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A youth football club in one of the most northerly parts of Scotland has hailed the Scottish FA’s youth coach education courses as “vital tools for improving coaching standards”.
Pentland Boys FC (PBFC), based in the Thurso, has signed up for 18 places on the Early Touches and Development Activities courses.
Murray Coghill, secretary of PBFC, said: “We have recently had a number of new volunteers join our coaching team and with the clubs aim of achieving the Scottish FA Quality Mark it is important we have our coaches educated the right way and that they have the right tools to send out consistent messages to the young players in all our age groups.”
The Scottish FA has evolved its coach education structures to cater for young children.
The Early Touches course is a one day, six hour class where the latest methods for coaching children of primary school age are taught.
The Development Activities course is aimed at coaches who are working with players aged 13 and over and aims to develop their coaching technique, focusses on skill development and explores the best age specific activities for bringing on young players.
Murray said he enjoyed learning about the latest coaching techniques to keep him energised for future sessions.
“What people don't realise at times is that the delivery of a session and the messages coaches give out to kids at this age can have a lasting effect so it's important that we remain educated to keep, not only the kids enthusiastic ,but ourselves enthusiastic,” he added.
“The course does that, it gives you that added enthusiasm and drive to try out the new routines and different techniques to see how the kids react.”
Good working relationships with local Scottish FA coaches is an important element for coach education recruitment.
Murray was full of praise for North Region football development officer Peter Budge.
He said: “We are really thankful to Peter, who is based in Dingwall, for coming up and running one locally for us. He has been very helpful.”
Positive Coaching Scotland (PCS) - which is a football culture in Scotland where young players are developed in a positive, safe environment, where they learn to win through effort and where valuable life lessons are taught – has been implemented throughout all of the Scottish FA’s grassroots programmes.
Murray described learning about the PCS way as a “a huge addition to the coaches toolbox”.
Grassroots football in Caithness, according to Murray, is thriving. High profile players such as Gary Mackay Steven (Dundee United), Shane Sutherland (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Craig Gunn (Elgin) and David Mowat(ex-Forfar) have all played for junior clubs in the county before progressing into the Scottish League senior ranks.
Wick Academy are currently top of the Highland Football League with all but three of the squad being local players who all progressed through junior clubs in Caithness. Pentland Boys FC have four ex-players playing for Wick Academy and one ex-player playing for Inverurie Locos.
Murray said: “These guys are testament to the dedicated youth coaches in the area and they are sending out a great message as role models to the young players in our county that the structure in Caithness is, and can be, successful.”
To find out about the latest coach education courses on offer, click HERE.