After a relaxing day off on Wednesday, Thursday brought with it our first coaching session as we headed to a primary school about 45 minutes away to put on a coaching clinic with the aim of securing longer-term work with the school, for whom this was a first dealing with SSI. On arrival we met with our fellow Coaches; Sunday, the head of Coaching at SSI Jakarta (and ex-Cameroon international) and Reza who, as well as being the longest-serving coach at the centre (despite only being 26), runs the under-6 team.

As we were dealing with over 200 kids we split up into pairs, Reza and I taking grades 1-3 and Robbie and Sunday working with 3-6. Despite obviously being a reasonably well-off place the school had no real facilities for football and so Reza and I took our session on a pretty small playground at the back of the facility, after Reza led the warm up we split our group up further as he took the two youngest grades and I was left with 40 odd grade 3 pupils on half a playground. It immediately became apparent when trying to gather the kids into groups to count them that, for all their enthusiasm, listening was definitely not one of their strong points, a fact that was also noted by the by now quite large crowd of parents and teachers watching the session who then managed to produce a microphoneout of somewhere for me to coach with! Definitely a first!

Voice magnified to epic proportions I was soon able to sort them into seven groups of about 6 and started off with some basic fun races with the ball, first of all passing it over their head and under their legs, followed by side to side and finally rolling the ball backwards through the legs of all their teammates which served to excite the kids even more than they already were! With 20 minutes left of the hour-long session I decided I should probably actually do some football and used the same groups to do some basic dribbling work, first of all running in straight lines before weaving through cones and a quick game of keeping the ball up with your back, all of course accompanied by races. Despite only working with them for a short time the majority of the kids displayed a marked improvement after I told them what parts of foot I wanted them to dribble with and, most importantly, to slow down!!! Happy with my session I finished my debrief, named my players of the day and handed out SSI flyers and premier league mugs with Reza before attempting to leave, failing to dodge the crowd of parents wanting pictures with their kids which held us up for about 15 minutes before we jumped into Reza’s car and headed to ISCI (International Sports Centre Indonesia), the home of SSI.

As the session at the school didn’t allow us enough time to get to ISCI by four, the start of their afternoon sessions, we were just there to familiarise ourselves with the facilities, which are absolutely fantastic and meet a few other coaches before Reza and Irfan took us to two other malls; Poins Square, essentially a massive jumble sale and haven for pirate DVDs and cheap football boots and Pondok Indah (maybe) which was far more upmarket and possessed a brilliant food hall where we had (two) dinner(s).

On Friday we didn’t have work until the afternoon so it was after a well-appreciated lie-in that Nislam, the other of the two SSI drivers, came to pick us up to take us to Global Jaya school where we had our session. A (I imagine) pretty exclusive private school, the facilities were amazing; with a swimming pool and large sports hall accompanying two pristine football pitches. Once there we met with two more SSI coaches, George- Tanzania’s most capped player and Phillip- an-ex Liberian international who played with (ex-world player of year) George Weah and it mates with ex-gooner Christopher Wreh! Again we split into pairs with Robbie and George taking the u-11s and Phillip and I working with the u-12s.After Phillip’s warm-up I took a shooting session which had four groups (two at each end of the pitch) dribbling to shoot into the opposite goal, focusing on striking the ball with their laces and shooting across the goal before adding a lay-off element and finally a ‘transition of play’ in which the shooter would immediately become a defender. I was really happy with the way the session went and the ability and attitude of the kids; although it seems that poor listening skills may be quite a common trait amongst kids out here! Another really nice aspect of the session was that the kids English was perfect, if very American, which meant I encountered none of the communication difficulties we had in our early sessions in India. After heading home for a quick wash we were soon off out again, this time to ISCI for a welcome dinner for ourselves and the new head coach of all SSI centres Simon McMenemy. As we sat next to him at the dinner table our new boss told us some stories about his career up until this point, after starting at various community departments in roles not too dissimilar from ours he moved on to working for Nike where he got to meet some of the world’s most famous players including Ronaldinho (who beat him in a game of keepy-uppies), Fabregas (who nutmegged him) and Denilson (who obviously didn’t). Following this he moved into management, working at non-league level in England before managing the Phillipines international team and an Indonesian Premier League team where he signed Marcus Bent! We were also introduced to a number of the other coaches including Amir, who played professionally in Iran, Simon, ex-cameroonian international and SSI’s advisor and FIFA agent Jules Onana who played at the World Cup for Cameroon with Roger Milla! Working with coaches of this calibre and with this kind of experience is an unbelievable learning opportunity and one I fully intend to make the most of!

Saturday and Sunday saw us take two more morning sessions, one at Pancoran, another of SSI’s centres where I worked with Reza again with the under-6s(!!), taking a fun dribbling session featuring sharks, one of the most popular games in India, and Sunday’s one at ISCI, working on basics with the u-6s before the rest of the time was dedicated to friendly matches designed to assess the other age groups.

Saturday also saw another all-day session at Chitos (watching 21 Jump Street for the second time in four days) before heading to De Hooi, a European Bar to watch the Arsenal game and sample enough Bintangs to make Robbie believe a 1am KFC bargain bucket was a good idea!

Monday is our day of rest, a name that I took very literally, waking up at near on 4pm before we headed out (you know where) for some food and to watch one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. As I’ve already filled up my entertainment review section of today’s blog I won’t go into too much detail but I implore you all to go and watch ‘The Cold of Light Of Day’ starring Bruce Willis (for about 10 minutes), a film which entire plot sees the main character chasing people and objects before running away on encountering them.

Tommorow we’re off to another school for a meeting with the headteacher (whom Nina, our boss, called Robbie earlier to tell him was ‘very serious’, because of this she told him to tell me to make sure I ‘didn’t make any jokes!’) before more coaching and our Indonesian debut for Reza and De Hooi’s team on Wednesday, can’t wait



1 Comment

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One response to “Coaching

  1. Dave Fry

    Great blog, looks like u have some very enthusiastic players perhaps that’s what’s affecting their listening skills. I sometimes have the same problem with some of my wards they talk when they should be listening but I can’t say it’s due to enthusiasm on their part!! Look forward to ur further adventures. Ps the beer sounds expensive Tom would be gutted!

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