Saturday, August 10 – 1968
The merits and demerits of soccer coaching at the amateur level have become an increasing topic of discussion during the recent seasons.
And from reports received as the 1968-69 season commences it is apparent that the many and varied benefits at all levels of the game have been accepted and the number of local managers, coaches and players who have attended F.A. coaching courses during the past close season has far outstripped the previous attendances.
For this happy state of affairs the local Coaching Association under the guidance of Tom Saunders and Roy Rees with expert co-operation from the F.A.’s North West top coach Tony Waiters is deserving of the highest praise as without their enthusiasm and expertise the present healthy state would not exist.
Regularly throughout last season and during the close season, local courses have been held and in consequence the number of local clubs who now possess somebody qualified in charge of this vital aspect of their progress has never been higher.
The famous Lilleshall F.A. Coaching Centre is just one of the many venues at which local coaches have been attending courses in quest of their full F.A. qualifications, and numerous other courses have been held to prepare coaches for the Preliminary Certificate.
The F.A. Amateur Cup final appearance two seasons ago of Skelmersdale United firmly placed Merseyside amateur soccer on the soccer map and in consequence players from “Skem”, Marine and other local teams have received long awaited recognition from the F.A. selectors.
The impetus gained from this official attention has been reflected throughout the area and it is fair to suggest that at the advent of the 1968-69 season, hopes are running side by side with far better preparation than ever before.
The old haphazard approach to a season has been conspicuous by its absence as trainers and coaches have been able to organise their teams with a much better sense of direction, mainly because of the valuable guidance received on the excellent coaching courses.
Soccer at the top level has been brought into the homes through the television medium, and although not the best of guides to study many aspects of the game it has served to show the thousands of amateurs just what the demands of the game at the senior level really are.
Basic skills are moulded into an overall team pattern and having watched teams who had the benefit of a coach as against those who have not been so fortunate, the difference is most marked.
Utilisation of strengths and the ability to spot opponents’ weaknesses are but two of the many angles which can be mastered with guidance at any level and it is most heartening to see that right down to the junior boys’ club leagues the benefits of expert coaching are being felt.
In conjunction with the L.B.A., coaches holding the F.A. Preliminary qualification are commencing in September at a Woolton Venue on Sundays to coach teams selected by the L.B.A. in specially organised courses with emphasis on teamwork as against individual functional play.
This will be invaluable, both from the coaches and the boys’ viewpoints, as they will come right up against the snags which so often at this level stultify progress.
Merseyside is proud of its position as the top soccer centre in Britain and these courses are ensuring that the hard won prestige is built upon a good foundation which will more than stand the test of time.
Provided that local corporations can provide improved facilities for the many eager youngsters entering on the threshold of a soccer career the future looks brighter than at any previous time and the ensuing weeks should prove that point emphatically.
(Liverpool Echo, 10-08-1968)