During this delicate period where nearly the entire world is on lock-down, most of us are in a state of extreme boredom, looking for things to do, and feeling like prisoners under house arrest in our own homes.
I understand that this is a measure the government of India had to take in order to reduce the rates at which people are getting affected, either by being hospitalized or facing death.
As football coaches, it is unimaginable for most of us to have ever envisaged that there would come a time in our lives where we would have to put a temporary halt to our daily routine of waking up early in the morning, taking training sessions, travelling around to various training grounds and doing what we love doing.
It is always good to try and look at situations with a “glass half full” approach though. This is a period where we can give our bodies complete rest and recharge our batteries. This is also a golden opportunity for us to spare some time towards our continuing professional development as coaches, or CPD as it is commonly known.
Coaches at every level in Europe, grassroots included, are very proactive in their desire to gain further knowledge in the sport they call their passion and hence, are constantly registering for webinars, online courses, paid subscriptions and other such tools that can enhance their knowledge in coaching, and the beautiful game in general.
The Coaches Voice Academy are an online platform that invite the best of coaches like Michael Appleton, Aitor Karanka, Carlos Carvalhal, Jose Gomes, Tanya Oxtoby, Lee Johnson and a few others put on live sessions on topics like the principles of possession, playing between lines, counter attacking against a specific formation etc. They use top quality video recording systems, use drones to give a perfect view and every word the coaches say is heard clearly. They also have the likes of Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rogers explaining tactics and their stories on the Coaches Voice Academy.
The Coaching Manual too, are quite close in terms of quality and have former Manchester United manager David Moyes, former England manager Steve McClaren and QPR manager Mark Warburton delivering sessions for coaches around the world to watch.
This is an effective way to watch the best in the business and make observations on how they conduct their training sessions, the timing of their interventions, their communication skills, their motivational techniques, the quality of their coaching points and most importantly, their body language and positive approach.
This is an ideal moment for coaches to use up their free time in creating monthly or quarterly session plans in advance, so that they can have an upstart and a more relaxed environment to work in once the epidemic ends and everyone gets back to work.
Sport Session Planner is another tool that is very user-friendly and is used by coaches from around the globe to design their session plans. They provide options of making full session plans using customized pitch dimensions and include all the kit, equipment and direction signs that a coach can use in their sessions. Another unique feature they offer is for coaches to share their sessions, meaning other coaches who have taken membership with them immediately get to access hundreds of sessions based on various topics, right from FA Level 1 content all the way to UEFA PRO content.
Soccer Tutor offer a similar service and they also publish eBooks and printed books with full season sessions that have been used at top youth academies in Italy and Spain and they also have books on specific topics such as combination play, build up play, counter attacking tactics etc.
Coaches that are fans of blog reading may wish to check out Soccer Coach Weekly and Football DNA. Coaches of all levels write on topics around working with young players, sports science, match-day management and a plethora of other topics related to football coaching.
At leisure, if not just football coaches but football fans in general want to read top quality content on their favourite clubs or leagues, The Athletic have hired the best writers in the industry, similar to what Real Madrid do in transfer windows, to write on the latest happenings in world football.
There is a very famous quote that does the rounds in the coaching fraternity of multiple sports which says “Coaches are lifelong students of the game”. It is about time that we as coaches use this quiet period to keep upgrading our knowledge of the game, especially as a lot of the information can be accessed at the click of a button.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn also have many pages that post phenomenal content that coaches can take value from. There are also a lot of online courses available.
The nature of the profession of football coaching makes it a way of life for coaches to have short sleep hours, irregular meal times, a lot of travelling and delicate job security levels. This hibernation period can be used for recuperating and the down time to their benefit, so they get on to the pitch, hopefully very soon, as better and more knowledgeable coaches.
Ryan Roy Shah is an AIFC Core Team Member, Mega Pro Football Academy Head Coach, FA/FAW/SFA qualified coach & PFSA qualified scout