The life and times of a Grassroots Coach

AFC Uckfield Colts Coaching session

Posted on 09/05/2017 by GRF Admin

S/he looks at the clock at work, it’s 4:30 and needs to be at the pitch an hour before everyone else. Put the nets up, mark out the field, sort out the strips, fill out the team sheet, fill the water bottles make sure S/he has the first aid kit, won’t have any dinner today or get to spend some time with his/her own kids. S/He sent out the texts last night only a few replied back “can’t they just let me know, will I have enough” S/he thinks. The first cars arrive and the parents ask “what time is kick off at” “half 6” “grand we’ll be back then” the car speeds off probably to go home for their dinner. Coach was hoping they might stay and give a hand but some people are just to busy.

Coach picks the team, S/he doesn’t want leave anybody on the line, S/he’s feeling guilty “everyone will get a game” coach tells the players , some players are happy others look upset and coach insures them they’ll play. Some players are nervous so coach calms them down and tells them to “go out and enjoy it and try your best” S/He knows some parents won’t be happy their child isn’t starting. As coach walks to the field S/he can hear some people commenting “my lad shouldn’t be there” “he shouldn’t be starting” ” he’s only starting because coach is friends with his father” they whisper. The coach keeps his/ her focus on the match. The game is going well and Coach gives everyone a run.

The ref blows for full time, S/he gathers the players around tells them all they played great, coach doesn’t mention the mistakes “ye gave it yer all, well done and thanks for coming along” the players have to go as some parents are in a rush to go home. “Don’t forget we’re training on Thursday” the manager says as the parents drive off “sure I can’t be asking them” S/he thinks “they have to rush home” As the pitch empties coach carry’s the spare football’s, the water bottles and first aid kit.

The nets must be taking down the strips washed and it’s now nearly half 8. Still no dinner S/he’s been gone since half 7 this morning and hasn’t seen his/her own family all day Coach is tired now. Coach locks the gate, and finally gets home his/her kids and partner are happy to see them. Coaches partner says “I don’t know why you do it” coach replies “ah sure everyone else is to busy” “but what about us” asks coaches partner and kids “I know love but I have to do it for the club”

This season coach got off early from work to coach your kid, S/he will miss out on their own family time for your kid, S/he will spend a lot of money on petrol to drive to club/league/county fa meetings/collecting kit and trophies/messaging leagues/ other coaches. Coach will look after your kid like one of their own. Coach will comfort them when they get kicked, console them when they lose. So the next time you feel like criticizing think about what coach does so your kid can play Football.

These guys are the real footballing heroes, let’s make them feel like it.


The U7s season kicks off

Training for the 2017/18 seasonCoach Dan Guidal talks about the history and current status of our under 7’s team and coaching.

The coaches for the U7s are myself and Liam Ridley, and we are both FA Level 1 Qualified coaches. Liam has been with the club a lot longer than me and has great experience in coaching kids at this level. I became a coach following the enthusiasm of my lad in younger players session on a Sunday, and then gained my FA qualification in November 2015 and haven’t looked back since.

I have learnt a lot from Liam It developing the players has now become a passion of mine and key to that for me is making sure the training is fun for the players while they develop. This is a principle both Liam and I are passionate about and the feedback to date is that this comes across in our training.

Liam and I took control of the U6s late after the start of 2016-2017 season when we had three players. We have grown the team over the course of the season and have a fantastic bunch of players who really make it easy to get the best out of a session while keeping it fun. While there has been some expected attrition to the players we have over close season, it has been minimal and we have maintained a promising bunch of players to take into the new
season. We hope to have enough for two teams for the league before the year is out, which is a fantastic stride forward for us. It is a great time to be joining the team.

At U7 level the friendly leagues begin. The league is a friendly league playing league games roughly every three weeks. Games are usually played with five a side at this level. Games are refereed but should be fairly relaxed and aimed more towards development rather than punitive refereeing.

The FA Coaching course advises that football shouldn’t be played at a competitive level until
the players reach 13, which is something Liam and I strongly subscribe to. Core to our values are equality amongst all players with regards to attention at training and pitch time on match days, regardless of ability. Again, for us it is all about the players having  fun at this age whilst developing their skill set and not necessarily about ability, and that is how we will feedback player progress as the season unfolds, based on development.

Thank you for being a part of the AFC Uckfield Colts U7 2017-2018 season. We are really looking forward to what is going to be a missive season for us as we grow the team from strength to strength.

We are growing in numbers, so please do provide any friends who have children interested in joining the club (either at U7 or any age group) please contact us.

Daniel Guidal
AFC Uckfield Colts U7 Coach
For on and behalf of Daniel Guidal and Liam Ridley (AFC Uckfield Colts U7 Coach)

Training to be match-ready

AFC Uckfield Colts trainingThroughout most of the season training will be on the 3G Pitches behind Uckfield Leisure Centre (directions below). However, when the weather and daylight allows we like to train on grass to provide the players experience of the surface.

Most seasons we will run some pre-season training on grass before moving to the 3G pitch, usually around early-mid September (exact date for 2017-2018 season yet to be confirmed). This season we will begin training on grass on Friday 18th August between 6-7. Training will be at Isfield Recreation Ground (directions below).

We can open up the pavilion there for toilet facilities and for shelter if rain creeps up on us (and for a cheeky cup of tea no doubt). We ask that anyone using the pavilion facilities treat it with the same respect you would your own home. We have been kindly entrusted by the cricket club to use their facilities and they expect us to leave them as they were found. We shall let you know once training begins on the 3G Pitch. As above, this is expected to be early to late September.

All players must have suitable kit for training in all weather conditions, shin pads and suitable football boots. When we move to the 3G pitch all players must have suitable Grass boots (AG). Please visit the Football Nation site for guidance on boots

Uckfield Leisure Centre
Downsview Cres, Uckfield TN22 1UB, UK
Find us with this Google map link

Isfield Village Hall
Isfield, Uckfield TN22 5EY, UK
Find us with this Google map link

The cricket fields are behind the village hall. There is parking next to the pavilion close to the fields, but I can’t see the name of the road on Google Maps. Basically, it’s the second left after the village hall.

If that fails, you can park on the village hall and with the village hall on your back, there’s a cut through the bushes on your left (it’s not obvious but it’s there). Follow that through to a housing estate and as you come through, opposite you on your right is an alley that brings you to the fields.

Fundraising & Sponsorship

AFC Uckfield Colts FundraisingWe encourage parent participation in the running of the club as much as possible.

Throughout the season we will try to run various social events for the players, parents and coaches to all get together. This is an important side to the running of the team, ensuring all the players meet outside of training and matches. We welcome suggestions from parents for such activities.

What we will often incorporate amongst these activities are fund raising days to help raise funds for the club. The player fees are kept as low as possible to cover the basic overheads of running the club incorporating various subsidisations into fees / kit costs and training costs. The club does not make profit as it’s not what we are about, we are about developing the
players and making this development accessible to all.

To that end, any fund raising ideas from parents are encouraged so please do let me know if you have any suggestions.

In addition, we encourage local business endorsement and are open to discussing sponsorship schemes to help promote your businesses in the local area whilst providing further funding for the club, allowing for further subsidies for the players.

An example of this could be the sponsorship of the training kit, which would give advertising exposure to not only the U7 parents and coaches but the parents and coaches of all the age groups that train at that time. An example like this could allow us to say that we don’t have to charge parents for the training tops at all, for example.

Please do let us know if you have any ideas regarding funding or sponsorship. Visit the Contact us page to get in touch.

New website launched

The AFC Uckfield Colts teamThe 2017-2018 season sees the herald of the new AFC Uckfield Colts website.

The plan is to make this as interactive as possible, with blog posts and match reports from coaches and a moderated message board for coaches, players and parents to interact.

We also plan to launch a private members area allowing parents to confirm player available and a secure way of paying fees online.

If anyone has any suggestions on functionalities, please do let us know.

We’ll also have a Facebook page which is regularly updated with relevant news and photos from training and events through the various age groups. Search for AFC Uckfield Colts on Facebook and request membership.

Again, we ask that all participant’s adhere to our Code of Conduct when it comes to any form of communication, particularly when it comes to website and social media interaction. The FA Coaching course stresses that there has been some disturbing examples of how simple misconception of how to use these tools can lead to damaging the children which, I’m sure everyone agrees this must not happen.

The club also adopts a a zero tolerance approach when it to a breach of our code of conduct involving website or social media communication. Read more on the subject of respect on our Values page.