I wasn’t a highly qualified coach, with not even a years’ worth of football coaching experience when I contacted OPTFC. I was after an exciting opportunity to coach football, and learn the fundamentals of coaching children alongside experienced coaches, in a friendly environment and pressure-free – Exactly the principles of the OPTFC Development Centre. It was suggested I came along to watch the DC session in action one Sunday where I was introduced to OPTFC coach David Millbery, who reassured me that regardless of the level of coach you are – you are here to learn – as are the kids. David explained I had the opportunity to shadow fellow coaches and when the time comes to lead on sessions, I would always have the support around me. Hearing those words, alongside seeing the fantastic set-up at the DC had me sold.
Undertaking the voluntary coaching at the DC was always more than just a CV booster and logging hours. It was the experience I got in various scenarios and how I dealt with them that has led to me gaining Full-time employment at TWO County FA’s. It’s about the qualities you develop as a person, but also as a coach. The experiences I encountered through coaching at the DC were the ones that I could reflect upon in both my job interviews at Worcestershire FA and Wiltshire FA. Those experiences were a double bonus – Not only have they helped me develop as a coach, they were they relevant to the job roles and also displayed my qualities as a person. The work at the DC helped me to become more confident in coaching, gave me a chance to experiment with my coaching sessions, and also provided a chance to listen to the experiences and have lengthy discussions about football with many great coaches who had years of coaching experience ahead of me.
Since October 2014 I have been working at Wiltshire FA as a Recreational Football Development Officer, and I know without the help and the support of OPTFC, with the coaches, and with David in particular I wouldn’t be the confident young person I am today.
In my current role in Wiltshire I am now a Level 2 Coach with the Youth Award Module 1 which I completed in early 2015. Currently I coach once a week for a company in my spare time, which helps to develop the skills of children in Years 1 – 3, the children get an hour of football coaching, whether they currently play in a team or not. Sounds familiar to the DC… and one of the reasons why I coach there!
I am very grateful for the opportunity those at OPTFC gave me. They are a fantastic Community based Charter Standard Development club, with equally fantastic coaches. If you are interested in getting on the stepping stones to coach football at a club, I’d recommend getting in touch directly with OPTFC. The great thing about coaching and football development in general, is that it’s never ending. There is always something going on and something to learn, whether that’s from a fellow coach or even the children! I am proud to say I am involved in coaching the beautiful game, and I have to thank the OPTFC and their links with the University of Worcester for that.