Experts from the six confederations gathered for a panel on the Skills Development Framework
Talent development requires high-quality coaches
A coach education program with a global vision
“Anyone can be a coach. But telling someone exactly what to do, telling them exactly how to do it, and even telling them the right time to do it takes knowledge, experience, and education. That’s why it’s very important that we focus on the quality of the training.” The observation comes from Arsène Wenger, who, because of his career, knows what he’s talking about when he talks about the qualities it takes to not just be a coach , but to be a good coach.The French technician, who was appointed FIFA World Football Development Director in November 2019, has therefore made the quality of coaches one of his priorities.
In this regard, the FIFA Department for Coach Development convened a Skills Development Framework Panel on 27-30 June in Zurich, led by Wenger, but also by Steven Martens, FIFA Technical Director, and Branimir Ujevic, FIFA Coach Educator Development Director .
Improving the global competitiveness of football
“It is FIFA’s ambition to give every talent a chance, and that means that players of all skill levels not only need access to good competitions, but also to good coaches who can guide them in the game,” Martens explains this seminar. “It is important for each member association to be able to develop their own coaches and manage their own training programmes. That is why we are hosting this workshop, specifically focusing on how to develop better coach-trainers around the world.” As Wenger points out when reading the innovative study launched two years ago, developing talent requires quality youth team coaches, education and coaching knowledge. “We have seen that the countries that are successful in the world of football are the ones with the best education systems and the best coaches. That is why this program is needed to improve the global competitiveness of football.”
Among the participants, the Australian Scott O’Donell, who has worked mainly in Southeast Asia, confirms the need to globalize the training of coaches. “A lot of coaches I worked with in India, Cambodia, Malaysia or Singapore stay in India, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore. Maybe they don’t have enough confidence to get out of there,” he admits. “The coach education program gives them the opportunity to work with other people in other countries, to network and get opportunities. That can only be good for South Asian football. South East because there is so much potential.”
Always strive for excellence
Conversely, Brazil, with five FIFA World Cup™ titles and countless legendary coaches, seem less concerned about the need for training. However, Mauricio Marques, Technical Coordinator of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) courses, is convinced of the usefulness of the program. “When we first thought about going into the program we thought, ‘We have five stars on our shirt, we develop the best players, why should we be in it?'” he admitted.
“When we entered the program it triggered a lot of thinking. Even when you’re at the top of world football, you always have to remember that you can still improve. We always strive for excellence, that was one of the triggers that motivated us.” But in the land of five-time world champions and more than 210 million football fans, Marques knows that the quality of coaches shouldn’t be limited to the top of the pyramid. “It is our responsibility with the CBF, supported by FIFA, to spread this, to make it more democratic, to make it accessible to all the reasons we have,” he notes, using the numbers to illustrate his comment: “Replace we imagine that 20 trainers of trainers will teach about ten courses a year, each course with 40 trainers. These trainers would reach 400 trainers in a year. If you extrapolate the number of children affected, let’s say 100 children per year, so we are talking about 40,000 children per year that we are dealing with, in Brazil alone! is huge!”
A positive step, a global goal
When the impact is colossal in terms of the people affected, John Peacock, former England player and coach turned coach and advisor, prefers to emphasize the value of development programmes. “It’s not just a question of quantity, but of quality,” emphasizes the British technician. “We have to develop the quality of the coaches and especially the coach educators who develop these courses and work with players, young and old, male and female. Ultimately, the goal is to try to take the game to a higher level in their country.” “What FIFA is doing in supporting educational programs around the world is a really positive step. Our big job is to spread those messages around the world, gain support through the programs that are in place, and develop better players and coaches for the future.”
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