The country is in dire need of more adept coaches who can aid the development of football.

Although India is often called the sleeping giant of football, it is yet to wake up. There are many underlaying reasons for the poor performance in terms of developing football in the country. The lack of infrastructure, culture, focus on sports as a career, encouragement and education of football coaches have contributed to hinder the development of the game in India.

Speaking about the education of football coaches, it has been on the rise only recently after the turn of the century. Without the expertise of technically adept coaches, success of players become limited. One of the biggest reasons why India lags behind in terms of producing talented players can be found in the lack of structure of it.

The education of football coaches in India, like everywhere else in the world, is part of the structure that develops a young talented footballer into a full-fledged professional. The grassroots development is essential to increasing the standard of the game and the players. India’s focus towards developing grassroots football is growing, but it can grow even faster with a few tweaks.

The need for trained coaches

A coach works as a guide to players in all kinds of sports. They are essential in identifying the strong and weak points of a player and working on improving them. Coaches motivate the players to improve, encourage them to work on their weaknesses and help them hone their skills. 

If a player do not get expert coaching from a young age, they grow up lacking many basic and essential skills. However, work needs to be done to educate coaches on how to perform on these parameters. 

There are plenty of resources which can be put into effect to train coaches. The stakeholders of football in India must work in tandem with local and international organisations for the education of football coaches. Modules that align with international footballing standards, seminars and camps that focus on introducing coaches with new techniques will help their growth. 

Grassroots football and coaching education go hand-in-hand

It is true that one cannot move forward without the other. Investing time and resources into grassroots football is essential if one needs to improve the level of young players coming up. Grassroots football means making the sport accessible to children of all ages, backgrounds, physical condition and giving equal opportunities to them. It also works with budding athletes, introduces the sport to them and builds an interest so they can pursue it passionately.

The enforcers of grassroots programmes are the coaches who work with the kids. It is impossible to efficiently set up an academy and impart the knowledge without adept coaches. They need special training to handle kids and impart training while keeping the sessions enjoyable.

This is where the stakeholders of football in India must realize that education of coaches is as important as grassroots development. In order to uplift the standards of football in India, the country needs a new generation of coaches, who have the necessary skills. 

What needs to be done?

Coaching techniques in football is constantly growing and changing. New methods are taking over the old skills along with generational culture awareness is becoming essential. An upcoming coach needs to be aware of the type of media young players consume and how they base their principles.

More training modules are required to equip coaches with modern training methods. All India Football Federation (AIFF) recently brought about the AIFF E License Coaching  programme. It will serve as an introductory course into football coaching. The D License coaching certificate, which earlier worked as an introduction, will now be an advanced course. These courses must get cheaper and more accessible to remote parts of the country.

These are small steps which will promote football coaching as a lucrative career option for many. The authorities must encourage young individuals to take up coaching, as they do with refereeing courses. Constant contact with foreign trainers will also further amplify the skill set Indian coaches. All these methods of the education of coaches in India are instrumental in the betterment of the country’s football.

Role of Academies

India needs more football-centric academies like the Minerva Academy, Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools and TATA Football Academy. These institutions will provide an environment to the coaches where they can implement their knowledge. The experience of working with kids is essential in taking the next steps in coaching education.

This is where foreign clubs and Indian Super League franchises can help. Their investment in setting up local academies and improving the infrastructure goes a long way. They can also work with coaches and use their know-how in training them. An all-round effort will definitely provide India with more coaches who are well-versed and ensure a brighter future of the sport in the country.

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