Hey again all – had wanted not to sound too self indulgent in the articles but just quickly I left Estonia on Monday 28th Nov after attending their Gala awards. I was deeply honoured to receive their football federations’ highest accolade the EJL Gold star for my work in developing women’s and girls football and coach education from their president Aivar Pohlak. As well as many gifts and testimonials from various colleagues and players, an emotional end but a positive legacy left I hope?
Now there is so much going on and the major talking points in the media are the disturbing issues around abuse of young players under the age of 14 generally in the worst form of abuse. Although there are many forms the most common being Emotional and bullying. These have been about sexual which leads to permanent scarring or worse. In the first years of The FA s development of Child protection workshops now known as safeguarding I became a tutor on these courses.
My reason at the time was influenced by the fact that I had two young relatives who had suffered this type of abuser at grassroots level at around age 10. He was caught he was convicted. But this changed the lives of both boys forever as one brother lost another some years later, when his sibling could no longer deal with the feelings inside him, which had been triggered by this coach that they had trusted and looked up to.
But please lets not tar every one with the same brush; this is a hidden minority almost microscopic in comparison to the thousands doing great work. Also certainly not isolated to football. Other sports have seen this type of behaviour in the past including Olympic sports.
I will not dwell on this further as I believe that at least our own FA is pro-active in educating coaches in how to recognise and deal with this as well as ensure people are in place who can help;
I think that leads on in a way to another area I keep seeing comments and articles on. ; The relevance of coaching qualifications, experience versus a piece of paper as one quote said.
Why do we need qualifications and what good does having a UEFA B licence for instance do you when you are coaching u7s to u10s for example?
Something I can elaborate more on in the future should you wish, but for me having worked up from grassroots I have taken something positive from all my teachers both on and off of courses. How to keep kids safe being a major one.
To end I am sure we in football have all felt the sad loss of life in the Brazilian air crash – god bless all and those left behind who lost friends and loved ones.
See you next time, I sincerely wish you a great Christmas everyone.