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An invite to St George's Park for Robbo!

Head Coach motivates coaches after his rise from academy to first-team

26 November 2021

There was certainly no over-celebrating our much-needed victory on Tuesday night for Robbo!

That’s because he headed straight off to the national football centre at St George’s Park in Burton to provide an inspirational speech to aspiring coaches participating in the FA’s Advanced Youth Award.

Gareth Morgan, the FA Course Director, explained why Robbo was the perfect candidate to talk to coaches aiming for the highest coaching qualification in youth football.

“Wimbledon’s youth set-up has grown since its inception to become a well-recognised academy that has a positive approach to learning and development," he said. "We invited Mark to share some of his experiences, starting from setting up the Academy, explaining how the culture has been developed and some of the processes used.

“The Advanced Youth Award is the highest qualification in youth football and is the youth equivalent to the A Licence, so it was a good opportunity to share the journey of a coach and a club culture story.”

The pictures show Robbo talking to coaches on the course, including a slide of him putting our players through their paces in the snow!

Robbo on course 2.jpg

Merf Roberts, who leads the social part of the course, met Robbo when he attended the course a few years ago and he felt that this was a great opportunity to showcase how the club has developed its coaching principles, Of course, our Head Coach is now applying his methods at first-team level.

The presentation by Robbo was delivered to coaches working in the Professional Development Phase (17-21 year old players).

Geoff Noonan, Professional Game Youth Coach Developer at the FA, has supported Wimbledon’s coach development programme in the past seven years.

He said: “The club and Mark have developed some ways of working that are seen as leading the way. This includes a player-led environment, a culture of ‘winners do more’, and a programme which includes player-led sessions and games. It’s been great to see the club develop this approach as they look to develop more first-team players.”

Robbo said: “It was something I felt privileged to do. As we are big here on player ownership and giving players empowerment I was invited to present to other coaches studying for the award now. It was a different experience for me and I enjoyed it. I think it will also help us in the future because there were Under-23 coaches from Premier League clubs and I got to chat with them afterwards.

“It was also nice that the club was recognised for the work we are doing with young players and it was great to talk about developing players and people. We have our own FA educator Geoff Noonan, but with the work we’ve done at the academy through player ownership games and other ideas they asked if I would be happy to do it. As I’m taking it all into first-team football they were really interested in that as there may be coaches on the course that want to progress to this level.”

Robbo on course 3.jpg

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