In August 2007 the English Football Association Learning Department introduced a new practical coaching curriculum for the Level 2 Coaching certificate. This is radically different from the old Level 2 curriculum and provides coaches who are taking or considering taking the Level 2 Coaching Certificate with a challenging, innovative and interesting educational experience.
The curriculum is designed to help coaches coach the basic unopposed techniques of football, develop these techniques into skill practices. The skill practices should be designed to pose questions of the players abilities and decisions to select and implement the correct technique when under pressure from defenders. Finally, the skill should then be progressed to a 4 v 4 game, that can include floating players, serving players and goalkeepers, which allow the players to further develop their techniques and skills in realistic game situations.
Unlike the previous Level 2, there isn't a set series of practices and sessions that the candidates on the Level 2 course must adhere to. The premise of the new practical course curriculum is to lay down a foundation of practical topics, help candidates understand how the structure of the sessions should encourage the players to have lots of opportunities to use and develop the technique of the specific topic, to highlight the key technical factors involved in each topic and then challenge the decision making process of the players use of the technique by developing the technique session into a skill and then onto a game.
The new Level 2 course challenges the coaches to think for themselves, be innovative and design, plan and then coach their own sessions, using what they have learnt on the course as a foundation for this process.
But, for many coaches taking this Level 2 qualification, there is a great deal to take on board. Not only do they have to play in the sessions, take notes and understand the structure of the sessions and how these are related and linked to the topic. But, they also need to be able to understand and apply how and why the key technical factors are applicable to each topic and how these technical factors need to be progressed into a skill that challenges the decision making process of the players. The candidate then has to coach all the techniques and skills in a 4 v 4 conditioned game. In addition, the candidates have to then design their own technique, skill and game session and coach them on the internal and external assessments on the course as well as coaching them at their own clubs.
As an FA Qualified Level 2 Tutor I attended a number of induction courses where the new practical curriculum was explained and demonstrated. I have also now delivered a number of Level 2 Courses using this new curriculum and there is no doubt in my mind that the new Level 2 is a far better course. It is much more relevant to football, it is far more interesting, dynamic, innovative and exciting. The end result is coaches who go back to their clubs far better equipped to provide and stimulate players with exciting sessions that will better develop technical skills and sessions that are structured to progress the players learning through posing real, match like situations that test their decision making process in the correct use of these techniques and skills.
Whilst tutoring on the new Level 2 courses, I was struck by the fact that the candidates on the course had a lot of new and different coaching information to contend with and precious little in the way of educational support, outside of the practical demonstrations on the course, to help them with learning, planning and implementing the coaching sessions that form the new practical curriculum.
To assist coaches who are taking the new level 2 course, coaches who are thinking of taking the course, or indeed those coaches who just want to further the coaching education and coaching knowledge, whatever level they coach at, Grassrootscoaching has developed an online educational resource for the new Level 2 course, that can assist coaches specifically to understand how to structure sessions so that the emphasis of the session is on a particular coaching topic and how and why that topic can progress from a technical session, into a skill session and then into a conditioned 4 v 4 game.
The information contained within the online educational resource is structured to the requirements of the new FA Level 2 practical curriculum and whilst the sessions are suggested practices, they lay down the principles and the structures that candidates will be taught on the course. Each topic has its own online video tutorial along with down loadable print outs of the sessions. In addition, as a member of grassrootscoaching.com, you will have full access to our easy to use design software Coaches Chalkboard, which will allow you to plan, design, save, share and print your own innovative sessions, which is a major requirement of the new level 2 course.
Before watching the online educational resource, it might be useful to outline what is considered a technique, how and why it develops into a skill and then progresses to a conditioned 4 v 4 game.
A technique is a basic building block of football. For example a technique is when a player is able to pass the ball, long, short, dribble, shoot from distance, control the ball etc. The more opportunities the player has to practice these techniques and the better a player is at mastering these basic techniques of the game, the more chance they have of improving as a player.
A skill is when a technique is used successfully when pressure is applied by an opposition player. So for example, a player might be able to successfully control the ball when it is dropping out of the air when there is no pressure on them. But can they do it successfully when pressure is applied from an opposition player.
To be able to improve players techniques, we need to be able to provide practices and sessions that focus on improving players specific techniques. To develop and improve one specific technique, the session will also require the player improving other linked techniques. This technique needs then to be tested, by applying some form of opposition, which makes it a skill.
CONDITIONED 4 V 4 GAME
Then the technique and skill need to be further tested in a 4 v 4 conditioned game. The game should be structured in such a way as to provide the players with lots of opportunities to practice the theme of the particular topic, i.e Close range shooting. Whilst the basis of the game should be 4 v 4, the numbers do not include goalkeepers, servers or conditioned floating players. So for example a game to develop close range finishing should involve a 4 v 4 situation, should include goals and goalkeepers, should involve a pitch size that would encourage lots of close range finishing opportunities and might include serving or floating players and maybe floating players who can play for whatever team is in possession, but are conditioned not to shoot. The floating players provide the team in possession with an overload situation, that they can use to their advantage so there are lots of close range finishing opportunities.
But, the best way to understand all this is to watch and learn from the online educational resource and design and plan your own sessions using Coaches Chalkboard.