So..that prediction was a bit off eh? I’ve always been a terrible optimist.. Anyway i’m not here to add to the already extensive coverage of brave English defeat and so pledge to go through this entire post without using the terms ‘Brave’ , ‘Spirit, ‘Pride’ or ‘Complete lack of possession and inability to find a player in a white shirt’.

Anyway, after sleeping off the ‘celebratory Bintangs’  mentioned in closing the last post for most of Saturday, last Sunday saw us taking the early shift at ISCI as Reza, who would normally take it, was coaching the u-16 advanced group in a tournament. Thus, after shaking off a bad mood brought about by being woken at what is, for us, the ungodly hour of 7am Robbie and I started the day working with the u-6 ‘advanced’ group whilst Lebry took their soccer school counterparts. After a very basic and surprisingly popular dribbling warm-up in which we had the kids dribbling to various coloured squares we progressed the session by having them dribble through various cone gates before adding a shot at the end against a suitably dodgy keeper (played by myself) to ensure a high level of success! After the familiar chaos of u-6 matches we moved onto our next session of the day, with the under-12 progressive group (although not before Sunday asked if we could take three, instead of the normal two sessions). Our next two sessions with the under-12 progressive and later the under-14 soccer school groups both followed the same template,   a warm up followed by an old Holloway School favourite in ‘bits and pieces to work on different types of finishing before moving on to the ever-popular over the bar shooting game and matches. Despite this uniformity in structure the sessions themselves were noticeably different, with the second much more fun to coach than the first, partly due to a more manageable group size but also the way the kids engaged with the material (and possibly as the goals in the u-14 session were positioned just in front of the road, leading to inevitable running-over of a ball after one particularly wayward effort, giving me a perfect prop to illustrate what happens if you don’t get over the ball!)

After the weekend’s exertions the first two days of our midweek coaching largely followed the same pattern as the week before as we largely assisted other coaches in the running of their sessions, with the major highlight coming from stepping in to pull the strings in the senior groups’ training match on Tuesday. Thursday , however, saw our return to leading sessions as Robbie and I worked on defending with a mixed u-12 and u-10 progressive group. After a number of games without the ball which served the twin purpose of working on basic body position and getting the kids laughing we worked on jockeying and showing attackers away from the goal before moving onto one-on-one situations with a real goal and ending with matches in which there was a marked reduction in diving in as the kids demonstrated the techniques we had worked on perfectly, topping off a good session! 

As well as our SSI commitments, which were rounded off this weekend by match days at both Pancoran and ISCI. This week Robbie, Reza and I also took two sessions for Gareth’s company at a school in Bintaro, a neighbourhood on the southern outskirts of Jakarta on Wednesday morning. Despite being happy to be asked, on arrival it was difficult not to feel the we’d been stitched up as we arrived, still  feeling the effects of staying up for the England game, only to find out our first session would be with the ‘toddlers group’ which ranged in age from one and a half to three years old! Completely out of ideas Robbie sensibly let Reza lead the session which was essentially composed of 50 minutes of tiny children doing whatever they wanted in the vicinity of some footballs. After our wake up call the second session was with the much more manageable primary school group with whom we were able to do more drills in a far more familiar style of session! We have two more sessions scheduled this week with groups who we are assured with have at least mastered the art of walking! 

Other than that the last week or so has largely been dominated by our playing commitments with ISCI’s football team, our games on Sunday and Thursday evenings definitely being some of the highlights of our week. Since the 5-1 mentioned in the last previous post we have won our last three games 5-4, 5-2 and 8-0, victories that have coincided with startling run of goalscoring form for the Arsenal boys, with Robbie bagging seven in his last three games and, much more startlingly, me scoring three in the last two, including my first brace since I was about 12 in the 8-0!

We are now entering our last month in Indonesia and, after a relatively quiet June, are looking forward to a July that promises much; a trip to Bandung this weekend followed by Bali, Borneo with my parents and last but by no means least a much-anticipated return to beautiful blighty!


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