Level 1 Coaching Badge

The Level 1 coaching badge (1st4Sport Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Football) is the starting point for the vast majority of coaches and as such is by far the most popular course in the UK with literally hundreds of courses offered each year through local county FA's. The objectives of Level 1 are to give new coaches a basic introduction to the concepts of planning, organizing and delivering safe coaching sessions and officially, as the first step in becoming a recognized coach, it paves the way to the FA Level 2 course and the rest of the FA Coaching Pathway for those coaches who would like to take their careers further.

Practicalities

The Level 1 course duration is a maximum of 32 hours and it varies from course to course but it is often run over four days on two consecutive weekends, as a 4 or 5 day intensive course or over a longer period using mainly short evening sessions. Because of this range of choice, most people find it's very easy to fit it in with everyday commitments. Either contact your local county FA directly (most have course details posted on their websites) or use the FA's course database to find out what's available locally. Level 1 is an open entry course, meaning that anyone with a keen interest in football and developing young players can apply. Costs vary but for 2013 between £120 and £150 is average with small reductions often available for coaches working with Charter Standard Clubs (written proof required).

What You'll Learn

The actual training is broken down into three sections - FA Emergency Aid, Safeguarding Children in Football and the coaching itself. The first two sections are concerned with providing a safe, productive and enjoyable coaching and playing environment with very basic first aid included for obvious reasons. The coaching section consists of theory, practical and assessment and you are provided with a learning pack that basically contains all the information required to pass and you'll spend time in the classroom during the theory section working with the course mentor on the contents of the pack. Topics covered include club administration, the laws of the game, relationships with parents, training drills and an introduction to the FA's Long Term Player Development Model.

During the practical section you practice the training drills introduced in the classroom and the mentor will run through them himself to demonstrate not only how they work but also to show how to identify and work on the key development points contained in the drills. You'll then be given the chance to practise drills with the other coaches to help you prepare you for the assessment. The assessment itself is based on your delivery of a 20 minute practical coaching session assigned by the course mentor during which you have to demonstrate you can organize and conduct a safe, enjoyable and productive coaching session.

Most people find that their Level 1 course is a lot of fun and although most agree it's not a particularly challenging badge to pass, new coaches will gain a lot of useful techniques and information to take home to their clubs.