Castle in the Spotlight

5. High Coaching Standards…

The club reinforces a high standard of coaching throughout, displayed by the fact that each of the coaches within the setup is well-qualified in their role.

  An Irish FA Grassroots Introduction to Coaching Certificate is the minimum requirement, something which is on offer to players and volunteers coming through the club, though this is certainly not the limit. Over thirty coaches at Castle Juniors have achieved the Irish FA National Coaching Certificate (formerly Level 1); five coaches have a UEFA ‘C’ Diploma; three a UEFA ‘B’ Diploma; two a UEFA ‘A’ Diploma and one a UEFA Pro Licence, one of the most sought-after and respected achievements one can gain at this level.

  Developing the community is right at the heart of the ethos of Castle Juniors, and these awards display the sheer lengths the club will go to so to mentor younger members and encourage the benefits of these opportunities to them. A dedicated team led by director of football Kyle Spiers, the training sessions do entail informing the players when chances to broaden their horizons, especially through coaching which subsequently opens up opportunities to shadow senior coaches and advance to this position in time.

  The club’s partnership with Coerver has been invaluable in allowing the club to improve its standard of homegrown coaching, with ever-diverse schemes and practices in place. The donations of our players means that money can be reinvested in new, high-quality equipment, and this is useful for practical schemes, though with the close proximity to the leisure centre there are rooms for written and oral sessions too. This teaches improvements in every aspect of a footballer’s game – their technical side, their physical side, their mental side, and how each of these characteristics can be developed.

  The seasoned coaches have taken these methods learned as part of the partnership, passing down through their students which means coaches get better and better. This includes learning from mistakes, helping those in learning to remain mentally resilient and reflect on what they can do better the next time around, implementing new strategies for new situations and growing their acumen even if it does not always work out.

  Furthermore, the relationship with the IFA has opened up avenues in that regard, being Castle Juniors’ first port of call and offering support which has helped advance the Northern Irish game for young players across. With a competitive league environment, which is supported by the IFA, these skills learned from coaching classes can be implemented in game situations, not only improving the team’s on-pitch performance but in honing a sense of understanding among the players why certain decisions were taken.

  Castle Juniors believes that young coaches can also identify well with fellow young people within the club and in the community. It makes the club harmonious, hospitable and happy, bolstering membership and ensuring more people in the local area can benefit from the services offered.

  Sport is a hub of every village, town and city in the land, and football clubs play a key role in refining the environment around us. They are capable of enhancing the people, establishing relationships and connecting society, helping them becoming better as players and as human beings and helping hone their leadership and communication skills in a way they can enjoy. What’s more, they even earn certification as a result, a qualification that adds something to their work and education portfolio and proves that they have multiple marketable and desirable skills.

  Castle Juniors go to every effort to offer this, to offer a pathway to set someone up for life, and coaching is one of the primary methods in which they promote themselves.

By Lewis Bennett