A group of Richard Taunton Sixth Form College football coaching students were given an insight into how international players are prepared for big games on a visit to St George’s Park.
The 12 level 3 National Diploma sports coaching students were invited to the £105 million FA’s National Football Centre in Burton to see how the country’s top coaches work with England players at all levels.
Sport teacher Luke Roberts said: “Their goal ultimately is to coach at academies, grass roots or further along the elite level so this was a chance for them to see the top level of coaching they can aim for and it gave them an insight into what it takes to get there.
“It’s something we like to do at the end of the year before they go into year two which is more advanced. We hope it gives them the motivation to push themselves to become better coaches.”
The students were given a tour of the park, including training pitches, gyms, meeting and briefing rooms, and the adjoining Hilton Hotel’s private accommodation for England men’s and women’s internationals.
They were also shown the park’s indoor 3G training pitch which can be temperature adjusted to match wherever the team will be playing.
“For the students to hear about that was brilliant because it gave them a lot more knowledge about the level of detail that goes into planning for international matches,” said Mr Roberts.
After the tour the students went out onto an outdoor pitch to be put through their paces in a coaching session that mirrored many of the drills and practices experienced by England players.
“It went from a fun, light-hearted warm-up to more skill development focusing on shooting to how that would get used within a game,” said Mr Roberts. “It allowed the students to see how a session can be structured to make it game realistic and the way the coaches engage players from the start and then build into it a more serious level.”
He said the students enjoyed the workout and supported each other through the more competitive elements. “I took part as well and I was exhausted at the end,” he said. “They had the chance to ask lots of questions and the coaches tested their knowledge as well.”
He said the trip will give the students plenty of ideas and motivation for when they return next year. “Everything we do at Richard Taunton is geared to making them the best coaches they can be,” he added. “All of them are in primary schools every week building up their coaching hours, so this was a bit of a reward for their hard work. They all appreciated it and I think the kids they are coaching will benefit.”