Get qualified & make a difference!

Whether you're a player, a parent or are already involved with football coaching informally, taking a course to get your FA coaching badges is one of the best steps you can make to help contribute to your or your child's club. The grassroots game is crying out for formally qualified coaches and in recent years the FA has invested a huge amount of time, money and expertise to improve and extend the quality of coaching training available at all levels of the game. With literally hundreds of reasonably priced local courses running all over the UK, there has never been a better time to get into coaching.

What Courses are Available?

There are now an astonishing 47 different FA coaching qualifications available as part of the FA Coaching Pathway. These include the core qualifications, starting at Level 1, youth qualifications and specialist options such as futsal coaching and the junior football organisers' course. The basic pathway is shown below - click on the image to enlarge.

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Of this bewildering choice of courses, by far the most popular option is Level 1 or the 1st4sport Level 1 Award in Coaching Football to give it its full name. Virtually every coach starts with this course and it is open entry, meaning no prior experience is necessary so it's the place to start for anyone wishing to get involved in coaching. Read more about Level 1 here.

Not surprisingly, the next most popular course is Level 2, the 1st4Sport Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Football and although this is also open entry, it is generally expected and advised that you have taken Level 1 unless you have a large amount of previous coaching or playing experience. Read more about Level 2 here.

FA Coaching Styles and Techniques

There has been a slow but significant change in the coaching style promoted by the FA over the last 10 years, particularly towards young players and there is now a lot more emphasis on understanding, accepting and using the psychology of football to help players develop. Formally there was a huge bias towards the physical side of the game but now this has been balanced with other factors and integrated into the FA's 4 Corner Model of player development. This covers the technical, psychological, social and physical issues that should be considered as young players mature and develop. The basic idea is that every player develops at a different pace in different areas as they progress through football and an old style "one size fits all" coaching philosophy is much less productive than considering each player's changing needs as an individual.

If you're concerned that this sounds like it takes things away from the pitch too much, don't worry - in fact the opposite is true. The 4 Corner Model helps to reach players' individual needs by getting them more directly involved in the coaching sessions and encouraging them to explore, challenge and adapt new techniques and skills in an interactive way. This keeps younger players engaged and builds confidence and allows older ones to get what they need from coaching sessions as they develop.