Monday, June 6, 2011


Paul Batcup
PR Officer, South West Wales Region Team, Carmarthen

Paul has just started volunteer coaching with the Garden Village FC under 6 age group.  

I’m certainly no Fergie, Dalglish or Wenger....and I’m a lifetime from following Brendan Rogers to the top table of football coaches.
But, I’ve taken the plunge and I’m hooked on coaching already.
A huge football fan, and still a regular park player, I’ve been increasingly intrigued at the idea of giving the orders rather than taking them.
Of course, coaching (very) young kids is a long way from the hairdryer treatment associated with Sir Alex.
With my five year-old boy a huge football fan already, I’d taken a watching brief for the last few months as he played his first 4-a-side games on a Sunday morning for a ‘proper’ team.
I’ve been taking him to recreational sessions and soccer schools since he was three and, with regular kickabouts in the garden and park, he’s certainly on the right track to proper technique and the physical skills to play the game....which is the most important thing.
I truly believe that training and practice with a ball (a ball each) is key for kids growing up. A formal game should be a very small part of what they do – 5%, if that.
The one thing I’ve noticed is that kids love the competition and play a game. They even celebrate like their heroes when they score a goal. It’s just part of our culture and I think we should use that positively.
Right...back to the plunge.
With many more little ones coming along to the weekly ‘training’ sessions, I was asked to take a session of my own. I’d watched – and taken part in – countless training sessions over the years, but this was different.
What a buzz. Like playing your own first game all over again.
Make no mistake, it is hard work...especially with children aged five and six. As a matter of course you can expect some messing around and a few tears.
But when you can see them enjoying and having fun it makes it all so worthwhile. In fact, I was so hyper it took me an age to get to sleep that night.
Now I’m going there will be no stopping me...I hope. I’m sure many other parents would feel the same...but it’s just about making that jump to do it.
I remember how much I looked up to my coaches when I was a junior and I’d love the youngsters in our sessions to think the same in years to come.
National Volunteer Week runs from the 1st- 7th June – what are you doing?