Coaches, coach educators and technical directors from across Europe have been encouraged to raise the bar of their teaching and learning at the tenth UEFA Coach Education Workshop in Budapest.
Neuroscientific aspects of improving existing communication were explored with one of the chief concepts of the workshop being the improvement of interaction to and from the coach.
"It is important to teach and coach the coach and to perform a behavioural analysis of how personalities develop," neurological expert Dr Babett Lobinger told the delegates. "These things are being increasingly discussed in football ... how they will affect not only your youth policies, but for adults as well. It is important to explore communication and to explain different perceptions."
UEFA's chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu and head of football education Frank Ludolph informed the workshop of the unifying of the national associations under the UEFA Coaching Convention. The workshop participants also heard about the evolution of UEFA's coaching programme, including the various exchange programmes such as the Study Group Scheme and the Pro licence student exchange.
"We have seen the benefits of developing all levels of coaching at all levels: B, A and Pro licence," Lupescu told the workshop. "We need to improve that level of coaching performance, because better players need better coaches and educators."
The workshop agenda has been designed in an interactive way to give representatives of UEFA's 54 member associations the chance to discuss key coaching topics, with presentations on learning philosophies of coaching and educating instructors, and refresher courses taking centre stage on the first afternoon. The knowledge-sharing sessions took place between the national associations, technical experts, members of UEFA's Development and Technical Assistance Committee and Jira Panel and the senior officials and coaching community of the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ), which has assisted UEFA in organising the workshop.
MLSZ vice-president Sándor Berzi was proud to host the event, and eager for the football community to spread the word of development. "We need to disseminate the information at this workshop to the coaches and to the players," he said, "as our investment in football is worth nothing if we don't have the technical capacity to go with it."
The workshop also honoured the achievements of the coaching family, offering plaques to Zdeněk Sivek and György Mezey for their contributions to the game and paying tribute to Vlatko Marković, the former Croatian Football Federation (HNS) president and former chairman of the Development and Technical Assistance Committee who passed away in September, aged 76.
Delegates were updated about the rapid progression of specialist coach education, a subject debated in rotating forums. Packie Bonner and Marc Van Geersom led conversation groups on UEFA's advanced coaching qualification for goalkeepers, Andreas Morisbak and Sigmund Apold-Aasen on fitness, and Ginés Meléndez joined Javier Lozano in reviewing the pilot phase of coach education for futsal.
Many of the groups highlighted the importance of the cascading effect of football education. The aim is for national associations to take inspiration from UEFA events and roll them out on a national level with UEFA's support.
Attendees were also reminded that while much of the progress in coach education focuses on the positive, there is also a need to be aware of the dangers of match-fixing, which can be prevented through education of the football community.
The second half of the workshop turned attention to the field of play with a practical session at the Hungarian Football Federation technical centre planned on effective communication, coming after MLSZ coaches look at the learning philosophy at Elite Youth A licence level at Budapest Honvéd FC's Bozsik Stadium. The delegates headed home after receiving further encouragement from a surprise guest.
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