C License – Day 1

This evening marked the start of the C License course and the introductory lectures. The three instructors for tonight were the Directors of Coaching of Kentucky, Indiana, and Minnesota. Steve Franklin and Andy Couts lectured on coaching methods before Adrian Parrish presented on “reading the game.”

We learned a few things about the course and the final coaching examination that will largely determine whether or not a coach passes. The course is centered around “advanced” players from 15-18 years old, but our practice during the week will be with U14 players from the Indy area. For the final examination, we will work with Indy Fire DA or ECNL teams.

The instructors also elaborated on the four-stage training outline they expect everyone to follow. The first stage or warm up will focus on technique, while the last stage would be an 11 v 11 game. The middle two stages are “functional” exercises, which for the purposes of this class means complete lines (e.g. the back four) work together in a similar space and function to a game setting.

I strongly disagree with a couple of stances the instructors took. Andy advised us to avoid using questioning or guided discovery as our primary method of helping players encounter information because it is “too slow”. He instead wanted us to rely on direct instruction to show the depth of what we know, even while acknowledging that it may not contribute to effective long-term learning. Hopefully the course will be adjusted in the future to promote healthy coaching practices over short-termism.

During the “reading the game” lecture, Adrian identified the objectives to focus on as problems. Along with the earlier insistence on constantly keeping players within the structure of a 4-3-3 system, players aren’t trusted to generate organization on their own. Errors were at times referred to as “breakdowns”, implying a deviation from the desired order. A better coaching model would focus on developing players’ abilities to build up a successful structure.

I’m looking forward to meeting more of the instructors and candidates through the rest of week. Kevin Hartman, former U.S. international keeper, will be running a pair of keeper sessions tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll get to put the cleats on and take some shots.

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