“WILL IMPLEMENT LEARNINGS IN DISTRICTS” – J&K FOOTBALL COACHES ENTHUSED AFTER RFYS-AIFC UPSKILLING WORKSHOP
With on-ground activities stalled due to a lockdown in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases, Football coaches from across Jammu & Kashmir were able to continue their engagement with the game in a virtual workshop earlier this week, designed to enhance their knowledge base and skills. The three-day workshop, the first of its kind for coaches from Jammu & Kashmir, was organised by Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) in collaboration with the Association of Indian Football Coaches (AIFC). It provided 32 coaches from educational institutes in Srinagar, Jammu, Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag Kathua, Shopia, Budgam and Baramula, a unique opportunity to interact with domain experts on different aspects of their role.
Over the course of two hour sessions, the coaches were provided insight into the code of conduct expected from them towards players, parents, referees and fellow coaches. Among other aspects the coaches were able to get insight on was on how to create an impression through appropriate behaviour & effective communication; imparting life skills to their wards such as discipline, respect & personal control; the intricacies of player scouting; planning training sessions with clear objectives & discipline while creating a positive environment. The challenges of protecting children under their watch from physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial exploitation were also elaborated upon.
“In the four years I have spent working as a team manager and assistant coach, this was honestly the first such workshop I attended,” said Sameer Gowhar from the Sports Council Football Academy in Anantnag. “There were a lot of things I wasn’t aware of before that I learned through the experiences other coaches shared. Our focus is on talent identification among children in the 8-10 year age group, which was the primary reason behind starting our football school. We also focus on our relationships with their parents so we’re able to guide the youth in the right direction.”
“The workshop was extremely useful for coaches such as me, who are keen to stay updated with the latest developments in the game,” added Rajinder Singh Badhwal, Head Coach, Jammu & Kashmir Sports Council Football Academy in Kathua. “I look forward to more such initiatives and am hopeful that we can implement our learnings towards development of the game in our respective districts.”
The sessions were conducted by two highly respected figures in Indian football, former international Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Sajid Dar, the former coach of the Indian national youth team as well as the national women’s team, giving coaches who operate at grassroots level a rare chance to pick their minds. Wadoo, who played for India from 2005 to 2011, has a glittering CV that includes titles such as Federation Cup, IFA Shield and Nehru Cup. He was also a member of the Chennaiyin FC squad that won the ISL trophy in 2015 and is currently serving as assistant coach of Hyderabad FC. Dar, who represented Jammu & Kashmir in the Santosh Trophy, is an AIFF C License Coach Educator and an AFC A License holder.
“There are some good coaches around who are already doing a great job but we need to reach out to places where we don’t have any qualified coaches,” explained Dar “That is why we invited physical education teachers and former footballers also to be part of this workshop, because we strongly believe that they can do a great job in developing a football culture from an early age.”
Jammu & Kashmir boasts of a robust footballing eco-system, with a four division structure comprising over 100 clubs that participate in leagues at district level. I-League club Real Kashmir FC and second division I-League club Lonestar Kashmir FC have spawned the dreams of kids across the region to pursue a professional career. The J&K Sports council has launched 22 centres where more than 6000 kids have been trained. One of those academies, State Football Academy, has been accredited with three stars from AIFF and two of its players are now part of the U-15 and U-16 Indian National Team. Teams from these academies feature in junior youth leagues in the country alongside junior teams from Real Kashmir FC and Lonestar Kashmir FC.
The workshop was conducted in line with RFYS’ objective to improve the football eco-system around the country by empowering coaches and Physical Education teachers with better quality education to enable them to improve the quality of training given to the youth. With initiatives such as this in J&K, RFYS aims to fuel the unbridled enthusiasm and passion that the region has for football.