IN THE DUGOUT | NOV 29th | WE will be fans not coaches.

By IAIN KING, Head Coach, BSC Lowland League brought to you in association with Sport Careers www.sportcareers.co.uk

WE will be fans not coaches.

Given an idle weekend by the fixtures computer, on Saturday morning Craig Young and I will be BSC Glasgow punters.

We will be on the touchline at Scotstoun eagerly awaiting kick-off in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup as our club’s 2001s side take on Edinburgh’s Hutcheson Vale.

It promises to be a cracker and it will be a welcome distraction for Gigz.

He is stuck in the middle of a nervous wait for the final nod from the SFA that he has landed his UEFA B licence after a year of hard graft on the training field.

The laminated card that popped through my own letterbox this summer at the end of the latest part of my coaching journey felt like vindication.

I’d spent nine days at Largs in 2013 soaking up all I could from training ground classmates like Craig Gordon, Kevin Thomson and Craig Beattie.

Countless sessions, assessments, homework, lectures on player psychology, studies in sports science followed. I threw myself into the learning process.

I came out the other side a richer football man and a far better coach.

I’m confident Craig will too, we know each other inside-out, he’s a natural on the training ground and I’m sure he will get the Christmas present he craves the most.

That cherished card in his kitbag after 120 hours on the turf boosting his knowledge.

Our strategy then will be for Gigz to take a breath, I’ll hurl myself into my A licence next year if the SFA accept the application and we’ll go again.

He knows the demands the A licence will bring, we both know the benefits for BSC.

If I am enveloped in my course work, he can cover, the next season the roles will be reversed.

It’s time, it’s money, it’s your heart and soul, it’s worth it.

In my eyes it’s vital at clubs like BSC that the parents and the players see the big picture of what the coaches now put in to improving themselves.

That was hammered home to me recently, a friend is facing problems at his club, pressured by parents after a narrow defeat in a Cup game.

He is a tremendous and dedicated coach and he is pondering walking away, his team are in their first season of 11-a-sides.

This is where the attitudes in Scotland MUST change if we are to keep the recent feelgood factor around our game that Gordon Strachan’s nous with the national team has fuelled.

Strachan himself has a thirst for coaching knowledge that has taken him to Aussie Rules clubs to learn during one of his sabbaticals.

Yet in some circles there remains mistrust of educated coaches and in some parents there is downright disrespect of those who give up their time to guide their teams.

On a scouting trip for the SYFA Scotland 2001s side I coach I was hugely impressed when I watched Peter Vezza and Mark Carnegie guide BSC to a 6-1 win over Renfrew Victoria recently.

The players were encouraged to play, the structure of the team was excellent, the game knowledge of the entire coaching staff shone through.

This weekend they will be consumed by the result, the Scottish gets you like that.

Yet I hope whatever the score they take a moment afterwards to reflect on the superb job they are doing producing technically gifted players like midfielder Calum Hughes.

That can only be done by educated coaches.

Before the World Cup Finals in 2014 the German football association, the DFB, lifted the lid on the 14-year odyssey they had been on since their abject failure at Euro 2000.

The fruits of their labours would be there for all to see come the crowning glory as the like of Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos showed they were the best team on the planet destroying Brazil 7-1 on the way to the Final.

How were players like that produced, though? The answer lies in a talent development programme that covered 366 areas of Germany and schooled kids from the ages of eight to 14.

They were mentored by 1,000 part-time DFB coaches all of whom had to have the UEFA B licence Craig is poised to earn.

Before those Finals in Brazil the band of coaches in Germany with the B in their pockets had grown to 28,400.

Contrast that with England who had just 1,759 and ask yourself why their failed so miserably in the same tournament with a generation of players who couldn’t get out of their group.

I am sorry but it’s not a coincidence. The good news is that in Scotland thanks to the sterling work of the likes of Jim Fleeting and Donald Park coach education is valued and we currently have 1,472 B licence holders in this country.

I know from experience how hard every one of them has worked whilst holding down a day job to earn those credentials.

Almost every coach you see now will have started that journey in one way or another.

Something to think about the next time you are ready to say the guy in charge of your kid’s team doesn’t have a clue.

Enjoy your weekend,

BSC Family,

Iain King


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