OUR APPROACH TO COACHING
What is so unique about the Bristol Central method?
by Lewis Gibbons, Head of Football at Bristol Central Youth since 2018
FUN, CHALLENGING & INTUITIVE FOOTBALL EDUCATION
This is the tag line you will constantly hear when you are told about Bristol Central.
All of our coaches are FA qualified - which is absolutely standard in the game of grass-roots. However, many of our coaches are in fact UEFA B qualified or work in academy football along-side their voluntary roles here at the club. Unusually, many of our coaches aren't parents of players - and some are - which creates a fantastic dynamic around the club. Our coaches love working here, taking talent from young and watching players realise this talent over time; just check the Alumni page for the receipts of this.
Our coaches are coached themselves. We hold regular "Continued Professional Development" events which build on the skills they already know. We have mapped out our playing philosophy - not a complicated Pep Guardiola possession-based master plan - but a realistic, simple yet effective philosophy. Most teams know what they will expect when they face a Bristol Central Youth side; there will be possession, flair, creativity, power and competitive action. The local academies know this too. This philosophy is revisited at each CPD. Coaches are afforded the chance to evaluate their previous term's coaching and player progress, helping them develop themselves and ultimately the players.
Continue reading below for some more examples of how we do things.
FEATURES OF THE BRISTOL CENTRAL MODEL
Begin with the end-game objective. What do we want to be better at? We scale this back into game scenarios and build our practice around the objective, focusing on specific principles of the game, helping our players build the tactical, technical, physical, psychological and social skills necessary to develop.
We want players to take what they have been coached in training into the match. Our internal staff resource library helps coaches to implement the club's playing philosophy in a structure that helps players compose themselves to play the way they have been taught in training, at the appropriate intensity to compete.
The professional game is modernising every day. This doesn't mean that grass-roots amateur clubs need to be left behind in the dark. We are building partnerships with other specialists which we believe improve our player's abilities. For example, we have recently partnered with a Futsal Club to provide technical expertise to our young players which are essential for playing football - just like the Brazilians and the Spanish - at no extra cost to our players!
We feel as though our club provides a sense of belonging - a sense of community. Many of our U16's, U18's and U21's players have been with the club since they were U8's. Many of our coaches have been involved with the club for over 10 years. Siblings pass through the club, as do players who become parents, and so on. The sense of togetherness at this club is truly what makes its delivery of football so fun and so special.