PFA - 7th March 2024 - Coaching Craft Workshop

PFA - 7th March 2024 - Coaching Craft Workshop

March 6

Last month, coaches and coach educators from across the country gathered at St George’s Park for the year’s first Coaching Craft Workshop – a three-day learning event designed to challenge and develop the next generation of diverse coaching talent.

The event was attended by participants of the Professional Player to Coach Scheme (PPCS), a joint initiative designed by the PFA, Premier League and EFL to increase the number of women and ethnically diverse players transitioning into full-time coaching roles across the professional game. The scheme is open to all PFA members at any age or stage in their careers.

Attendees also joined the Coaching Craft Workshop from the Premier League’s own Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme (CIDS), which is open to both PFA and non-PFA members.

The PPCS pairs coaches with a 23-month intensive placement at an EFL club, within either an academy or first team environment. Each coach works through an individualised learning and development programme, which touches on a number of football functions including physical performance, recruitment, analysis, administration and coaching across different age groups.

Coaching Craft Workshops are designed to convene scheme participants alongside their peers and coach educators for an intensive three-day theory and practical masterclass, providing coaches with the opportunity to develop their skills in training and match conditions.

Mark Jules, Coach Educator at the PFA said: 

“The Coaching Craft Workshop is all about taking the participants outside of their comfort zone and into an environment where they can hone their coaching skills, think outside the box and design new sessions,” says PFA Coach Educator, Mark Jules.

“Hopefully, with the support of their peers and coach facilitators they can return to their placement clubs with something new that they’ve learnt.”

The PPCS has grown year-on-year since its launch in 2020/21, Jules explains: “All participants from our initial cohort are now in full-time employment. That just shows how successful the scheme has been at embedding former players within those coaching environments.”

“We’re focused on producing the best coaches in the country. Working closely with the Premier League and EFL, our Coaching Craft Workshops are just one way we work towards that goal.”

Osei Sankofa, Senior Coaching Support Manager at the Premier League, said, “It’s really important that we try to increase the diversity of the coaching workforce because, for a long time, people have not had access to the opportunities that their talent has deserved.

“There is so much that goes into events like these. We have coach educators in attendance, lots of planning time in classrooms, and we invite clubs to come in for matches and tournaments.

“There is a lot of activity and plenty of cognitive ability being tested. We hope that coaches benefit from these workshops, taking what they have learned and implementing this when they go back to their clubs.”

Nathan Lamey is a PPCS participant on placement with Port Vale FC. The former Wolves and Cambridge United player has credited the PPCS with enabling his transition to coaching after a long time away from the game.

“It’s perfect for me because I’ve been out of the game so long. I finished playing at 28 and came back to the game at 42,” he explains.

“I always wanted to be in football, but sometimes life goes different ways. Returning now I feel I have a more rounded skillset. It’s great to go back into professional football with different ‘eyes’.

“I’m placed at Port Vale FC and the club has been incredible. They’ve given me access to everything within the academy, like analysis and coaching through all the of the age groups. I’ve had some outstanding experiences and it’s really helped my development.

“Coaching Craft experiences are also so valuable – it’s all part of building that ‘toolbox’ of coaching skills.”

Toumani Diagouraga made over 500 appearances in the EFL, representing clubs such as Brentford, Leeds United and Morecambe. Now on placement with Championship side Middlesbrough, he’s relishing the Coaching Craft Workshop experiences.

“When you play, you don’t necessarily realise how much is required of your coaches. So being here at the Coaching Craft among coach educators and PFA and Premier League staff is fantastic.

“Joining the PPCS scheme was a no-brainer for me. I love football, I love the game, so - after playing for 19 years - I know I have knowledge to share with younger players coming through.”

To discover more about the PFA, Premier League and EFL’s PPCS scheme, click here.