SFA Outline Coaching Vision for the Future at Development Day at Ayr United

The SFA South West Regional Coach Development day took place at Ayr United Football Cub's Somerset Park stadium on Sunday 31st July with over 100 participants attending to be briefed on new training techniques and the SFA’s vision of the future.

by Marc Roseblade
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SFA Share Their Vision on South West Regions Coach Development Day
Coaches from all forms of teams from around the South West Region were invited to take part as updates for the SFA were shared and explained by the SFA development officers on hand.


South West Regional Manager Ritchie Wilson updated the coaches on the regional plans that are being prepared for the future as the current plan nears it's end after nearly five years.

In the past year alone, over 1000 coaches have passed through the SFA coaching course’s and 61 teams have achieved the Quality Mark status with the SFA opening two School’s of Football in East Ayrshire and are hopeful for a third in South Ayrshire to be up and running in the near future.

Scotland United, A 2020 Vision

“The Scottish FA leads the national game with integrity and innovation to breed a culture of Performance, Unity & Trust”

“Good is the Enemy of Great”

The SFA’s new vision for the future will be prepared and up and running by the year 2015 with targets being set for all levels of football including the national teams of all ages.

The 2020 vision has set out it’s bookmarks for the future including:

Strong Quality Growth
  • More registered players
  • Sustainable participation in our game
  • One national plan for the recreational game
  • More attractive modern game for all
  • More talented young players
Perform and Win
  • Scotland winning
  • Higher standards
  • Future team growth
  • Home of great coaches
  • Elite referees

    Developing 1v1 Skills

The attendees were then shown new coaching skills by Aberdeen FC coach Jim Crawford with the help of 12 willing participants from the group of coaches being subjected to what at first appeared to be basic skills training. Easier on paper than in practice as the coaches found out but once learned they were soon side stepping, foot spinning, dragging and turning with relative ease.

Jim Crawford said:”To be able to coach the children and players properly, it makes sense that the coaches involved know exactly how to do what they are trying to coach the kids involved.”

Carrying on he said:”You have to be patient with the players, some will pick up certain skills faster than others but it’s about progression;Not against each other but against yourself. As long as the player him or her self shows regular improvement, that’s what you should be looking for.”

With the drills and 1v1 skills that Jim had shown, most coaches were picking up new ideas that they were willing to put into practice at the first instance withing their own team.
 Billy Stark

Scotland under 21 team manager was next up to share his wisdom giving us an insight into the youth setup when the national sides gather for matches.

The ex Celtic, St Mirren and Scotland player coaches and manages all the lower age groups from the 15′s through to 21′s and explained that the maximum amount of time he has with any age group would be 12 days due to club commitments.

“It used to be that when the senior squad played, the under 21′s played their respective match against the same country but we now have tournaments in their own right. Budgets restrict anything longer than 12 day get togethers but when tournaments are held now we generally have three games in a six day period so can be quite tough on the players.” Billy said.

Carrying on he spoke about the get togethers:”It’s hard sometimes to get the players together for any length of time due to club matches and if we have a tournament where we are to play three matches in six days, it doesn’t give us much time to work with the players beforehand. It also makes it difficult to see which players will work well together as the players we have normally play against each other, not together, and all have different training and coaching regimes with their individual clubs.”

Billy Stark Practical Skills

Ayr United Football Academy under 17′s team were called upon for the skills training session watched over and instructed by the National coach which saw the boys involved getting some valuable information and advice from a respected member of the coaching fraternity.

With the session being focused on building from the back and penetrating the opposition through to goal, Billy showed his aptitude for the role he currently holds by encouraging the young players whenever he could, building their confidence with every turn and pass completed.

Setting up in 3 teams of six initially, he worked them through a series of passing sequences, emphasising the need to build and incorporate supporting runs and penetrating passes.

Billy was keen to pass on his years of wisdom to the players on the pitch and the watching coaches giving constant bullet points for coaches to hopefully use in their own training sessions.
  • Use all of the space on the pitch
  • Look for different passes other than the ordinary
  • Support other team members
  • Think of the next pass and be accurate
  • Use your imagination when moving ie.overlaps
They then moved onto a 9v9 team setup within a designated area on the field with the aim of stating from the back and possession ball work rather than goal scoring to encourage good movement throughout before moving onto a conditioned game but still within the designated area of the field. The aim of this was again building from the goalkeeper forward to opposition goal this time but still with the emphasis of ball control, possession, movement and penetration.


A very informative and worthwhile exercise for all concerned in attendance at Somerset Park with lots of news skills to learn and pass on to their respective teams. A lot of work goes into these development days by the SFA development team officers with lots of practical and informative knowledge being passed on with the aim of making Scottish Football progress in the right direction in the future.

Thanks to AUFA and SFA South West Development coach Shaun Ferrie for helping to arrange this.

Marc Roseblade is a Contributor for Bleacher Report as well as Not Just Scottish Football and youth development reporter for Ayr United Football Academy. All quotes are obtained first-hand unless otherwise stated.