Coaching in Ratoath Harps – Introduction

As coaches at all levels, we need to recognise that training and competition is essential to our players’ success. We should also know that young players are not miniature adults and that the emphasis and content of training differs according to the developmental age of the player. Consequently, it is a long term process for young players to develop into elite or high-quality players.

With very young players, the emphasis of training should be on basic co-ordination and movement acquisition in a fun environment and while challenges and competition are an essential part of training, they should not be the focus of it.

As young players move through to each new phase of their development, the process and the programme should be clear. It must also be methodical to allow easy transition to the next phase. Consideration of what should be coached, when, for how long and how often, must be related to critical periods – the ‘windows of trainability’.

Again these must be linked if players are to reach their potential and fully develop as a person. Thus, it is essential to develop and use a Long Term Plan for player development.

These considerations have involved the FAI in a critical examination of current coaching and training methods for players. Study has been made of methods used by those countries which have achieved success in developing football players on a consistent basis. The outcome of this assessment identifies areas which have to be redefined or changed as appropriate within our game.

The FAI coaching and training structure and content will, with the help of the UEFA, the Irish Sports Council and the National Coaching and Training Centre, be re-designed. Competitive schedules will be re-assessed to allow all players more time to train, learn and master the movement, mental, technical and tactical skills necessary for them to reach their true potential.

The FAI Player Development Programme as part of its Technical Development Plan will contribute to skills, fitness and knowledge among Irish football players in the years to come.

We at Ratoath Harps A.F.C. are charged with the responsibility to ensure that our players are provided with the best opportunities to fulfil their dreams and potential.

While the structures of the club and the competitive leagues we play in have produced players of ability, we need to continuously strive to do more to develop are own players in the areas of technical ability, physical fitness and tactical awareness.

The club’s development structures will operate from under 5s to senior level allowing players to develop, and to compete and succeed at the highest levels of the game.

With the massive potential and young talent available to us in this area, a rejuvenated approach and emphasis on the long term co-ordinated approach to developing players, and the involvement of all coaches within the club, will have major benefits at all levels of the game. It’s important to remember that we are all members of Ratoath Harps A.F.C and not coaching/managing individual teams without a wider club ethos or involvement.

All our players need all the quality coaching, information, time and attention we can give to help them in their development whether it’s in or out of the game.

The re-introduction of players past and present back into the club system, whether it be as coaches, managers, physios, supporters or even at committee level, is vital to the success of the club and its development and to encourage the interaction of all players, teams, coaches and members, within the club.

The F.A.I. has brought in a new directive in relation to grassroots soccer in Ireland, which was brought to UEFA for approval and in turn they have insisted that all countries in Europe start implementing this same directive. What this has done is change the whole approach of coaching in soccer development from u5s and up to senior level all over Europe. The emphasis is mainly on children starting at u5s to u10s with a steady progression into early teens and it focuses on the physical and mental development of players as they individually progress with all the technical and tactical information they will receive from our coaching over the years.

Our job is to ensure that grassroots soccer in Ratoath Harps A.F.C is developed to the best of our abilities as coaches under the guidance of the FAI and its new Technical Development Plan.

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