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Explains how the FA Playmaker course highlights the coaching fundamentals of inclusivity, enjoyment and safety for anyone taking their first

To become the next Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp or Mauricio Pochettino is the holy grail to many within football. Like a conductor with an orchestra, controlling the tempo of play, the intensity of the press, and imprinting your very own style onto the game is a sign that you have truly and successfully impacted the team’s performance at the very highest level. To many, this may be unattainable, but the joy of coaching through the varying levels is a fulfilling process, providing you with the ability to influence the game you are so passionate about. 

For most, this coaching challenge begins within grassroots football, through helping out your local kids’ teams or getting involved with the Sunday league side at the nearby park. If this dream is to become a reality, then the first step is to complete the new FA Playmaker course. This course is for absolute beginners, there is no need for any previous experience within football. It preludes the Introduction to Coaching Football course, which will replace the FA Level 1 in Coaching Football Course in the summer of this year. The FA Playmaker course provides you with the experience needed to volunteer and assist in the organisation of coaching sessions for grassroots teams. 

This course focuses on the fundamentals of coaching football, that it must be inclusive, enjoyable and safe. It runs through how to effectively communicate with others that may have disabilities, are more introverted or from different backgrounds, and how to motivate and encourage these differing personalities within a potentially diverse group. It highlights the need for sessions to be fun, that it requires proper planning and preparation for coaching to be effective at enhancing skills whilst also being enjoyable and sociable for players. Before finally introducing a number of safety issues that you must be aware of and responsible for, such as concerns when coaching children to teaching basic CPR. 

It is an online course that takes approximately four-and-a-half hours, although there is no time limit for completion. This makes it an easy course to complete that will enable the learner to confidently support football sessions, ensuring that they are able to respond to emergency issues and understand frameworks such as STEP (Space, Task, Equipment and People) to organise sessions that meet their players’ needs. It highlights the need to keep the ball rolling as a way to maximise exercise and enjoyment for all involved. 

Therefore, the FA Playmaker should equip individuals with the required pre-requisites for their coaching journey to begin. It reinforces the idea that grassroots football is, above all, a medium for socialising. It is about encouraging individuals to get to know each other and share their common interest in football whilst also improving their footballing skills and playing as part of a team. A football coach should facilitate these ideals and find appropriate drills that encourage this process. A good coach will be able to improve their team, but must also encourage inclusivity, enjoyment and safety. We hear of coaches at the very highest level struggling to motivate their squads, their teams becoming bored of the methods used. I wonder whether coaches need reminding of these fundamentals when planning their next sessions.  

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