Read accounts from qualified Lancashire FA coaches
Name: David Butler
Club: Fleetwood Town Wren Ladies
I have played football from the age of 9 and continued playing 11-a-side in competitive leagues until I was 45.
Back in 2011, I decided to take my first step into coaching, and enrolled on the FA Level 1 with Lancashire FA. It set out the foundations of how to coach and to gave me a better understanding of the type of environment a session should be delivered in.
But it wasn't until 2016 that I continued my journey, and looking back I regret leaving it for so long. I decided it was time to follow up that initial foundation course. My two children, aged 6 and 11, had started playing football at school, and many of my friends and associates were actively coaching within grassroots football and professional football academies. I wanted to be in a position where, should I want to get more involved myself, I would already have the qualifications to do so.
That same year I progressed on to my FA Level 2, which I discovered had been re-designed into a different learning programme than before. The experience was initially a bit of a shock - it seriously questioned many values I had at that time in regard to how I felt coaching should be delivered.
On my Level 2, the four topics - 'How We Coach,' 'How We Play,' 'How We Support,' and 'The Future Player,' - were broken down in countless ways to demonstrate what I needed to understand in order to develop a greater understanding of who I am and what I want to be as a coach.
The emphasis was split on giving me the tools to deliver better practices and to also recognise the development needs of all players. It set out clear pictures on how to plan and deliver structured, focused sessions in an environment where players felt safe and happy. Most importantly, it set out how I can coach and help develop the way my team play, while being able to support the players so they can grow and flourish to become the best they can be.
The course guided me safely until I could find the correct direction I needed to start my journey as a coach. I continued to learn and grow with fantastic support from the coaches at Lancashire FA.
Several months after I passed my FA Level 2, I undertook my FA Youth Module Level 3, which further cemented my new beliefs and philosophy as a coach. It seamlessly linked together with the previous course and allowed me to continue to develop.
What I found most exciting and motivating was that it began to dig down deeper into how we coach. It explained even further how we must be specific about where in the game the session is focused, and which players or group it revolves around. By doing this, it tested my knowledge and gave me the desire to learn even more about the key benefits of the game (its craft). It helped me understand better the strategies of the mechanics of formations and the movement of players within a team, and importantly how we manage the mistakes we make individually as a coach, player and team.
This September 2017, I started my Level 3 UEFA ‘B’ qualification at the Lancashire FA and have completed block 1 of 4. I have to say, it has been yet another eye-opener!
At first, it left me feeling lost again as a coach. I felt I could design and then deliver a structured and robust session with clear objectives, and that I could meet the needs of the players and me as a coach. But after the first day, my self-esteem took a knock - the course had made me realise I had a lot further to go in my journey than I had thought. It had opened up another level of understanding and I needed to reassess myself yet again. The tutors were really supportive and could see I was struggling to come to terms with this re-evaluation, but they helped me make sense of it and I left the County Ground at the end of the first day feeling a little more reassured.
The next two days were exciting and rewarding - I learned so much and had started to see where I needed to be. I also realised it was going to be the toughest test yet in my journey, and that I will have to work hard to ensure I can meet the standard this course requires.
I can say I now have a philosophy as a coach that fits within the DNA of the FA, and does so because I feel it is how I want to be as a coach, not because I’m required to be that way.
I currently manage and coach Fleetwood Town Wren Ladies FC and work hard every session and match day to help players become better.
I believe the coaches at the Lancashire FA are of a high quality and are constantly there to advise and guide me when needed. I am now ready for the next part of my journey and well-prepared for what it will bring, primarily due to that consistent support they offer.
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