CLUBS must always be favourable to parent and volunteer involvement, whilst at the same time subscribing to the critical influence that early junior and youth football experiences have on a player’s development. At Holland Park Hawks I think we are finding this balance.

Wherever possible, I will be discouraging parents coaching their own kids at the club in season 2019. I have all too often witnessed the effects of pressure upon the parent coach, and indeed the huge pressure on the player whose parent is the team coach.

It is intended that in 2019 the best (accredited) coaches at the the club be appointed to coach the younger age groups at the Hawks because it is at a young age that football habits are formed.

Regrettably, all too often young players, through no fault of their own, form bad habits in terms of technique.

In many cases the failure by coaches to detect incorrect technique results in the continual and eventually habitual application of certain actions.

By the time another coach identifies a particular flaw it is often too late.

Coaching session plans are a must, and whilst as Technical Director I prepare the annual training plans, I very much encourage club coaches to be creative and prepare their own session plans provided that they are in line with the clubs playing style and reflect the approaches to teaching, learning and assessment.

I do not want sessions to be simply become a book of drills and games for coaches to copy. Every session must have a purpose and align with the annual training program and the pre determined six week cycles because only then will any inconsistencies in the delivery of coaching standards be detected.

I aim to remove any guess work by coaching staff by working on methodology which in turn will raise the standards, performance and expectations in 2019.

Coaches must be permitted to express themselves and nurture individual players’ abilities when forming a team.

Teams at the club should reflect their coaches personalities, but within the club’s philosophy framework.

Strategic planning is already in place and is set for well beyond season 2019.

Entire seasons are often used as preparation for the season after by many professional clubs and that as has been the case this season at the Hawks and we are well on track to achieve objectives as set in our three year plan.

The three year plan engages all parents, coaches, players and administrators (Stakeholders) and will be reviewed at the end of this season.

It is through stakeholders that clubs will be able to convey the purpose and values of our club and whilst there is room for improvement I am confident that as a club we are heading in the right direction in this matter.

Planning for 2019 is well advanced and I am looking forward to the trials in October/November.