle over an 18-month period.
Aberdeen coach learns from old friends
On Sunday we had Walter Smith visit the group, who I know from my time at Rangers when I was just breaking through as a youngster, and we also had him up at Aberdeen in the summer to have a chat.
He has a great aura about him, which is something I admire.
An aura is so important for a coach to have and creates respect. It is something that is built by showing players how good you are on the training pitch and how knowledgeable you are, whether you’ve been a successful footballer or not.
In the afternoon David Moyes’ brother Kenny, who is a well-known agent, put on a workshop for us. The agency side of things is important because you’ll have to deal with a lot of them if you become a manager.
I’ve worked with agents in the past and it’s key to have a good relationship with them to ensure the best players are steered in your direction.
It’s also important to be aware of what the agent is like: whether they actually have the players’ best interests at heart or if they are just in it for a quick buck and don’t want to do everything above board.
We did some role play, which involved Kenny showing different approaches agents will take, why they will do that and how do you, as a manager, handle it.
The next day David Moyes came and spoke to us and it was great to see both him and Kenny again.
When I was at Rangers, I stayed with their mum and dad. Their family was terrific for me as a young kid, as they looked after me when I was an apprentice at the club.
That was when I first met the two brothers and I’ve followed David’s progress ever since. To see him close at hand was terrific and if I become a manager he would be someone I’d like to get in touch with.
I took away a few lessons from him and I particularly liked the themes he included during the training session.
In British football I think there is a real problem with the lack of movement on the pitch and you see that coming through the academies.
David’s sessions tried to solve that problem and taught us how to include certain things into the session to increase movement.
He also gave us a lesson on leadership, which taught us about how you build yourself up as a leader.
I’ve obviously captained clubs before but you need to carry and improve those leadership qualities throughout your career into management, which is a challenge but something that is important.
David has that experience as he has been in the game for more than 40 years. He’s someone for us all to look up to and learn from.