Those who frequent this blog will know that I am a big advocate of coach education. I have many reasons for this, not least of which is that I believe that a formal education in coaching is simply the starting point in becoming a great coach.
In the same way that acquiring a law degree does not make someone a great lawyer, acquiring a coaching licence does not make someone a great coach – it simply qualifies him or her to coach to the level of that licence. The development of skill in the profession of coaching comes with time, with years and years of practical experience and continued learning.
For me, a coach's education is a lifelong process; classroom learning, research, on-field sessions, practical sessions and assessments, observation and interaction with other coaches and instructors are all part of that education. Yet the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.
My formal coach education began shortly after I retired as a player, and the experiences that I had on all of the courses I have taken since have only served to whet my appetite for more. Next week, I am taking the next step in that education.
During that time, I will be in Belfast, Northern Ireland, completing the final component of my UEFA 'A' licence. The UEFA 'A' licence is the second highest level of the UEFA coach education program, with the 'Pro' licence being the pinnacle.
The UEFA 'A' licence is an advanced coaching course divided into two annual parts. Part two (which is what I will be taking next week) consists of both theoretical and practical sessions. Topics covered include fitness and conditioning, media, motivation, sport psychology and game analysis. Top European national team and club coaches will conduct both practical and discussion sessions.
Each day of the course, I will be writing a blog for TSN.ca, summarizing the content that was delivered that day, the talking points and ensuing discussion that took place in the classroom and as many of my thoughts on the experience as possible.
It will be a 'behind the scenes' look at one of the most advanced coaching licenses in the world of football – and you get to come along for the ride.