More than 200 club leaders and coaches from across the nation gathered over the weekend to hear tales of best practice and participate in knowledge exchange with their peers at the second Scottish FA National Club & Coach Conference.

After a successful inaugural event in 2017 the Scottish FA welcomed representatives from clubs across the country and from every level of our game, to hear from a variety of top class speakers from Scotland and Europe.

The event, held at Heriot Watt University and Oriam, the National Performance Centre, focused on culture development and linking off-pitch club leaders with on-pitch coaches to try and maximise the potential of clubs and communities throughout Scotland.

The opening key note address was delivered by Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) staff Ralf Reniers, Club Advisory Manager, and Lennard Van Ruiven, Manager of Football Development.

The pair discussed their experiences in the Netherlands, including club development, the role of club leaders, quality experiences, how off-pitch can affect on-pitch and tips on running clubs as a business.

Club attendees were then treated to presentations from Donald MacNaughton, Author and Keynote Speaker and Iain McMenemy, Chairperson at Stenhousemuir FC.

At the same time, the coaches witnessed coaching sessions delivered by Scotland Women’s National Team head coach Shelley Kerr and her assistant, Andy Thomson, and Brian McLaughlin, Scottish FA Under-17s Coach, focusing on traits and habits of talented players, effective practices and the role of the coach.

The day concluded with attendees discussing key learning points from the day and how these changes can be delivered back at their clubs, before taking in a fascinating panel discussion with the invited speakers.

Ralf Reniers, Club Advisory Manager at KNVB: “It was an honour to be invited to present at the Scottish FA’s National Club & Coach Conference and a pleasure to hear about the inspiring work conducted at grassroots level within Scotland.

“The Scottish non-professional game is evidently in a strong position and hopefully some of the knowledge we shared today can help to grow the game on the pitch and within the local communities that are the hub of grassroots football.”

Andy Gould, Head of Football Development at the Scottish FA: “We were very fortunate to welcome coaches working with our national teams who have had extensive experience working from grassroots to elite level.

“I am sure that the coaches in attendance will have walked away from the presentations with some firm ideas on how they can inspire there players back at their clubs and create a nurturing environment to maximise potential.”

Danny Bisland, Project Manager for the Scottish FA: “The KNVB have long been a source of great learning as an organisation who have led on integrating football development and business for many years, so we were delighted to welcome Ralf and Lennard to share their insight.

The Netherlands has seen clubs lead the way in standards of provision and excellence with successful inclusive communities running successful programmes at high quality facilities with football at the heart.

Ralf and Lennard’s keen insight on this process and how clubs should focus on the person to create the best environment possible for potential to be fulfilled both on and off the pitch was fascinating.”