Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Overhaul methods now and Northern Ireland's future can be bright: Wareing

Tim Wareing encourages the next generation

Tim Wareing is one of those football coaches who forensically studies the game.

He looks to the methods of his hero Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as Jose Mourinho, for inspiration.

He'll read books and write books, watch DVDs and make DVDs on the subject.

He'll travel all around Europe to see what the latest coaching techniques are in an attempt to get ahead of the game and recently forged a relationship with Portuguese outfit Braga which could see gifted kids in his Academy from here benefit from what is going on over there.Wareing says there is much to learn from our continental cousins which could benefit the Northern Ireland team in years to come.

"The Northern Ireland team is in transition at the moment," he says.

"We don't have enough depth. The amount of players going across the water to become professionals is decreasing and the amount of players returning from clubs is increasing.

"That's why we need to concentrate on grass roots football and youth levels now to give ourselves a chance in the future.

"We need the grass roots side of football here run more professionally and to get the best qualified people working with the best kids and increase the contact time with those kids.

"Even Irish League teams don't have the most qualified coaches working with the most important age group, which for me would be between the ages of six and 12.

"In England now there are kids getting four sessions a week which is something countries in Europe have been doing for years.

"It's no fluke that the Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Germans are so technically gifted and are so good and it's no secret that if kids increase their contact time with the ball and contact time with proper qualified coaches then they will improve.

"If you compare the contact times between us and other countries in Europe it is enlightening.

"Ajax has one of the best studies – they bring their kids in aged 10 and work constantly with them and up to the age of 18 they will have had 8,000 to 9,000 contact training sessions with their coaches.

"Here, our best kids are lucky if they manage to get two hours per week!"

Wareing has carried out his own research, and insists things need to change.

He says: "I've compared how many touches kids get in various training sessions.

"I took one of those clickers you see air stewardesses using on flights and the results were amazing.

"In a typical training session of one of the national county IFA programmes in a two hour period this one boy, who we did the study with, touched the ball 224 times.

"We compared this to a one hour training session with his own club and he touched it 307 times. In a session in our Soccer School he touched it 699 times which I think underlines the importance and value of specific training.

"For me in this country, too many coaches have not evolved. Kids will turn up for training and nothing new has been planned.

"Too often I have seen warm-ups consist of running around the pitch with coaches shouting 'left hand down.... right hand down' and 'get up and head the ball'.

"Then the kids will go into a line drill which is a common thing where the coach will be at the top facing a long line of kids.

"The kid will pass the ball to the coach who lays it off and then the kid has a shot, so if there are 10 kids in that line for every circuit the kid completes he will get two touches and the coach will get 10!

"Surely the more touches kids can get on the ball the better.

"We need to look across to Europe to see what they are doing because they are leading the way."

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