Features & Blogs (118)
Premier League footballer and Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley paid a visit to Hareleeshill Primary in Larkhall to launch Coerver Coaching’s new Partner School Programme.
The 37-year-old West Brom defender was put through his paces along with some pupils during a coaching session, before taking part in a question and answer session in front of the whole school.
The initiative will deliver weekly coaching sessions to every child from nursery to primary seven regardless of ability, and a further 21 selected pupils have joined the new School of Football which will provide them with three focused coaching sessions per week as well as ongoing mentoring.
McAuley was full of praise for the style of coaching the kids would now benefit from. He said: 'This Coerver scheme is a great thing, and a lot of top clubs in Europe have used it. It’s all with the ball and promotes development.
'It’s that fundamental ability to use the ball, ability to control the ball and manipulate it. It's stuff that they’ll take with them, stuff that will develop as they grow and move forward. It’s important to grasp that as early as possible and allow the kids to develop.'
In addition to the football-specific benefits of Coerver Coaching, the scheme aims to develop pupils' communication, concentration, confidence, co-operation, and self-control. Kevin Kearney, leading the programme on behalf of the school, said:
'The Scottish Attainment Challenge funding has given us the opportunity to provide school wide sports coaching of the highest quality which many of our pupils would have difficulty accessing.
'The funding also gives us the opportunity to engage children in learning using this different approach to meet their needs.
'Children have the opportunity to develop footballing skills, life skills and recognise that hard work and commitment has its rewards’.
Joe Jones, Coerver Coaching Scotland Technical Director, said: 'We are delighted to be working with Hareleeshill Primary School.
'Coerver Coaching has been committed to developing life skills in young people since we started in 1984. This partnership gives us a real opportunity to help contribute to making a difference to the lives of the young players involved, alongside improving their football ability'.
Coerver has worked with the French and Brazilian football federations over their 33-year history and with clubs such as Real Madrid, Arsenal and Manchester United, and one of their current Partner clubs is Rangers.
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Sean Selkirk looks into the Train Like a Pro project being run by Ross County, offering aspiring players a chance to experience a day in a footballer's life.
Ross County are doing wonders in their youth department in the Highlands and are doing everything they can to develop young players in Dingwall and the surrounding towns and villages. They have a fabulous football academy at their disposal and put it to very good use when it comes to reaching out to the community.
One thing that sets Ross County apart from their Highland rivals Inverness is their initiative run in the holidays called Train Like a Pro. It gives approximately 50 young players an exciting insight in to a normal day at the club for their heroes.
Train Like a Pro runs in the school holidays over three days in the Easter and October holidays but over the course of the week in the summer. Not only is this beneficial for the children but also for parents. It normally runs from 9am - 6pm which is perfect for childcare as they can get dropped off first thing in the morning and picked up on the way home from work knowing their kids are in the capable hands of Ross County youth coaches.
At Train Like a Pro, youngsters receive six hours of football based activity instructed by the excellent coaches at the club. This includes skills and drills to improve passing and small sided games. The scheme incorporates other sports too, with "FootGolf" and football rounders. Also included are quizzes with the coaches which can be used as a little break.
Included in the package of Train Like a Pro are meals, hoping to save parents some money. Of course all meals provided are nice and healthy with plenty fruit and vegetables being provided.
Train Like a Pro is one of many community based activities Ross County hold at their state of the art Highland Football Academy. It shows what wonderful facilities the club has available to them, evidenced by the SPFL Development side’s place at the top of the table. And, further down the ladder, Ross County are seeing off local rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle at most age groups as well as competing internationally with success.
Youth players are also sniffing around the first team with the likes of Greg Morrison and Tony Dingwall being handed first team caps in recent seasons which shows that the Staggies have a fantastic youth set up here in the Highlands.