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European football coaching “streaks ahead of England”

10 March 2012

David Sheepshanks, Chairman of the English Football Association (FA)’s National Football Centre at St. George’s Park, told delegates at the Global Sports Forum 2012 that coaching techniques on the European continent have outstripped those in England.

“England is the only major European country which hasn’t had a national centre,” he said during Creating the champions of tomorrow, the closing session. Sheepshanks’ St. George’s Park centre, having been first discussed as a concept in England 30 years ago, is scheduled to open its doors this summer and is intended to introduce a fresh coaching and teaching philosophy to the English game.

“We realised we needed to invest in coaching as we’d been overtaken by the tremendous steps taken in countries such as Spain. We decided to start from the position where every player is a genius and different, but it is the coach that as a defining influence on that player.

“We as a game have invested lots of money in wages, stadia and academies but not proportionally in coaching. So we’ve really made this [St. George’s Park], after a lot of consultation and observation of how it is done in Europe, a centre that will work for England where we invest in coaching and raise the competence of coaching as a profession.

“We know that when our children go to school, it is a good teacher that makes a child interested, and the effect of a bad teacher is the opposite. It’s the same in football.”

The session was moderated by Kevin Roberts, Editorial Director at SportBusiness Group, and also featured Carles Folguera (Director of La Masia, FC Barcelona’s youth academy that opened on October 20, 2011) and Anna Tarrés (Head Coach of the Spanish synchronised swimming team).

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