Sixteen coaches from across New Zealand have assembled in Auckland this week to complete Part 3 of the OFC/NZF A Licence course.
Part 1 saw coaches connect in January this year, before Part 2 involved the candidates completing several distance learning tasks in their own football environment, including match analysis, implementing a football philosophy and influencing others.
The OFC/NZF A Licence is the pinnacle of OFC’s coach education pathway and provides coaches with an opportunity to develop both on and off the pitch with the aim of helping coaches to be the best versions of themselves.
The course encourages coaches to have a deeper understanding of themselves, players and support staff to deliver high quality performances for modern day football.
The seven-day course is being facilitated by Owain Prosser, OFC’s Head of Education and High Performance, and features a range of practical coaching demonstrations from the New Zealand national team and Wellington Phoenix Academy coaches.
There have been multiple guest speakers, including modules on dealing with the media, sports psychology and how to perform under pressure.
New Zealand Football Technical Director Andy Boyens said he was impressed with the enthusiasm of the coaches.
“We’ve got a really good group of coaches that are operating within New Zealand at the moment,” he said.
“It’s great to see them get together and learn off each other.”
Boyens said an important aspect of coaching development in New Zealand was giving them the freedom to build on their own style while working within a shared wider outlook on the game.
“The A Licence course specifically is about people and coaches understanding what their beliefs are and what’s important to them in creating their own style but at the same time, in doing that, we do share beliefs in football and how we’d like it to be played in New Zealand and coached.”
“But we are very much about the coaches’ personal journey on their development and how they are creating how they want to operate as a coach.”
Tony Readings, the Technical Consultant for Oceania for FIFA, presented a range of different modules during the course.
Having previously worked as head coach of the Football Ferns and the New Zealand men’s U-20 team, he said these coaching courses were pivotal in his career development.
Readings was pleased to see the ongoing development of coaching standards throughout football in New Zealand.
“I think for all coaches it’s just getting as many coaching hours under your belt as you can because they always talk about – to become the best player, you need to train a lot. But to be the best coach you can be, you’ve got to be able to coach a lot as well,” he said.
“So giving coaches the opportunity to coach as often as possible, I think, is really important and surrounding those coaches with the right support.”
Former All White Aaron Clapham, who recently retired from playing competitive football, is one of the notable coaches attending the course.
“It’s been great. It’s been a really enjoyable learning environment,” he said.
“It’s been really challenging, but it’s been a good environment to develop and improve as a coach.”
“Being able to interact with people that are operating in different parts of the country, but maybe in similar environments, you can pick little things out from that while being able to pick the brains of some great coach educators as well. There’s some very high-level people delivering [modules] that we’ve had throughout this, so that’s been great.”