Feedback on the Beta

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Recently we gave out a whole 10 versions of a partially written PDF based on the wonderful subject of coaching – looking for your thoughts on what could be done to make it even more wonderful. Click on the following for some input.

Waving to Football

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Another routine that worked out quite nicely for me, highly flexible also.

Staring off set yourself a shuttle running layout – please comment if you are unaware of what this is. Second layout is a pool of footballs

Split your group into 2 teams one with bibs, start with having one team attack vs defence. In order to keep the intensity of the routine up ensure the pool of footballs is accessed immediately once the active ball leaves the pitch. When you run out of footballs get the 2 teams to go and start the shuttle running, afterwards switch the attacking team to defending and vice versa – once completed do another set of shuttle runs.

The ideal outcome to this is to develop an intensity to the playing, along with improving a level of fitness.

Historic Writing

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More source stuff, written all the way back when Lennon left.

Neil Lennon has moved, looking for something new and fresh following a hugely successful four years at the helm of celtic, a club very close to his heart.

The impression given by his behaviour was that the board were not willing to match his ambition to progress and add to the current celtic setup, and with his stock rising to the levels where he was linked with some premiership post’s it was time for him to move on.

It’s true within scottish football times have changed, no longer does any part of the old firm profile emanate the same excitement and pull. However, the debate continues to rage on who would take the currently vacant post.

Roy Keane was the first to establish contact, rumours suggest that celtic were unable to lure the Irishman to parkhead (with the pointless sidenote of him deciding to move to edinburgh if he did take it on)

Others linked to the opportunity is former Manchester United gaffer David Moyes, his reputation ruined after a destructive time at old trafford, it would prove to be an ideal opportunity for him to rebuild his shattered profile. Others suggested would be the celtic legend Henrik Larsson, which the fans would approve of, although his management style is currently unproven. Former West Brom manager Steve Clarke is the next man to be added to the hat, out of employment ever since his frankly ridiculous release, the saltcoats man possesses a vase source of experience and his well known no nonsense approach would keep the celtic squad in line. As tradition dictates the rumour mill produces its usual items, dan petrescu, willie mcstay, paul clement (of Real Madrid) even jackie mcnamara has been suggested.

Ultimately Parkhead will be full of interest to find out who will take over, but the days of the headline news are over.

Promotional Note

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Every coach in scotland wants to make a difference, to develop and improve our academy efforts into something more in depth and elaborate than your typical and straightforward colin hendry.

Scottish football has suffered an historic and problematic trait, physical application has been the highest priority, whilst technical ability taken the backseat, typical example can been seen in ricky sbragia now infamous quote about the likes of young jack harper being a “luxury player”

Another example was a Cup game of Rangers Vs Dundee United, it is well known that the tangerines are focused now on developing rather that buying, their shape was set out with a 4-2-3-1 in mind, the 3 were the ruthless and pacey young forwards hungry for goals and success, Rangers had something similar in mind but all of which were out on loan to a variety of higher league clubs.

The perfect example of lack of trust or faith in development or involvement of younger players.

More recently we have seen some movement in the world of youth development, Ryan Gauld, Andy Robertson and young Harper are a few that have managed to come through the ranks and achieve something more than the obscurities of keeping the bench warm.

Away from writing for YFS i enjoy writing my own opinions about coaching, I have had my own experience and developed a decent understanding on how to express my own coaching routines without much confusion. I would like to invite you all to do the same.

Please visit

Adapted for other work.

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NL Youth Coaching Group


Chris McLaughlin – Taken and adaptedfrom Gillen Reid


Twitter @gillenreid



5 Basic Steps to become a Coach.





I would like to make some introductions, my name is Gillen and i’m currently working as a coach in the world of scottish football, I have developed a great deal of experience and would like to share some of it with you. The idea behind this is simply to express how I got the stage I am and see if someone else could benefit from some of the information if they do wish to become a coach. Keeping in mind, all this information that i share with you in this is simply my own opinion, if you choose to follow this information thats great, if you choose not to well that’s okay as well.



Step 1


Build yourself a foundation.


The Scottish Football Association provide a well-known education programme aimed to do just that. The first one to obtain is called Development Activities 1.1, this is a one day event where the regional coach will provide a practical demonstration of a number of routines throughout the day, where you will be the people taking part. At the end of the day you will be supplied with a DVD with all routines that you enjoyed on the day. The routines and drills expressed are aimed at youth development and adults (previously the pathways were entirely separate but after the influence of performance director, Mark Wotte, this was changed only just recently)


Another badge to be part of your foundation Early Touches 1.1, this is starter badge for the Childrens pathway, again the same details apply a regional coordinator with be the coach and will express


The dates & costs of this day out can be can be found on go to the coach & volunteer section, then coach education and the web site provides a detailed PDF file offering options for the pathways you wish to go.

Step 2




The next step is gathering experience which is a key aspect of your development, this is where you get the opportunity to establish your own approach as the coaching qualifications simply give you a foundation to work from, study the finer details of the game, and learn how to deal with individuals and groups of players in your own way.


Personally I worked on a freelance basis. I visited a variety of clubs and expressed my own thoughts and feelings towards how routines and drills worked and in what way the players would learn from it. I benefited from it as it allowed me to fine tune my own approach in terms of how to explain practices and routines, in my opinion when there are no questions on how a drill works after you have explained it, you have achieved your objective in terms of your development.




Step 3


New Ideas


Still is a fundamental problem that British sport(football) suffers from, there is still a collective problem where a coaching team, the recurrence of long term and established members are closed minded in terms of new ideas, claims made that routines work because they are tried and trust so evolution of football should be ignored entirely. Remain open to new ideas, a key example that I always make a reference to is Raymond Verheijen (Twitter @raymondverhieje) -a pioneer of fitness development based on the principle of short and sharp, his work reached a level where Dick Advocaat brought him in to work with his South Korean side, paid through his own earnings. The fitness work is designed to benefit fitness without encouraging the fatigue factor that occurs on a regular basis with older players.



Step 4




Sadly a one of the biggest flaws of the sports industry is sometimes it is not about what you know, ratherWHO you know. Part of my progress was I used as many social networking options as possible (facebook, twitter, e-mail, LinkedIn, etc) to network with clubs and people. Meeting people who know high profile individuals can prove to be an excellent part of your coaching profile. Remember to be careful what you post on social media though!




Step 5




Be proud of your work, and work your hardest to learn new and fresh ideas. Scottish sport is developing to shake off the stereotypical arrogant coach, who swaggers in claiming to know everything there is to know about coaching and will not be undermined at any point. Don’t be that person. Remain open-minded.


I would like to share this with you, and I hope it proves to be an interesting read. I don’t consider it a finished product and would be keen for other people to make their own contribution to make it a more complete and helpful guide. If you would like to offer your own opinion, or even offer advice on how it could make better option this would be wonderful, please get in touch via

Thanks for reading!





Quality Control

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This is an important moment for football.

First of all I want to make a point, I don’t have an ego in terms of what I do. I do what I do because I love it, if the footballers that listen learn something from what I do then that’s even better, just means I’m doing what I love and people are benefiting from that. A few evenings ago I came across a training session, I like to observe as an important part of coaching is a continuation of learning, to perhaps steal some ideas and adapt them for myself. I was excited to see a coach kitted out in SFA level all weather jacket, tracksuit and the likes, my expectations were high so the notepad was out.

What followed was a shock.

18 players present he prepared two very short channels of cones for a warm up, this caused a back log of players including very little room for any player to perform the relevant stretches. subsequently the coach setup 3 massive rondo boxes, having far too much room allowed the players to relax and have time to move the ball without the pressure of a pressing player. He quietly approached each one the the boxes quietly presumably to explain the routine. During this time over 70% of the players were doing that routine without observation or a coordinated process, afterwards he merged the 3 into two rondos. Then afterwards he merges the 2 into one giant rondo box with two players pressing in the middle. This leaves numerous players non active in a typical Scottish weather environment and at risk of injury. Eventually the miserable session came to an end and he put the players together to start a game, he specifically set out each team having the players that “made an effort” in one team and the other team consisted of a group deemed lazy during the previous routines, and that was it. The session was done.

There was no point where the coach stopped the game to make a coaching point, there was no voice controlling and coordinating what was going on. Simply the players were left to their own devices.

Now going back to what I said originally, I don’t actively claim that I am better than anyone else, I make a point of remaining grounded in terms of my attitude, but in this case I was shocked as to the lack of enthusiasm and care put into the session. Of course I can’t name or shame, this would lack professionalism and put a bad light on a perfectly good club.

Morton Prospects

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We are seeing more and more prospects emerge from the fully reconstructed academies of Scotland, former full timer Derek Anderson leads the way as Head of Youth Academy, tasked with identifying suitable individuals to be added to the ever expanding ranks. In terms of qualified persons Anderson secured himself a UEFA “A” Licence and has playing experience with Hibs and Kilmarnock.

As part of the academies redevelopment Director Warren Hawke, who has a degree in business management, will handle all things finance related to allow all energy to be spent on the important subject of football.

The 26 staff members are there now to support this development, so the key in terms of pointing these players in the right direction is dedication. Work behind the scenes has resulted in the full development of a player pathway, which meets the SFA demanded criteria.

The fruits of their labour consist of Ben Armour, who the next best thing to come out of Cappielow, following his signing for the club September 2016 from Queens Park he made his first appearance for the current development team the subsequent April time against Dumfermline, the 19 year old striker recently signed a 6 months extension to his existing deal with Greenock Morton to turn professional and keep him an active member until January 2018. Armour he known for his instinctive finishing and being in the right place at the right time, such attributes present a nightmare for the most talented of defenders.

Another prospect Jamie Mcgowan signed on full time along with striker Armour, the 20 year old paisley born shot stopper impressed during his handful of appearances for the first team earning himself a full time spot. McGowan was rewarded with an additional year on top of his existing deal, breaking into the first team 2016 against Spartans after the first team goalkeeper suffering a nasty case of concussion.

First team manager was questioned on the keeping the players onboard

“In pre-season they’ll come with me and be with my group, as will Jai Quitongo, and then it’s really up to them after that in terms of how far they push themselves and how much they want it.”

So the clubs recent reshaping have offered up some talented individuals, so the prospects of a new generation of players coming through the newly established pathway created is an exciting one.

Breathing Space

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Small note,

Delighted to announce that the blog has linked up with the recently advertised Breathing Space which is a charity actively supporting those that perhaps are not feeling so great in their own mind. Breathing space offers an opportunity to speak to someone, have a conversation about how you are feeling at that time and maybe finding a way to deal with that at the time, or to simply get something off your chest.

A small image has been added showing a contact number 🙂

Remember readers, you are never alone.

The Gaming Industry

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A small post this evening,

Twitter can be a powerful tool, it has fueled the development of the wonderful blog that I write to you from today – I recommend getting yourself online before things go south and it becomes the next Bebo…

Anyway, on to things a little more serious. I discovered a recent and quite beautifully designed blog by @EllexMay who expressed herself through said blog and links it up through the aforementioned twitter handle . A big percentage of this is based on gaming and what she invests her time in enjoying. Which in itself is an important subject of course.

The most important part is that she expresses herself in terms of health with some advice on how to manage and deal with this. The challenge of sharing this information with the net can be difficult and its something to be admired. So we wanted to ensure support was there if needed.

Please head over to and have a look over some of the blogs that have taken place.

This fine work will of course be added to the ever expanding links section.

Enjoy 🙂

Q&A With Michael

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Good afternoon,

Another exciting QA today, without further ado –

For our lovely audience would you be kind enough to introduce yourself?

Sure, I’m Michael McDougall, first team coach at Morton women

A coach you say? Tell us more?

Yeah so after spending a few years at Glasgow City I moved onto Morton link back up with Wills (Laura Williamson). We play in SWFL Division 2 West.

So whats going on at the club at the moment?

Morton is a club that’s really going places, the structure is now complete with a pathway from small kids right up to a senior team. This is the first year we’ve had a senior team at the club on the women’s and girls side and we’re sitting top of the league halfway through the season which is fantastic and is testament to the level of work our players put in for us.

Do you have any success stories from the club?

The vast majority of the squad is made up of players who have come all the way through the age groups at Morton which I think is a massive success (not starting to name them because I’ll forget someone haha), we’ve added in a few older/more experienced players which has helped everyone kick on and develop other parts of their game so I think that while we obviously want to continue as we have been and win the league, the year has already been a success in my opinion because of what those players have achieved in terms of personal and team growth.

How about yourself? What was it that inspired you to become a coach?

I was fortunate enough to have played with some very talented players and be coached by some great coaches. Unfortunately a lot of serious knee injuries held me back and so when I finally accepted it was time to stop kidding myself on I just wanted to coach, it kept me involved in football then it turned out I was half decent at it and I developed a real passion for helping to develop young footballers.

Do you have any plans for the future?

My plans are to continue my own learning, there is always things a coach can learn regardless of how many courses and qualifications they do it’s the training pitch that matters, nobody is perfect and nobody has all this answers because football is always changing. From a team point of view I am really happy where I am, I wasn’t enjoying my football for a while but I have a fantastic partnership with Wills and the opportunity to work with her again was too good to turn down, and thanks to the players willingness to learn and work rate I’ve found my passion for coaching again.

What would your piece of advice for any young player coming through the ranks?

Where do I start! The 1.5-2 hours a couple of nights isn’t where you training begins and ends, you have to continually work on all aspects of your game in your own time as well, always looking to improve. You have to make sacrifices, if you want to be the best player you can possibly be you need to be willing to give up some things for the end result.

What are your thoughts on the national teams performance in the Euros in terms of how the youth culture has benefited the team?

I’ve admittedly been quite vocal about the performances, but I think in general terms the country being there will have a massive effect on what our youths will want to be. They’ll see Caroline Weir, Fiona Brown, Erin Cuthbert, Chloe Arthur and players of that ilk and hopefully be more determined to work and to become the next line of young players that are coming into these teams. The result/outcomes were not what anyone wants to see but that’s something that can be changed over time, but who does not want to represent their country on the international stage, playing the sport we love?

Big thanks to Michael for taking some time to chat to me today, hopefully some of his wisdom will prove to be beneficial.