UEFA B – Blog 4 – That’s a Wrap

Block 4 – Blog 4

This is the final instalment of a 4-part blog, tracking my 9 months hoping to attain the UEFA B. You can see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 by clicking those titles.

In-Situ 3

Before heading into the final block, each candidate has to have 3 in-situ visits with their tutor. The purpose of the in-situ support visits is to provide the learner with a formative, ongoing assessment and development plan after blocks 1, 2 and 3 of the course and something that I have found really valuable across the year, rather than the old-school ‘one-off’ pass/fail assessment.

My final in-situ was with Graeme Clark who attended the Eagles’ final game of the season as we headed to Gateshead Rutherford. The process for the day was that Graeme would essentially be a silent observer to the game, listening out for my instructions and interactions with players, looking out for how I prepared them for a game and my manner on the touchline. Afterwards, we had a quick chat around some of the things he’d noticed and possible areas for development, before sharing this electronically a day or two later. Here are some of the key points from the highly detailed document:

-Good engagement with players and lots of ownership given to them

-Consider how you could better link the warm up to training and the game coming. Factor in the intensity to this.

-Coach interventions during the game were minimal but timed specifically to when there were breaks in the game. You (Kieren) used – When observing and telling (command style) my observation that it was purposeful with a positive player reaction

-(My favourite one!-KL) It was refreshing to watch a young grassroots team playing out and through the opposition with skill, desire and enthusiasm it was also clear that the group had been coached which was demonstrated not only how they played but also in what the players were saying to each other. Although both goals scored were in the second period the work demonstrated in the first period laid the foundation for this success (hence more emphasis on the warm up to ensure player mindset is focused to carry this out.)

– How can you link individual ILP’s or individual player challenges to the game taken from the session practice?

Thanks to Graeme for the visit, I’m glad it was a good game to watch too!

Block 4

Moving into the block, I’d spoken to a few of the other coaches on the course and we all seemed to share the same feeling – excitement! All of our hard work over the course of the season on session plans and projects had culminated in this weekend and we were all looking forward to sharing it and seeing the development on show from each member of the course.

Workshop Day by Day

Day 1

The first day started with Andy taking us through the plan for the weekend and also spending a little time reflecting on the journey we’d been through over the season. Immediately afterwards, we split into our tutor groups and began the first round of presentations.

First in our group was Antony Blackburn. A part I really enjoyed in Ant’s presentation was the introduction of the term ‘Equanimity’ which relates to your behaviour as a coach and was something that Ant spent time working on over this season Essentially equanimity is maintaining the same, regardless of outside stresses at work etc. when you are coaching, you should always be YOU as that is what your players want and deserve.

Liam Nobbs went second and shared his journey in the final year with his team. His group had been together a long time and yet still managed to seamlessly incorporate new players into the group, due to the environment they created.

Shane Gavin was next and expressed his club’s belief in developing the ‘person before player’ which I thought was a great touch.

To close off the morning Matty Morgan presented and raised an interesting point about his players’ perception of themselves. In the self-assessment, he found that the ‘stronger’ players were often much harder on themselves than those who may be a little behind in terms of development.

In the afternoon, we saw 6 sessions delivered as we had all been asked to prepare a session in case we were called upon. Across those 6 sessions, we saw topics such as ‘Counter Attacking’, ‘Attacking in Wide Areas’, ‘Defending in Wide Areas’ and ‘Pressing High’ and there was a lot of running!!

Day 2

At the start of day 2, we dropped back into our tutor groups to finish off the presentations. I would be going last of our group and will cover it in a little more detail in a moment!

Matty Ellison went first and noted that the environment at his club, working with a number of UEFA B coaches and candidates meant that he had a lot of support in relating the course to his own context, which is something he was really grateful for.

John McGuinness went next and spoke about his clubs values of; Inclusivity, Positivity, Responsibility and Excellence which I thought was really powerful.

My Project

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My project spanned a total of 160 pages and around 45,000 words, one of the biggest pieces of work I’ve ever done in my life, particularly as I never attended university and so haven’t gone through the essay and dissertation process. This project covers who I am as a coach, covering my philosophy, backstory and how I work with my players. It also has a similar theme for the club and then a detailed breakdown of our team and how we play, coach, support and the future player along with all of my session and match plans throughout the course of the season. I am very proud of it

Presenting

My presentation of this was a little different and not so wordy. I had to evidence each of these topics to my peers and so used a PowerPoint to cover each of the topics but also explain my journey and the differences I felt in my coaching. This lead to playing ‘spot the difference’ with the rest of the group, asking them to review my first session plan to a recent one and track how I had developed over the course of the year. Some of the feedback included:

-Level of detail featured

-Principles added to planning

-Better preparation (linking to games and previous work)

-Using tools to support (Tapfish for recording data, shown previously)

-Better Reflection

Back to Day by Day

After lunch the whole group got together and Dan Jowett was asked to show everyone his project presentation as it was such a high standard. You can hear Dan speaking about his work in the audio clip on blog 3, which is really interesting, however his presentation and detail was next level!!

Richard then took us through a session on Modern/Current Coaching Trends and we covered topics such as; pressing, the role of a goalkeeper, playing a back 3 and how the likes of VAR and other rule changes may change the game moving forward, whilst asking us to reflect on how the role of a coach is changing and will change over the coming years.

We were then given another World Cup scenario, this time England v Belgium where we’ve been given the Belgium line-up and a view of their 433 formation. After much discussion, myself, Gary and Martin came up with the below.

England Team.PNG

Rich had asked us to consider picking a team to beat Belgium, rather than just our best starting 11 and so that is the reason for some of our selections.

For example:

-We employ 2 more defensive-minded midfielders as we’d expect the likes of Hazard and Maertens to drop into the ‘10’ space and try to overload midfield, similarly the presence of Kevin De Bruyne means that area will likely be under thread.

-Having Dier in that midfield also allows the team to transition to the favoured 352 when in an attack, giving the full-back license to push high and support the attack.

-Ideally, we’d ask the team to attack the wide areas down the side of the left and right centre-backs or look to play between the lines where there may be space between the wide midfielder and central players.

Individual Review and Sign Off

reflection-pack.jpg

After this activity, we were each asked to complete the reflection sheet (above) and develop an action plan for our post-course work. We then had individual reviews with our tutor who either signed us off as UEFA B coaches or provided a development plan for how we would achieve it. I am pleased to say that I was indeed successful at attaining my UEFA B!

Reflection and My next steps:

My reflections in the above photo are largely based on how I feel I have developed over the course of the season i.e. the development of technical knowledge, coaching styles and position specific coaching/details. In terms of my progress from the sheet above, I am really keen to potentially pursue these three things:

-Update my session and match plans to something more workable. I think session plans spanning 4 pages are a bit excessive for me and there were some great examples on show over the course of the weekend which could be worth pinching!

-Look for new coaching experience with a coach of higher level, potentially A Licence, but certainly someone with a higher level of technical and tactical detail who I can learn from. (This may have a knock-on effect on me still trying to play!) As a part of this, it would also be good to explore some new systems of play as the teams I have been involved with have largely played a similar style.

-Finally, I may look into doing some more blogging, though I am not sure what on! Over the course of these 4 blogs, they have really helped me to embed my learning and also served as a reminder of the work that we have done over the course of the season. Watch this space to see if that happens!

Finally

Some thanks:

To Andy, Richard and Graeme (and all of those that supported along the way) thank you for your support throughout this process. I know that a lot of my enjoyment and enthusiasm for the course came from the way in which they delivered it and that can’t be underestimated.

To these 2 teams:

Eagles Team Photo

Harton and Westoe Eagles – who I have watched develop over the last 12 months into a brilliant, creative and cohesive team, with confidence and team spirit in abundance.

UEFA B Group

This outstanding group of coaches who shared this adventured and supported each other along the way.

There are a lot of bright futures across those 2 photos

Thanks as ever for reading, I hope that these blogs have been a support for your learning and understanding of the UEFA B course and maybe even helped you move towards it yourself.

Kieren

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

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