Coaching vet’s visit really helped locals

Cayman football had a significant visitor from England to help improve local coaching standards last week.

Robin Russell who was appointed by the English FA to the role of Football Development Consultant with the Cayman Islands Football Association was here for a four day visit.

Russell has been working closely with CIFA over the past year and he came to present three successful coaches with their documents for the ‘C’ License Course and 11 for ‘B’ License Course.

They participated in the first on-line FA Coaches Course made possible by CIFA in collaboration with the English FA last year under the expert instructions of Russell.

In addition to the handing out of these licenses, Russell assessed the first sets of participants in this new coaching programme.

Over the past year they completed on-line tasks supplemented by weekly conference calls with Russell.

He conducted two workshop/question and answer seminars, focusing on ‘Education in Sports’.

Russell’s final appearance before his departure last Thursday was a meeting with the Governor, The Minister of Sports and Education and various members of the CIFA Executive Committee to discuss a range of topics, including future coaching initiatives, how to make the coaching certificate self-sustaining and the establishment of the first Cayman Islands Coaches Association.

The Cayman Islands Football Association FA ‘C’ Coaching License course made its debut on September 1, 2008.

The course costing $50 targeted coaches of local amateurs, teachers, parents, and players who wish to consider coaching and students as well.

Russell has immaculate credentials. He worked for the English FA from 1978 to 2005 when he left to establish Sports Path International Limited – the world’s leading provider of sports e-learning.

He was also responsible for the launch of the FA Coaches Association and the UEFA Pro License Course.

The new License and Coaches Association was the latest in a long line of initiatives being established by CIFA with the aim of improving the facilities and the development of football the national sport.

Russell said: ‘I have to thank the Cayman Islands FA for going along with this course. This has been productive. It’s interesting to see how countries develop further than just formal face to face coaching.

‘I’m not suggesting that on-line coaching is a panacea and all education should follow, but it is a means which can help the development of your country.

‘We’ll continue to have a monthly audio discussion, so if anyone wants to get involved they should get in touch with CIFA for internet details.’

Russell is impressed with the football set up in Cayman. He added: ‘There are a lot more pluses than negatives. There’s a very good infrastructure for such a small island and a great network with other associations. It’s an extremely well run organisation.’

Jeffrey Webb, president of CIFA, said: ‘We’ve worked for 10 or 12 years closely with the English FA and we requested that they helped us in our coaching development.

‘The English FA has a tremendous coaching programme and we felt, what a better gift and tool to give our own coaches. The funding for all the education programme comes from the English FA.

‘I think this is the first time in the history of football here there has been this kind of collaboration. We’ve worked significantly with Geoffrey Thompson, the English FA chairman, and have lots more programmes planned.’

One of the coaches who received a coaching certificate was Carlos Vargas of Tigers. He is a player/coach.

‘This course was very beneficial in changing your views to coaching,’ he said.

‘I used to be a coach, on the field barking orders, but it doesn’t matter how much you know, it’s how you present it to the kids, getting them motivated and doing what you want them to do.

‘It keeps you more open minded on what your kids have to say, you respect their views more.’