Barnsley FC Academy Coach and Barton Town FC Manager Rob Watson talks to the SYACL Website.
Latest in our series talking to local personalities who have contributed to the rise in popularity of disability football features former Winterton Town and now Barton Town Manager Rob Watson.
Rob told us about his involvement with Community Trust football in general, and disability football in particular, and offers us his insight into how to develop disability footballers.
First, though, we asked Rob a little about his new role in the shadow of the Humber Bridge.
SYACL: Rob, you’ve recently taken over as Manager at NCEL Division One side Barton Town. How are things shaping up at the Swans in these strange times?
Rob: “It’s been the strangest pre-season I’ve ever been a part of – but things have gone great so far. We have built on the squad from last season and morale is good in camp. We are literally waiting for the League start date so we can plan the next few weeks. The lads have treated pre-season as if the League will start in September – so we are raring to go!”
SYACL: Tell us about your role with Barnsley FC.
Rob: “I am the Lead Foundation Phase coach working full time with the Academy. My role is managing the 8-11-year olds at the club. I have the pleasure to work alongside some excellent people at Barnsley; the staff at the Academy have helped me become a better coach on and off the pitch. The knowledge in our office is far greater than anything I have learned on a coaching course.”
SYACL: Rob, we’d like to know a little more about your career so far and how you came to be involved with disability football.
Rob: “I worked at Scunthorpe United and Barnsley FC Community Trust schemes. Both clubs coach disability football and it was a pleasure to be involved. I worked in disability schools and local youth clubs. We taught a range of sessions – it wasn’t all football.”
“After I left the Community Trust, I worked full time for the Academy. Since then I have obtained UEFA A Licence and FA Advanced youth award.”
SYACL: What would you say are the most important aspects of coaching people living with disabilities?
Rob: “Enjoy it!! It is very rewarding; just be patient with all involved and make sure it’s fun. When a coach enjoys a session, it has a huge impact on the players taking part.”
SYACL: Finally, Rob, what would you say to anyone considering becoming involved with disability football?
Rob: “Working in disability football will develop you further as a coach. You are challenged in ways that help you on and off the pitch. The players will love your sessions if you make them fun and challenging.”
“Players love to take part – with a reward at the end of it.”
The SYACL Website would like to thank Rob for his participation in this interview and wishes him well in his new role.
The South Yorkshire Ability Counts League features three pan-disability Leagues who play their fixtures at Concord Sports Centre, and three Leagues of participants with mild to moderate learning difficulties, including autism, who play alternately at Goals Doncaster and Goals Sheffield.