The FA Level 1 Coaching Course or 1st4sport Level 1 Award in Coaching Football QCF as it is now properly known, is by far the most popular football coaching course in the UK with up to an astonishing 17,000 new coaches involved in this programme every year. This is a fantastic initiative that's bringing genuine and on going benefits to UK football, particularly at the grass roots level. The Level 1 course is the entry point into the FA Coaching Ladder for virtually every coach and is designed to provide a broad introduction to coaching and a solid foundation upon which to build and progress to the higher level courses.
Level 1 Courses are run by County Football Associations and take place at a variety of sports facilities, football clubs and schools and with around 1500 Level 1 courses available annually, it is normally very easy to find a local venue. Courses are run over several days with a total contact time of 32 hours. The exact course structure depends on the provider but many are either run over four full days on two (often consecutive) weekends or have short evening weekday sessions combined with whole day sessions at the weekend.
Course content is designed to provide both theoretical and practical guidance for coaches and extends to topics both on and off the pitch including:
• Administration of football clubs and the laws of the game.
• Safe organisation and supervision of various football activities including small sided games and mini soccer.
• Orientation in the various aspects of coaching young players, including tailoring activities to different age groups.
• Identifying mentoring and support opportunities covering all aspects of football related development including an introduction to the FA's Long Term Player Development Model.
• Promotion of working relationships between coaches, players, officials and parents.
• A wide range of practical elements including warm up and cool down and gameplay related activities such as passing, dribbling, ball control, shooting, heading etc.
No experience is necessary to join a Level 1 course so they are open to anyone who is motivated and ready to improve their understanding and skills. Candidates must be 16 years of age and are required to hold the FA Emergency Aid Certificate or equivalent first aid certificate and attend the FA Safeguarding Children in Football workshop but both of these prerequisites are usually included at the start of the Level 1 course.
More information about all coaching courses can be found at the FA Learning course database. This allows candidates to search for a local course and provides links to the individual County FA's that provide the courses. Although improved in recent months, the course schedule database can be a little temperamental and you should include the space when you enter your postcode in the search box or the form will sometimes not accept it.