Ayr United Football Academy held a very successful Coach Development Day on Sunday 17th December at Belmont Academy.
The In-Service Day was led by Davie White (Head of Academy) and Craig Dargo (Head of Professional Academy).
Following introductions, the morning practical session on the astro pitch was led by guest Jim Fleeting (SFA Head of Coach Development).
Jim presented several ‘micro-coaching themes’ using the present Ayr United Under 17 squad to demonstrate how these can be applied within normal coaching sessions.
The use of ‘micro-coaching’ allows coaches to use a smaller numbers of in order to enhance technique and game awareness for players. The smaller numbers involved make the themes more meaningful, real and enjoyable for the players, as well as focusing on key aspects of technique eg 2 v 2 defenders and attackers supplemented by a goalkeeper and side players. With two or three coaches available at training sessions other aspects of coaching / team shaping within the squad can also take place at the same time.
Following the first part of the practical session Jim then demonstrated a 4 v 4 theme designed to give players more awareness on ‘breaking the lines’ within a more confined space.
This micro-session was played at a good tempo and highlighted the value of ‘creating space’ to play the pass as well as the need for the players to ‘run off the ball’ and to pass accurately under pressure.
The morning session led by Jim Fleeting was insightful, informative and enjoyable for both players and coaches alike.
The ‘veteran coach’ was delighted to be awarded with an ‘’Ayr United FC woollen hat’ by Shaun Ferrie (Head of Youth Development which Jim will hopefully be proud to wear on his ‘coaching journeys’ across Scotland and further afield.
The final part of the morning practical session was led by the Academy’s Head of Sports Science John Chisholm who again used the Under 17s players to demonstrate both the value and importance of warm-up procedures prior to games and training sessions. John identified four key primary purposes for warm ups as – mental readiness, physical readiness, injury prevention and performance enhancement.
The afternoon session was classroom based and divided into two main parts. John Chisholm continued on the theme of football specific warm up techniques as well as focusing on recovery, nutrition and the monitoring of player workload. John is highly experienced in delivering Sports Science and his audience yesterday greatly appreciated his presentation and delivery.
The final part of the afternoon session was led by Davie White who gave an informative update on the forthcoming implementation of ‘Project Brave’ and how it will affect The Academy’s players, coaches, staff and parents.
A very successful Coach Development Day, well attended, well organised, informative, interesting and enjoyable for all concerned. The Academy continues to move forward as always in a positive manner and is ‘ready and waiting’ to ‘meet the challenges’ in 2018 on the ‘path to continuous improvement’.