• Umerah Riyasat

Sport and Insight


Friday, the 23rd of April, was an exciting day for Football for Humanity, as German Football Coach Developer Martin Hammel delivered part one of his online program “#adifferentgame – football for children” to our community coaches nationwide. Martin Hammel is an international football expert specialising in football for children and youth. As a UEFA A-License holder, he runs coaching courses and mentor programs for football coaches of all age groups. Martin started his football coaching journey in 2011 and has mostly been coaching children aged from 5 to 15 years old. Our coaches were excited to attend a "UEFA-A" coach training session for the very first time and were probably anxious that he would be strict, formal, maybe even stern. However, as he began his session from Tanzania, where he had recently conducted a youth coaching course, we all knew that our anxieties would soon cease.



In the presentation, Martin expressed his excitement and said, "This is a very good project, and all of you are doing very good work, so for me, this is a pleasure to be talking to you and sharing thoughts with you. Chris Thomas (FFH Founder) has put a lot of pressure on me, saying it will be a very good seminar. I hope I can live up to that expectation." Martin did indeed live up to that expectation. The purpose of the seminar was to teach the coaches how to understand the difference between coaching children and adults, and more importantly, how to implement their learnings in their future training sessions and football matches. Martin was patient, accommodating, and very engaging. There was no dull moment in his session - there was even a practical exercise involving socks, much to everyone's amusement!



It was a very interactive session where Martin asked us questions throughout. He even asked who we thought the smartest football player was. The majority answered Lionel Messi, and there were even a few who answered Chris Thomas, founder of FFH! We highlighted the attributes of what a good player would need to be successful in football. The Game Competency Model is a cycle of "Perceive–Understand–Decide–Execute", and it is a process that is always going on in a game. It was in this section that Martin gave the most important insight; given that there are four requirements from players – perceive, understand, decide and execute – he asked the coaches, do you actually prepare and train your players to perform all of these tasks well? The coaches were silent and seemed to be reflecting on this amazing revelation. Martin continued to say that most of the training all over the world is focused on EXECUTION, which is just a fourth of the entire combination of tasks that a player performs in a game. We then understood the "secret", and he proceeded by saying that a coach should allow the player to learn all of these by doing and discovering, and not only because the coach keeps shouting instructions from the sidelines. Martin also emphasised that, first and foremost, coaches should ensure that all kids should fall in love with the game.



Most importantly, this session inspires our Filipino children here at Football for Humanity to continue their self-development journey. Coach Martin offered a perspective on what children want to do when playing football. Factors like having fun, scoring goals, socialising, being active and being around children and adults with whom they feel comfortable were top objectives.


What did the community coaches enjoy the most about the session?

Junior Coach Carol Tiam from San Carlos in the Visayas said: "It was a great session, and very creative and fun. I love the way that he frames his questions and how he engages us one by one. All I can say is that he's very professional in the way that he teaches football."

Head Coach Floyd Crisologo from Pangasinan from Luzon also added: "The part where he featured a situation on the field, and he asked each of us to give our interpretation, - like a Q and A style. I also enjoyed the "catching" activity although I could not join because I was afraid, I would end up throwing my baby!" (Coach Floyd was attending to his newborn).


Martin offered a detailed insight into what the coaches can do to help their young players on the football field. Individual development, patience and being in a supportive environment were important factors for the coaches to succeed. "Assist but do not instruct, praise efforts and motivate, be patient, allow mistakes and work out solutions in dialogue with players. Do not tell the players what to do whilst they are playing. It's not beneficial," said Martin.


My favourite quote from the session from Martin was, "The less we shout, the more players will have the ability to grow." This is something the coaches will remember in their hearts forever!

Bring on the next session!


Football for Humanity is a registered charity dedicated to using the power of play to educate, empower and protect children facing the threat of violence, exploitation and poverty.

You can help! www.footballforhumanity.org.uk/donate

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