Last week in May, One month in!

Our week has been bookended by two sessions at Pancoran, Last Saturday Lobry and I took half the U-6 group each as Reza had gone to visit his Grandfather in Sumatra whilst Robbie took one of the older groups. Despite the statement I ended my last post with about u-6s being madness the group at Pancoran are a lot easier to deal with than their JIS counterparts which meant I was actually able to do something resembling a football coaching session with them, starting with the ever popular domes and dishes dribbling game before setting up a little dribbling obstacle course with a shot at the end which the kids always enjoy! This week Robbie and I were paired together to take the under-10 group with Coach George, after deciding to work on passing we split our session into the sections desired by the Arsenal Soccer School curriculum we worked with during the week (more on that later) so that George took the Warm-up, Robbie worked through  the basic techniques whilst I handled the ‘skill’ portion of the session. After a good warm-up Robbie led ‘coconut shy’, a passing drill which has the kids attempting to at first miss balls balanced on cones in front of them with various types of passes before ending with a competition where they try and hit them as many times as they can. After this it was my turn to lead the group for a game of ‘feed the animals’ a drill in which the kids are split up into three groups, ‘visitors’ on an outer circle who attempt to bypass the intercepting ‘zoo keepers’ in order to ‘feed’ the ‘animals’ who are situated in a central circle by passing them the ball. For the first time I had ever tried this drill I was really happy with the way it went, the kids fully committing to their respective roles with a range of animal calls echoing around the field (although most of that was Robbie), whilst also utilising the range of passes we worked on earlier in the session.

On Monday we were invited by Philip to spend our day off  sampling some traditional Liberian food at his house, an offer which we naturally accepted gladly. The only problem with our plan was that we had no idea where he lived as it is quite a distance away from us and so were totally reliant on the competence and honesty of our cab driver to get us there, two areas in which the driver we had was sadly lacking. After an hour in the taxi for a journey we were assured would take no more than 40 minutes we started to get suspicious, suspicions which manifested into certainty that we were, quite literally, being taken for a ride when the guy decided to go through a toll booth, drive about 300 metres down the road and turn back to go back through the toll on the other side of the road! Finally, two and a half hours after leaving home and just as I was forgetting what my life was like before the journey started we arrived at Philip’s place where he told the driver exactly where he could stick his 200,000 Rupiah charge. After some to-ing and fro-ing and a lot of big talk about calling the police the driver finally left 150,000 up before, if there is any substance in karma, driving into a tree. After all that excitement it was just about time for lunch, when we arrived at Philip’s we ‘helped’ (held the spoon to pose for pictures) him prepare traditional Liberian ‘Ground-Nut Soup’ which was served with Rice and was absolutely delicious. After lunch Philip showed us pictures of his family, who are currently in the Phillipines, and his playing career, before getting out his Liberian National Team shirt! Before coming to Indonesia I knew a grand total of 0 international footballers but after a month here it seems like basically everyone I meet was one! After a good day at Philip’s we apprehensively entered another taxi who, miraculously, took us where we wanted to go in a reasonable time for a fair price.

Other than that the past week was largely dominated by a coaching course run by Andrew Douglas, the head coach of Arsenal Soccer Schools. As i’m sure you guessed from the job title Andrew is a top coach and we were really lucky to get the chance to learn from him as he worked through sessions on the eight cornerstone topics championed by AFC Soccer Schools; Passing, Dribbling, Control, Heading, Volleying, Running With The Ball, Shooting and Turns, an experienced topped off by his announcement when we were taking notes that all participants would be receiving a new drill-book outlining all the sessions we worked through- something which, after a year of coaching, Robbie and I agreed is pretty much like Christmas!

On his final day in Indonesia Andrew put the coaches into the groups with each given a topic to coach in order to asses how much they had learnt during the week. Working as a pair, Robbie and I were given turns and asked to structure a 22 minute session featuring a warm-up, components working on technique and skill before finishing with a small-sided game related to the topic. After drawing up a blueprint we split the session up so that Robbie took a ‘traffic lights’ warm-up, where he would hold up coloured cones with a turn assigned to each before I worked on the technique of slightly more advanced turns through ‘zig-zag’ races, It was then back to Robbie to take the skill session in which we introduced ‘taggers’ to encourage the players to accelerate after turning before finishing with a game in which two team each had one goal at either end of the pitch to encourage them to turn and attack the other end if one goal was  blocked off. Despite overrunning slightly we were both really pleased with the way it went, and even more so when we received good feedback from the boss who described our session, despite coming after everyone else s,  as the funnest of the day! After  he had gone through the plus and negative points of everyone’s sessions all that was  left was to collect our certificates, pose for a few pictures with the boss and the local coaches before receiving our expenses for the month to top off a top week! (they later took a serious hit on a trip  to Kemang, as to be expected)

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