“Be positive. Be aggressive. Be brave.” These are the three ideas that underline the core values of the Celtic academy. A brief, yet valuable insight into these values was shown under the lights of Christie Park to the coaches of many top clubs in the North Western Sydney area. Led by Chris Smith and his team of coaches, the session consisted of two main parts: a presentation explaining Celtic’s values and philosophies, as well as their approach to coaching at an academy level, and an on-field display of various drills regularly conducted by teams within the Celtic academy.
The PowerPoint presentation provided a clear description of the structure and processes of Celtic as a club, by explaining a variety of key ethics and morals that the club, its staff, players, and fans pride themselves on. Keeping the Celtic structure in mind, Smith posed the question, “What would you (the coaches) do differently?” allowing the NWSF coaches to break off into small groups to discuss their ideas on any changes they would make to the Australian system. After granting the NWSF coaches a sufficient amount of time to discuss in each other’s groups, the coaches were offered to share their ideas, bringing to light the different views that each coach had, opening doors for interesting discussions between the NWSF and Celtic coaches. The presentation also delved into the non-footballing side of the club, by showing how members of staff such as psychologists, analysts, and physiotherapists all work in correlation with one another to make the club and their players as successful as they are.
The second part of the session progressed to a visual portrayal of Celtic’s scenario-based training. The scenario-based drills used by Celtic is a newly developed training program which involves testing players in in-game situations and focuses on individual player development. This system was designed by coaches within the Celtic academy to challenge players in 1v1, 2v2, and 3v2 situations, assisting in growing their skills from both an attacking and defensive perspective. With the help of the Gladesville Ravens’ under 16 women’s team, coach Scott Murray and Chris Smith were able to help NWSF coaches understand the benefits of this system, with both coaches digging deep to break down the tactical aspect of each drill, and successfully applying it into real-game scenarios.