Inside the Box with Alan Bennett - Getting that coaching badge is no mean feat
Last week I got my level 2 coaching badge - this is the second step on the pyramid of the coaching world.
It started in pre-season when a team-mate was frustrated by the options available to players to get on with their coaching badges.
Most courses are run by the players' union, the PFA, but they tend to be during the football season, which is of no use to players.
So having a quick word around the dressing room I found a group of lads who are senior in their years and thinking to themselves: "I better do something for my future."
The majority of younger players think their career will last forever and planning for the future is like asking them:
"Do they remember the World Cup in USA ’94?"
"Eh? I was born in 1995 Benno!"
Memories: USA 94 is not remember by all
So we senior pros got together and approached the PFA about setting up a level 2 course at our training ground.
We got the green light, dates were organised, car schools were upset and an instructor was on his way.
To do the practical coaching sessions, we needed bodies and so the development squad were forced into volunteering to help, very kind of them.
As well as the practical side, there were classroom sessions, where there were lots of questions, the main one being: "What time do you think we will be finished by?"
We had child protection and first aid modules - is it usual that the first aid dummy gets a cuddle and a tongue in the mouth in pretend kissing during resuscitation?
We took practical coaching sessions ourselves, while also being verbally abused by our peers.
Perhaps that is good practice for what a real coach must endure!
We filled in our log books and called each other teacher's pet for going ahead with tasks, spread rumours of homework that needed doing.
Lovely: Everyone enjoys fish n chips
A nutritional module was more a reminiscence about the good ol' days when fish and chips and a beer were standard post match recovery.
A lot of head scratching and Googling went on for the module about the laws of the game, in a game where we don’t care about the technicalities we just want to argue with the referee.
The eight of us got there in the end and with my final assessment passed, I enjoyed the process.
I’m on the road to the next level.