Coaches Corner

December Blog 2015 – Developing the Environment by James Wilson

Wow time flies! With Christmas approaching we have hit yet another mid-point of the season. I get a great sense of pride that in less than 10 years we now have teams from Under 7 through to Under 16 and I know Sarah is doing great work in putting things in place for an Under 18 team from next season. On top of this, I still run our pre-Clifton United session (SoccerShooters) for Reception to year 1 children, so from next season, all going to plan, we will potentially have players from 4 to 17 years old as part of our football set up.

Mine and the club philosophy is to not only develop players football skills but also use football as a tool for developing life skills. We want to create a winning mentality but not a win at all costs mentality. Underpinning our approach to these objectives is to create an environment conducive with this. We want children to have fun, enjoy the game, enjoy being with friends , understand the value and benefits of team work and at the same time aiming to be the best they can be, not just in football but life. All this is easier said than done and each and every one of us associated with the club contributes to this. It’s important that we don’t place too much pressure on the players, ensuring we allow them to express themselves on the pitch without fear of failure. The FA have made great strides to provide Grass roots football teams with support and guidance on this, and I’m delighted to be accepted onto the FA Age appropriate Module 3 course that starts in January 2016. I’m sure there are many things I will pick up and learn from this course which I will use to help support the club going forward. I’m also looking to provide a presentation in January to all parents in the cub house called ‘Developing the Environment’ one Saturday morning, so watch this space for time and date.

So that just leaves me to say a very merry Christmas and prosperous New Year to you and your families and as ever thanks again for your continued support.

Best wishes

James Wilson

Clifton United Head coach

No matches called off here - Sam Dredge

In recent weeks it's been hard to switch-on the news without the weather featuring as a headline story. When it comes to us enjoying our weekly dosage of sport, our love of football often gets cancelled due to bad weather. Teams up and down the country are receiving that dreaded email saying 'Football is cancelled.'

We ourselves have not escaped the weather, having had fixtures both home and away moved or switched. Yet we are lucky that as a club Clifton United have access to and fortunate to use an artificial turf pitch known as a Third Generation (3G).

Having this artificial surface available has meant we can maximise the time available for our players to play. Providing player's with more opportunity to perform is clearly going to increase their ability. Yet it is important that we are maximising the quality of the time we have to train and play to.

Historically discussions about the state of youth football in England have focused around the quality of coaching and content being taught. But there has been little prominence given to the type of facilities players have been exposed to. Although currently unplayable; many pitches even with improved weather conditions are not fit for purpose.

The importance placed on technique and creativity is clear and justified. Young players are encouraged to deliver accurate passes and control the ball consistently, but this is will always be a challenge on uneven, poor surfaces many play on.

As a coach I would suggest the virtues of playing on 3G pitches are clear. A truer surface that allows players to express themselves can only be a good thing. Having a surface that promotes accurate passing can help improve a player's ability.

I feel confident that as a club our 3G pitch provides young players with the facility to play in almost every weather condition. Being able to consistently play football through rain and shine allows us to enjoy more football, strengthen our game and grow as a club for now and the future.