coaching blog 1

UEFA B from the learners perspective

by Luke Chynoweth
Having spent 5 years consolidating at L2 and working consistently in grassroots for 7 years, I applied for a place on the UEFA B with Somerset FA.

After a long wait while applications were processed, 2 rejections and a last-minute phone call from Somerset FA’s Megan Buller informing me of one space becoming available, the money couldn’t come out of my account quick enough and I was booked on and excited to start.

Running for 9 months, the course was split into 4 learning blocks with in situ support visits in between these course days. Provided by 3 fantastic tutors, these visits were an incredibly influential aspect of the course and reflecting back, have had a majorly significant impact on my approach to coaching, delivery, planning for coaching and game days as well as myself as a person. The support given through my 3 in-situ visits was invaluable. My tutor and Somerset FA Mentor Lee Ballard’s feedback holistically challenged all aspects of my coaching, meaning I was always taking plenty away to implement ready for future sessions and visits.

The course which was superbly delivered, introduced me to a real in-depth focus on the tactical and technical side of the game as well new coaching practice formats to further support me and my players within the 11v11 format. Along with all the other course candidates, I was put out of my comfort zone and challenged throughout which further underlines how effective the course was. I found the concept of putting together a project over the 9 months was a really good way to demonstrate development and progression. Looking back through mine now, session 1 : matchday 1 looks completely different to what session 14 : matchday 14 does. Delivering this project on block 4 to the course tutor and fellow candidates was also a really effective assessment method. It was great hearing how different everyone’s journey through the course was, as well as their differing coaching philosophies, values and beliefs. 

Since completing the course, I have been really keen to continue my learning. As a means of doing so I am currently supporting a coach on this year’s cohort of Somerset FA UEFA B Licence learners in their environment (Women’s 11 a side format). This is great because having predominantly worked within grassroots youth football, whilst helping to support the delivery of training and matchday preparation, I am having to learn and adapt to a completely different set up and focus. I was also fortunate to observe the first 3 days of this year’s course which helped to keep in contact with former tutors and new candidates. I was also invited to help observe/support a really well put together goalkeeping CPD event by Somerset FA Coach Mentor Connor Sidley-Adams. It was beneficial to see first hand how mentors put together their events, create a really effective learning environment and see the impact from the start of the event to the end. At present I am currently working through the mentoring adults’ course to help make me more effective when supporting the other coaches that I work with.

To summarise, the course has not only further developed me as a coach, it has also developed and shaped me as a person to and has encouraged me to keep learning. Whilst it was arguably one of the toughest 9 months I have had as a coach, I couldn’t recommend the course enough.