Photo Credit: FFS Media

Nestled in the vibrant football community of Apia, Samoa, a five-day coaching workshop was conducted, providing a chance to improve and empower coaches.

Led by local coach educators Nadia Malifa, Fiu Faaae Tafea, and Sila Lelevaga, alongside the guidance of OFC Player Development Officer Phillip Parker and Football Federation Samoa (FFS) Technical Director Ravinesh Kumar.

The grassroots coaching course is designed to support and enhance coaching grassroots football, with a focus on the fundamental framework provided by OFC. It aimed not only to improve the technical understanding and awareness of coaches but also to instil the virtues of football within young and aspiring players.

In addition to raising awareness of player needs, the course also focused on ensuring coaches had a greater understanding of their role and responsibilities. Along with the impact it can have on the development of the grassroots football player far into the future as a healthy citizen.

“I was really excited across the first two days of the grassroots coaching course to introduce a range of new ball mastery techniques and 1v1 moves to the student coaches, and different ways to teach these techniques to the young players,” said Parker.

The coaches were challenged with these new techniques but quickly grasped the principles of why these are significant for early player development in the formative ages bracket of 8-12 years old.

“When we introduce techniques very early around how to master the ball, we find that also helps to improve physical coordination and physical literacy, particularly in younger players. All of these elements are really important at the foundation level of teaching grassroots football players,” Parker added.

The FFS community development officers used their newfound skills in practical sessions, before passing them onto young footballers attending the school holiday programme and fun football festival.

“Aligning the Player Development Workshop with the Holiday Program was a great success. Coaches learned the best and correct way to deliver the program under the guidance of Mr. Parker,” said Kumar.

“He did a tremendous job in developing the new generation of coaches and setting up a bench mark in football development in Samoa.”

The objective to empower Samoan communities to elevate the standard of grassroots activities for children aged 6-12, while fostering a deeper understanding of coaching processes and embracing cutting-edge teaching methods to nurture young players’ holistic development.