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Essex County FA's Girls' & Women's Coaches Association kicked off 2008 in style with a fantastic first in-service event that saw John Allpress, the Football Association's National Player Development Coach for 7-16 year-olds, inspire around 26 County Grassroots Coaches.
The event, which was hosted by the Thurstable Sports and Sixth Form Colleges Football Foundation site at the end of January, enabled coaches to take part in both practical and classroom sessions led by Allpress. John has worked with national players and was observed on the occasion as a keynote speaker.
Amongst the content of the day was a focus on developing youth players both on and off the pitch, examination of the 'Long Term Player Development' ethos and guidance for coaches on how to put coaching styles that create positive, effective environments into practice.
Emma Wake, Girls' & Women's Football Development Officer at the ECFA, was positive about the response from the coaches: "The session that John put on was really interesting and innovative. It made us all think about how we deliver sessions and, perhaps, moving forward, how we can adapt our own coaching styles."
Paul Parker from Ashingdon Youth F.C. was so inspired with the group and the afternoon he is even planning on setting a girls section up within his club for two teams: "We've got twenty six teams, including youths and adults, at our club and as a part of working towards Charter Standard Development status we would like to add a couple of girls' teams to that as well. We currently have girls players in the younger youth squads but we have to let them go at under-12s which is a shame.
"Watching John was of great benefit for myself and all the others present who were really interested in his amiable and friendly approach. His ideas centre around making the game as enjoyable as possible for the player being coached and I definitely learned from this to improve how I coach. Like they say, you can pass your driving test but you don't learn how to drive unless you've had that bit of extra experience!"
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