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Academy coaches broaden horizons with comedy

28 Jun 2022

Trip to Comedy School gives Coach Inclusion Diversity Scheme participants a different outlook

The Premier League has a vision to develop a world-leading coaching development system by elevating the quality of coaching across the English system through its Elite Coaching Plan.  

As part of this, we are showcasing in a series of articles, how the Premier League is leading a positive change in the global perception of our coaching at academy and first-team levels, as well as increasing the diversity of the coaching workforce. 

Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme

Coaches from the Premier League's Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme (CIDS) had their imagination and humour tested spending a day learning improvised comedy skills at The Comedy School in London.

"This scheme has been imperative to me, progressing as a coach," says Burnley academy coach Pierce Kiembi.

"There were some funny activities there that I'm definitely going to be taking away with me, because I feel like they are good ice-breakers and they also help you think on your feet."

CIDS was launched in 2020/21 to support the Premier League's aim to improve diversity and coaching pathways for black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups in football, as laid out in its No Room for Racism Action Plan and Elite Coaching Plan.

It is one of the ways in which the Premier League is working to increase the diversity of this coaching workforce, making it more representative of the playing population. 

Kiembi was one of a number of participants encouraged by the event to adopt a philosophy of open-mindedness and creativity towards their coaching, in an environment far removed from what they are used to.

Safe environment

Luka Sorba, a teacher at The Comedy School, is looking to give the coaches a different perspective on their role and think of methods they may not have considered otherwise.

"One thing we've learnt from those in the football industry is that more and more coaching and learning is very structured," he says.

"That may get its results, but the danger is that you miss out on what you could achieve in a loose environment particularly some of the self-expression and creativity.

"So, we create an environment where people feel safe in experimenting and taking a few more risks."

Dave Regis, the Premier League's Professional Player to Coach Manager, is expecting the coaches to return to their clubs and put into practice the skills they have learnt.

"Coaching is... creative," Regis says. "You know, you can plan a session and that session may not go the way you think it's going to go.

"And, in that instance, you have to be able to innovate and try things a little bit different, make mistakes, work with other coaches and come up with different ideas in the moment."

Coach Index

Another way in which the Premier League is looking to diversify its coaching workforce is through the Coach Index, a self-registration system providing black, Asian, mixed heritage and female coaches with access to information about employment and development opportunities within professional football.

The Index has been created in collaboration with The FAEFLLMA and PFA and enables relevant coaches with a minimum of an FA Level 2 or UEFA C Licence qualification to sign up for alerts from clubs and football partners. Registered coaches will be signposted to relevant coaching opportunities, as well as updates on accessible professional learning and development activity.

How to sign up for the Coach Index

Also in this series

Part 2: Hobbs: To help players we must help coaches
Part 3: Elite coach programme opening minds and doors
Part 4: Binnion: League helps take me out of my comfort zone as a coach
Part 5: Building connection with players is key to coaching

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