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Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Thursday, 24 March 2011

School Report 2011: Encouraging the next generation

Girls trained by Charlton player

By Jessica Creighton
Charlton Athletic ladies player

I have played football in some shape or form since I was five years old, but, amazingly, I have never had much experience in coaching.

So, far from being Hope Powell, I still hoped I could encourage these girls' participation in a sport that I had grown up with and learned so much from.

I was looking forward to the challenge of coaching a group of energetic young girls with varying degrees of experience.

It was the perfect day for football; sunny but not too hot, a cooling breeze but not too windy.

The weather, at least, served as a good omen. My role was made easier by the school, JFS, having some excellent facilities available for me to use.

When I met the girls it was great to see such enthusiasm in their faces - I dreaded the thought of teaching those that didn't want to be taught.

The majority of the girls hadn't played football before, so my Wenger-style tactics would be of no use here. It quickly became clear that keeping it simple would be key.

Trying something new

To lessen any nerves (mine as well as the girls'!), I made the warm-up quite informal and light-hearted; football is much more enjoyable if you're playing it with a smile.

I then moved on to some straight-forward training drills. I made sure I demonstrated the drills first in the hope it would make it easier for the girls to comprehend - passing, heading and volleying back and forth between two.

Considering many had never kicked a ball before I was pleased with their ability and willingness to try something new.

I completed the session with a fun shooting drill. Volunteering myself to go in goal perhaps wasn't the best idea as some of their shots were pretty powerful. I moved out of the way of most of them in all honesty.

Football knowledge

With the training session complete, the girls asked me questions about my life playing football and current issues affecting the women's game.

I was impressed with their level of knowledge, I had questions from everything to this year's Women's World Cup to the uproarious reaction to female linesperson Sian Massey. I don't think I should give up the day job though, I much prefer being interviewer to interviewee.


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