Mobile Young Eagles Academy coaches hone their skills at the PZPN Coaching School
The PZPN Coaching School, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has recently organised a training conference for coaches of the Mobile Young Eagles Academy. "We want to collect information and tailor the training resources to the needs of recipients, i.e. coaches across Poland", said Paweł Grycmann, Director of the PZPN Coaching School.
The Mobile Young Eagles Academy consists of sixteen two-person coaching teams, one per each of Poland's voivodeships. Each team operates in several areas. Initially, the main task of the Mobile YEA coaches was to educate coaches, teachers and parents and to find talented players. The project aims to reach out to as many clubs as possible to allow everyone to take part in free training as close to their home as possible, as well as to see local players in action and assess their potential. Several thousand training sessions have been conducted since 2018. Today, following the launch of the PZPN Football Academy Certification Programme, Mobile YEA coaches organise educational visits to certified schools (and those preparing to join the programme), per the latter's request. The coaches observe the training session and then discuss it with the local coach, identifying strengths and areas to focus on to improve the level of training. Mobile YEA coaches prepare training articles and resources as well.
This time, during the two-day event in Biała Podlaska, Mobile YEA coaches benefited from the experience of the speakers and their colleagues while also sharing their lessons learned. Apart from lectures, the training agenda included many practical exercises and tasks, including group-based ones.
"We met to standardise our message to coaches. To ensure that the Polish Football Association communicates with the coaches using one, consistent language", said Paweł Grycmann. "On the other hand, we want to constantly develop and, based on the training sessions observed by Mobile YEA coaches, gather real-world feedback and adapt the training content to the needs of recipients, i.e. coaches across Poland. We want to identify any shortcomings and areas that are already at a decent level and those that are underdeveloped. We want to collect information and address any issues found", he added.
A key challenge for the PZPN Coaching School and the instructors who educate their fellow coaches is to convey the player-centred approach.
"We want to demonstrate this very strongly. Therefore, the main objective of our two-day educational meeting was to show the player-centred approach in the context of the coach-centred approach while demonstrating the differences between the two philosophies. This is a major change. In the player-centred approach, success is defined as the player's development, i.e. improving their skills and knowledge and shaping their character. In the coach-centred approach, however, success is defined as the score. We, as coaches, are interested in the players and their progression, and the score is the effect and consequence of the work put into player development", Director Grycmann stressed.
Placing the players and their needs at the centre of the training process is something that is bound to be echoed in a series of training articles that Mobile YEA coaches will be preparing soon.
"We want to get as much information as possible from the players, not just the coaches, through discussion and communication. Find out what the players need and how they feel about the training process. We wish to talk about their expectations, whether they set short- and long-term goals with their coaches, whether the coach talks to them, how they communicate, whether their cooperation is based on trust, whether the team builds a positive environment and whether the focus is on the score or development. The answers to these questions will allow us to assess the coach through the lens of the information gathered from the players", said Paweł Grycmann.