The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Football, Cold, Wind, Rain and Sleet

So on Sunday, Coundon Court FC Ladies travelled to Redditch United in the West Midlands Regional Women’s Premier Division… to say it didn’t go to plan is an understatement… but how much can weather really affect a game of football.

So for the conditions on Sunday, we had all the bad ones, all except for snow at least. So while playing out a 3-1 defeat, could we have changed much from what we did?

Firstly, let’s think about the cold. Should this affect anything at all once the game begins? Without being too scientific, isn’t the body trying to maintain it’s optimum temperature, this expensing energy, as well as trying to use the normal energy you would expect to use during 90 minutes of football. Anyone that has played sport in the winter will tell you it’s more difficult in the first place to get warm, and colder muscles are less efficient, meaning reactions are that little bit slower, and a sense of stiffness also seems to set in. So what, the game is played a bit slower??

Ok, what about the rain… on a 3G pitch, the ball now skips across the surface a lot quicker than if it was dry and warm when these pitches seem to become sticky. Now, slower reaction times with the cold, with a ball moving a little bit quicker in the wet conditions, are we now losing game time with the ball out of play? Then the thing that seemed to kick us in the teeth… half time. When stuck in the habits of having your usual half time team talk and heading back out, when it’s as cold as it was, muscles cooling down, no additional warm up before the second half, and then following the unplanned cool-down, an unexpectedly slow and unproductive half.

Wind… in my personal opinion, the worst thing to ruin a football match. between us coaches, we have tried to predict the way that wind affects the game. Through junior football, we always opted to defend the wind and use it to push us on through the second half, but that seems to have backfired recently. Now we are playing open age football, the team no longer seem to respond well to having the wind behind them pushing them forward. Where once a pass would have the extra bit of pace with the wind assistance, chances would be created, however now, overhit passes and a reluctance to play a short pass when a long ball will go so, so far means we created next to nothing in the second half compared to a fairly dominant first half despite a 2-1 deficit at half time (2 wind assisted goals may I add). Maybe a change in mindset is what we need, looking to use the wind and get ourselves ahead while fresh and trust ourselves to manage the game.

When the rain turned to sleet, turned to snow, this just became an inconvenience as the game went on. I now go away to think about how I deal with these conditions next time… if I come up with the answer, I’ll be the first to shout from the cold, wet rooftops!

UEFA B Course – How tough is it?

So I’m now approaching the half way point of my UEFA B course, and oh my word is it hard…

So you start off with three days, where, if like me, you haven’t done an FA coaching course in 10 years, you get a real kick in up the arse! If you haven’t heard much about the ‘England DNA’, then this will come as something completely new… the old four corner model still exists, but this is taken to a whole new level.

The next thing is your practice design. Did you just scribble down a few ideas on a piece of paper or make up your session once you got there? Me too… however once you get used to taking time out to think about what ideas your session needs to cover, the key players who will be involved, the secondary and tertiary players for your session, and a full thought out plan as to WHY you need your session in the first place, it all becomes easier. Taking your time at this stage makes everything easier later.

As you move to the second block, this develops again, no longer is it just key players for your session, but now key units from within your team, secondary units, how they link, and alsonow a full rationale of the session including who on the pitch, where on the pitch, the phase of the game, the principles of play that will be involved. It’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise, however it can be a bit of a shock to the system.

How do you know how you are getting on? One of the course tutors will be assigneed to you and come out to in-situ visits. It’s nice to be able to coach with your own team and work with the problems you faceweek in and week out. Having just had my second in-situ visit, I can tell you stories of both good and bad.

My planning for both has been thourough, as it is every week, however maybe I went a little far… last weeks I found myself confused after the pre-training conversation with my course tutor, failing to get my session running in good time or achieving the goals I set myself, and to top it off, one of the other coaches from my team moving one of my goals and cutting the session short…

Have a learned from this… hell yes… probably the key message, football really isn’t that complicated and simplictity is key!

Now I wait for my next in-situ vist… I’ll keep you posted