Five days into the OFC B Licence Coaching course, Cook Islands U-17 women’s assistant coach Tehiri Elikana is looking forward to taking his new knowledge home to improve the quality of coaching in the Cook Islands.
“For me it’s not so much about getting the certificate, it’s more about the knowledge I can get from the B Licence,” he said.
“Whether myself and the other Cook Islands coach, Anthony Samuela, get our B Licence or not, it’s about the journey and knowledge we receive from being here, so we can go back and implement it and inspire our players to be the best,” he added.
The transition from the OFC C Licence has been a big step up for Elikana as it progresses deeper into analysing players’ needs.
“I remember the C Licence was just a small improvement from what I learnt in the youth courses,” he said.
“The B Licence is more specific and goes more in-depth about what you want to get out of your players and meeting your player’s needs,” he added.
“I coach men’s club football as well as the U-17 Cook Islands women’s team, and comparing the needs of club level players to national team players is something they’ve highlighted in the B Licence over the past five days.
“All players have unique needs that we as coaches need to help them with.”
Elikana started coaching at only 14, but it was not until his first Grassroots Coaching Course that he felt he could really make an impact on players’ development and follow a career in coaching.
“My first coaching course was a grassroots course in 2011, which was when I first learnt about creating pathways for players,” he said.
“After the course, I thought back on my early coaching days and it came to me that I wasn’t really coaching my players, I was more of a facilitator. I didn’t inspire them to be better players,” he added.
“After completing my youth D1 and D2 courses, I remember taking a training session and seeing one or two players click about what I wanted them to get out of the session.
“That’s when I decided this is what I’m going to do now. It drove me to learn more.”
His experience with the U-17 women under head coach Tuka Tisam, who is currently completing the OFC A Licence, has also inspired Elikana to continue his coaching career.
“In the Cook Islands there’s only one B Licence certified coach and that’s Tuka Tisam”, he said.
“I was the assistant coach for the U-17 women’s team that played in the OFC U-17 Women’s Championship in January. The head coach was Tuka and he’s always been a mentor for me, I always go back to him to ask questions on how I can improve myself as a coach.”
Elikana will return to the Cook Islands to share his experience and learning with his football community at the conclusion of the B Licence Coaching Course on Sunday 2 October.