FA coaching courses fall under the control of FA Learning, the educational and developmental section of the association. This serves to provide an extremely comprehensive and rich coaching pathway for everyone involved in the game which can lead right from the first steps as a new coach to the elite level which includes the training and recognized qualifications required to manage and coach an international team.
The FA coaching course pathway is divided into three principal strands. The first entry point and foundation for all coaches is Level 1 which is a certificated course and allows progression through Level 2 and Level 3 up to the UEFA A Licence which is the qualification held by the managers of high level clubs and national teams. The second strand offers specialized training courses concentrating on targeted areas of the game such as football for the disabled and goalkeeping. The last strand focuses exclusively on the youth game and the need for different skills and tactics as players develop physically and mentally and progress through the game. The FA Learning coaching pathway here shows the options available.
There are two types of FA coaching courses available, local and national. The local courses are run by individual county football associations and tend to concentrate on the earlier stages of coaching development. Levels 1 and 2 are always run on a local basis because there is such a huge demand for these courses all over the country and there are literally dozens of opportunities to join a course. It can vary because each county FA organizes their courses slightly differently but as a general rule, Level 1 and 2 are run over two (usually consecutive) weekends which allows them to easily fit in with work commitments etc or over weekends with short evening sessions.
Safety and fun are the key elements of these initial levels (particularly in Level 1) and new coaches are taught FA Emergency Aid and Safeguarding Children in Football as part of the Level 1 course. The actual coaching is not forgotten however and a number of hands on football coaching drills are included with the final assessment being based on the successful delivery of one of these drills.
National courses tend to focus on higher level FA coaching badges such as the UEFA A License that have relatively few candidates so running local courses would not be practical. Because of their nature, they normally require time away from home/work and are both intensive and residential and offer excellent networking opportunities as well as the chance to gain exposure to some very experienced coaching mentors.