People tend to get hung up on qualifications in a peculiar way at times, like they make the person. Whilst they are an important part of the learning journey they are simply that – just a part and a fairly small one. I’ve gone completed my UEFA A’ Licence and the Level 4 FA Advanced Youth Award, all fantastic stuff. I’ve completed a Masters Degree in Education and Creativity which has done a huge amount to helping establish a critical mindset and challenge me to think about alternative views and what other possibilities may exist. But that’s a small part of my learning.
Many young people are leaving university now with shiny coaching degrees with a limited understanding of what the sports development world is all about. The reality is that when they get out into the job world they will be going up against someone they currently sit next to in lectures for that first job. What will stand them out from the next person? Experience is vital.
Therefore, time on the grass (or pitch, court, poolside etc.) is essential, the learning that getting out there and making mistakes can give you is priceless. I’ve been fortunate to work full-time in a Specialist Sports College delivering curriculum PE for primary and secondary age children, really enjoyed worked with kids with disabilities to the last six years with players at a Category 1 professional football club. Being able to make all the mistakes, evolve and develop your own coaching style about what works for you is really important.
Fair to say mine has taken years to evolve and become comfortable in what I do and stand for. I thought many years ago I was a good coach, now I look back and realise I wasn’t. The more I learn about coaching, the less I actually think I know! Pretty convinced now I don’t know that much at all!
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