The FA Lidl Skills Programme

The FA Lidl Skills Programme has been in place since 2007, and has delivered football sessions to over 4 million players nationwide. Last year with a huge expansion program the IOM FA Skills team was created. With two Island based team members (Graeme Sears & Ben Qualtrough) and a UK based Team Leader the IOM Skills team have hit the ground running.

A key role of The FA Lidl Skills Programme on the Isle of Man is providing support to local coaches, whatever their background, experience or future ambitions.  We are very fortunate to have been able to take advantage of the unique structure on the Island and have an impact on a large number of individuals in a relatively short space of time.

From September to June we spent time working directly with coaches at Ayre United AFC, Corinthians FC, Douglas & District FC, Laxey AFC, Onchan FC, St Johns United FC & Union Mills FC.  Here we observed the coaches delivery, agreed on one or two areas for development and then spent the subsequent five-six weeks sharing practices, ideas and thoughts on this area.

Simultaneously, we attended the JFL's Development League sessions for players in November, December, January & March.  After getting feedback from coaches at the JFL AGM in September we put together a number of sessions to give the coaches some ideas about how to 'differentiate' within practices.  This means that the session is designed to cater for each individual child appropriately, regardless of whether they are considered a striving player who needs an additional challenge or one who is struggling and needs a less demanding problem to solve.

We also hosted an 'Introduction to the FA Youth Modules' evening at Peel Football Club, where coaches and teachers were invited to attend and gain an insight into the FA's age appropriate coaching courses and the philosophy that provides the foundations for The FA Lidl Skills Programme.

"Working with the Skills Coaches was a fantastic experience that has had a positive influence on how I coach young people" Andrew Gosnell, Douglas & District FC and North West Grassroots Coach of the Year.

What's Next?

We are now working directly with Ayre United AFC & Corinthians FC by providing them with weekly support over the summer period.

We will soon be meeting with the Junior Football League and to discuss how we can help the JFL development sessions held at Bemahague, whilst looking to enhance the relationship and quality of support we are able to provide.

In addition, we are designing a package for coaches that will give them a prolonged period of support from the FA Lidl Skills Programme, allow access to observe our weekly Skills Centre sessions and effectively develop an informal coaches association to enable people to share ideas, experiences & problems, known as our Community of Practice.

Be sure to check back here soon for further details of these upcoming opportunities!

Should you wish to arrange direct support for yourself or coaches at your club please contact either Graeme or Ben using the appropriate e-mail address below.

East & North based clubs – Graeme.Sears@TheFA.com

South & West based clubs - Ben.Qualtrough@TheFA.com

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Non-League Finals Day at Wembley Stadium