Many boys and girls dream of becoming a professional football player when they’re growing up, joining a junior team and sometimes having trials with a local football club before realising that the chances of making it are particularly slim.

However, more and more youngsters are now turning to football coaching when they finish school, while those of a more advanced age are realising that coaching offers a world of fantastic opportunities, whether you go down the paid or voluntary route.

The Football Association might have a stuffy image to many, although the governing body of association football in England has been busy modernising in recent years and now offers a clear coaching path to individuals of all backgrounds.

Making the First Steps

You might aspire to become the next Premier League super coach such as Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp, although most aspiring coaches begin by taking charge or helping to coach a team of junior players. This could be any age group between six and sixteen, with coaches required to organise training sessions and then overseeing the team on match days.

Most junior football clubs require their coaches to have the FA Level 1 qualification and they will often make a financial contribution towards this. The Level 1 badge involves a safeguarding and First Aid module along with a chance to create your own training session and receive feedback from your peers and tutor.

Understanding the Four Corners

Previous FA Level 1 courses were fairly basic although the modern day classes involve focusing on something called the “Four Corners”. This means that coaches have to consider the following when planning a training session or managing a team for matches:

  1. Physical
  2. Social
  3. Psychological
  4. Technical

The emphasis on technical and physical have always been in place, although there is now more significance attached to the mental wellbeing of each player, whether that comes from encouraging team-mates to be social or an emphasis on the psychological factors.

So for example, a warm-up session involving running laps of the pitch would only tick the physical box. However, a game of tag would tick the physical and social boxes. A game of tag with a ball at the feet of each player would also tick the technical box and potentially the psychological one too.

The Next Steps to UK Coaching

When you have successfully completed your Level 1 badge and started to take a few training sessions with your team, you might then be ready to take your Level 2 badge.

This is a much bigger commitment that is split into three modules and is a great deal more intensive for budding coaches. They will have to innovate with their training plans and be able to react to how a training session is going.

Beyond this, there are opportunities to get the FIFA Pro B Licence which would actually mean you could start applying for jobs should you wish to pursue this as an occupation. The FA provide some great resources for those who are serious about football coaching.