In this blog post, Dr Dan Kilvington, Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett reflects on success of the recent Coach Education Masterclass event, which aimed to help create, inspire and encourage new coaches to step forward, in order to create opportunities for young girls and boys in the Bradford region.

The Coach Education Masterclass aimed to inspire the next generation of football coaches. It welcomed current and aspiring coaches to Bradford City’s home ground, Valley Parade, to listen and learn about the football coaching opportunities that exist within Bradford. The attendees also had the opportunity to observe three qualified and experienced coaches in action as they delivered their coaching masterclass to over 30 enthusiastic children and young people. In short, the event allowed guests to learn about the fantastic opportunities that exist within Bradford and understand how they too can get involved, it allowed them to pick up new coaching tips and techniques, and pinpointed avenues for further coaching development. Although the event targeted under-represented groups such as black and Asian coaches as well as women, it was an inclusive event and open to all to attend.

After a brief introduction, the event kicked off by asking all attendees to note down their coaching aspirations and highlight the ways in which they can be supported when fulfilling these ambitions. The coaches handed in the forms and the data will be analysed by the events’ key partners such as the West Riding County FA and the Zesh Rehman Foundation while other supporters of the event, including Sporting Equals, who were not present on the day, will also offer their help and advice. The contact details of coaches were collected and a document, based on the coaches feedback, will be created and supplied to all coaches who attended. This document will provide coaches with advice and support, e.g. include contact details of coaching organisations within the region, highlight funding opportunities, put forward coach mentors, etc.

The Masterclass was proud to be in partnership with a number of excellent organisations such as Bangla Bantams, Bradford City FC Community Foundation, the Football Supporters Federation, Kick it Out, One in a Million, Shapla FC, the West Riding County FA, and the Zesh Rehman Foundation. Personnel from each organisation conducted focus groups with all of the participants. Rookie and current coaches were informed about each organisation, learnt how to get involved, and had the opportunity to ask questions and receive information and advice.

Focus groups in full swing

Former Bradford City striker, Ian Ormondroyd, now head of Bradford City FC Community Foundation was also in attendance. Equipped with a number of volunteers and staff at the foundation, he informed guests about the partnership, which provides an array of activities for boys and girls of all abilities including coaching sessions in school and a disability club which runs every Friday and Sunday evening.

Ian Ormondroyd (Bradford City FC Community Foundation)

One In A Million founded in 2005 is a Bradford based charity that engages with disadvantaged children and young people, through sports, arts and enterprise. Using formal and informal education to break cycles of deprivation over their young lives, valuing and celebrating their uniqueness, letting them know they are ‘one in a million’. It now works with over a 1000 children and young people. Samir Butt, who was also one of the trio of coaching experts during the practical session, volunteers and coaches with One in a Million and talked participants through the organisation and how they can get involved.

Samir Butt (One in a Million)

Shapla FC and Bangla Bantams founder, Humayun Islam, talked guests through how to create new clubs, how to secure funding, how to build successful networks, how to market opportunities, etc. Humayun, who has launched an array of successful and popular community initiatives since 2014, is heralded as a role model by many within Bradford. His enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of sport across the region meant he was a valuable addition to the Coach Education Masterclass.

Humayun Islam (Shapla FC & Bangla Bantams)

The West Riding County Football Association (WRCFA) is the governing body of football in the county, and therefore the Coach Education Masterclass was thrilled to have them in support. The WRCFA concentrate heavily on the development of the local game and maintain a strong emphasis on the evolution of players, coaches, volunteers and referees. Andrew Shuttleworth and Lee Ashforth conducted the focus groups and highlighted invaluable information for the current and aspiring coaches.

Discussing opportunities with the WRCFA

The Zesh Rehman Foundation (ZRF) have put together a range of football based educational programmes to help tackle social issues. They use the power of sport as a platform to address and aid community cohesion and integration, while also providing opportunities for young people and adults to get involved in coaching. Heraa Noushahi, volunteer with the ZRF, and one of the coaching experts, talked through the ZRF with participants:

Herra Noushahi (ZRF)

Following the focus groups, the participants moved to the nearby BEAP Community Partnership Sports Centre to observe the three experienced coaches in action. Players of all ages and abilities turned out as Lee Ashforth (first team manager at Harrogate Railway Athletic FC), Samir Butt (coach at Bradford City Girls Juniors FC), and Heraa Noushahi (coach at the Zesh Rehman Foundation) delivered the masterclass to the engaged children and young people. The onlooking coaches watched as the masterclass trio conducted a range of drills and exercises with the players.

Coaches observing the Masterclass

As Lee, Samir and Heraa brought the event to a close, the observing coaches then had the opportunity to ask questions regarding the drills and exercises. Although the coaches gained invaluable insight by observing the professional coaches in action, the young players also had an invaluable experience as they had the opportunity to work with new coaches, participate in new drills and compete in mini competitions to win prizes which were supplied by Bradford City FC.

Prizes: A signed Bradford City ball, an FA cup ball played with by Bradford City FC, and a limited edition Phil Parkinson ‘Dare to Dream’ book.

The Coach Education Masterclass is centred on helping attendees. It is focused on solutions and support rather than problems and issues. The event aims to promote positivity, rather than negativity. It calls for action and thus it aims to achieve real impact. All of the participants who attended the event had the opportunity to network with some of Bradford’s key personnel within the coaching scene. Put simply, the event makes visible coaching pathways. The masterclass also aims to inspire coaches as qualified, experienced and professional coaches can be observed in action. Moreover, thanks to the feedback supplied by the participants regarding ambitions and support, we are able to draw up a document and supply this to all of the coaches in order to help them achieve their coaching aspirations.

The Coach Education Masterclass attracted interest nationwide and a number of new organisations are keen to support the next masterclass. The ball is rolling and it is hoped that this event continues to gather momentum in the bid to keep #creatingcoaches.

All players and participants at the Masterclass