As part of our build-up to The FA's Women's Football Weekend, we have been shining a light on different areas of the women's game within Greater Manchester. Today, we speak with Oldham Athletic Girls and Womens' FC Callum Irving about how he became a Wildcats coach and the benefits of the programme!
The programme is hosted by local clubs and organisations who are the experienced deliverers of football within their community. The sessions provide opportunities for participants to meet lots of other girls who enjoy playing football, developing their skills and being active. Each FA Wildcats centre is run by qualified coaches and their aim is to provide a fun, active environment, whether participants have kicked a ball before, or are heading to the session for their first taste of the game.
Callum’s Coaching Experience
On a Monday evening, I took part in an FA Wildcats training workshop in preparation for starting Oldham Athletic Girls and Womens’ FC Wildcats Centre. The aim of this session was to prepare the next cohort of Wildcats centre coaches for what they can expect and how to make their centres as strong as possible. This included reviewing coaching session plans, guidance on delivering inclusive practices for varying ability levels and how to get the most out the session for the girls involved. After this training night, I felt more prepared for our Wildcats centre to begin.
The session was hosted by four FA coach mentors who had great tips and advice for me and the other coaches in the room. Being in a room with so many coaches with a wide range of experience coaching girls’ football was a huge help, as we could share personal experiences which also gave us more ideas about how we can best prepare and ensure our Wildcats session is engaging.
Our first task from the coach mentors was for everyone in the room to write down what experience they have coaching this age range of girls and what we would like to have learnt by the end of the night. As the evening progressed, we had lots of engaging group discussions with the FA coach mentors about the difference in coaching boys and girls and what we can do to make sure girls enjoy coming to our Wildcats’ sessions, including those who are brand new to football.
We then ran through some example sessions and had time to ask questions. The training event helped me and my club prepare for our Wildcats’ centre and we now feel we have a lot of ideas on how to make our sessions as fun and engaging as possible for all.
SSE Wildcats is a great initiative designed by the FA to encourage young girls into football and sport. The basis of the programme is to create an environment which is appealing and safe for girls to give football a go.
I would recommend to any club that they apply to host a Wildcats centre and to engage with the programme, as it will shape the future for young girls to participate in the game we all love.
becoming an FA wildcats centre
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