I must start this entry with an apology, I have spent the last few days feeling guilty as whilst I was recovering I managed to give Ali my cold which meant he spent the end of this week in the same way I spent the beginning! This has meant we haven’t done any English lessons this week- giving the kids even more time to perfect their teapot dance!- but we have taken a number of coaching sessions.
On Thursday morning Mr Kaliya and I took the Moti Bagh open group in a turns session in which I tried to focus on how the turns could be used in a match scenario, under pressure. This was the most distinctly average session in India yet, the kids did ok but as a coach I definitely could’ve done with a bit more motivation- definitely space for improvement! After this session, and a nap I headed out to the Priya Complex; the home of our local cinema, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and, according to the internet, a number of bars which have as yet eluded us! On this occasion however I wasnt going for anything half as exciting as a beer or a Maharaja Mac, no, I was there for socks as after two and half weeks with no laundry I’m pretty sure you can smell the ones I brought with me in England (or Kenya, Indonesia etc etc) anyway 800 rupees and a celebratory chocolate milkshake later im now the proud owner of some puma bad boys (I bet you’re really glad you logged onto the blog now, you can go now if you want, I won’t be offended, there must be something to do on Facebook).
After that wildly successful trip, where I also managed to negotiate the rickshaw guy down to 30 rupees for the journey home after his opening gambit of 50, like I was some tourist pssh…. I had another session at IYSA this time taking the u-14s open group along with the special group as Ali was still not up to coaching. I decided to do another first touch session in which the kids had to use their touch to turn a defender before passing the ball to an unmarked player, I was really impressed with the way the majority of kids grasped this and executed the drill; particularly when it was progressed so they had to use their chest. After this drill I ended the session with a couple of weight of pass games we had made up whilst training at Rosemary Gardens which the kids seemed to enjoy, all in all a good session. Following the session I took part in a piece of IYSA tradition which I have previously failed to inform you about; the weekly coaches v u16s match. Ali and I had taken part in this game the week before in which he scored in a close 2-1 win for the coaches, achieved despite the extremely lacklustre performance from the Englishman in centre midfield! After that performance I went into this week’s game knowing I would have to up my game to ensure I didn’t lose all credibility as a coach in front of the watching under 14s/11s, luckily after a much improved performance I helped the coaches to a comprehensive 4-2 win over the kids after two goals from Anuj and despite a wondergoal from one of the u16s.
Saturday morning saw another Moti Bagh session, this time I was accompanied by Arup to work with the Junior and Senior groups. This session was the first in which I tried a pass and move drill learnt on the Youth Module course in which participants play in pairs against one defender attempting to move the ball to a number of zones within the playing area, focusing on creating angles. The game went really well and is one I’m definitely going to use again. In terms of attitude the senior group at Moti Bagh are brilliant with each member really wanting to get better, always listening and willing to take on board advice, they are an absolute pleasure to work with.
By Saturday afternoon Ali was recovered enough to coach and he took the majority of the under -11 group whilst I worked with the u-14 special group and a few of the most advanced under-11s. As a progression from the weight of pass work done in the session held on Friday I decided to work on the information you can give to a receiving player with a pass, across their body and firm if you want them to turn and softer to their nearest foot if you want them to hold it. In terms of the group taking on board ideas this was one of my favourite sessions so far as by the end even the youngest kids were displaying a real understanding of the topic and improvement in their passes. This session was followed by another coaches v u16 game and this time Ali passed a late fitness test to take his place in goal, what followed was our most comfortable win so far; easing to a cheeky 4-0! This game banished any lingering doubts we had about how we were supposed to take these games, to begin with Ali and I were unsure about the protocol in regards to tackling etc, we were emphatically enlightened when Maniche (one of the coaches, another ex-Delhi player) absolutely hammered Saugat (one of our first week tour guides) in a 50/50 on the half way line, setting the tone for a game in which the shackles were very much off!
Buzzing after good sessions and a good win after training Ali and I decided to venture out to see what the nightlife in Vasant Vihar had to offer as previous evening trips out had only led us to its various fast food joints! Upon arriving at the Priya complex I suggested a cheeky one in the Man United Bar, a suggestion treated with the disgust it deserved by Ali who then led us in search of another bar. After a quick scout around we managed to find a restaurant/bar offering six kingfishers for 1000 rupees (about 12 quid) along with a panoramic view over the deserted square, waterless fountain and a few indian guys urinating in public. After finishing here we set off to another bar we had seen earlier, after being welcomed in and shown to what was apparently our designated standing spot we were given two Coronas and a bill which informed us they were a fiver each. Despite the pricier drinks at this place we were compensated with front row seats to the human theatre that is an Indian Night club; a guy being carried out off his face, umpteen shisha pipes, a possible hooker and lashings of indescribable dancing all happening to the soundtrack of what can only be described as Banghra-Dance fusion music which I was massively keen on. After the possibly prostitute left we decided it was probably time for us to do the same and, after a McFlurry, went to bed looking forward to Sunday.
P.S. Here are some of the promised pictures.