Boyz coach Hallgrimsson urges local counterparts to tap into technology; reiterates discontent with lack of coaching education, poor facilities

By March 07, 2024
HALLGRIMSSON...I think though a problem with most here in Jamaica is that they are waiting for something to happen. HALLGRIMSSON...I think though a problem with most here in Jamaica is that they are waiting for something to happen. file

While admitting that there is a deficit in Jamaica’s football where coaching education is concerned, senior Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson says the onus is on coaches across the island to make the necessary step towards personal development until better opportunities arise.

Hallgrimsson shared this view after engaging coaches during a recently-concluded two-month tour of the island where he, along with assistants John Wall and Merron Gordon, hosted clinics and assessed facilities, as well as some aspiring national players.

Though the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and Concacaf occasionally hosts licence coaching courses, and there was also the Joan Duncan Foundation-sponsored coaching school, the general consensus, according to Hallgrimsson is that those are inadequate.

“It was quite similar in every parish. Everyone talked about coaching education, lack of coaching education and the lack of opportunities to learn. So, I think that was one of the concerns. The second thing was, was the pitches and that has been kind of my cry, from day one that we really need to improve our facilities, our pitches,” Hallgrimsson shared in a recent interview with Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) media.

“That is in every parish. The coaches and the administrators of clubs were complaining about both lack of access to pitches and also the quality of the services and because of that, some or most parish coaches said it was sometimes difficult to get kids into training,” he added.

Well aware that coaches play a significant role in player development, particularly at the grassroots and youth levels, Hallgrimsson agreed that proper coaching education and good facilities should be given more consideration for investments, but in the same breath, the Icelander argued that coaches need to take more initiative in certain regards.

“I think though a problem with most here in Jamaica is that they are waiting for something to happen. The complaints are that an investor needs to come and change this, or the JFF needs to do it, or the government needs to do this so we can do that. But I think it all starts and finishes with us as coaches,” he declared.

“We just need to start to roll, to get things rolling to make football attractive, to make kids want to come to your football sessions. It's not even about the facilities, even though they are important in developing good football players, but it's about the coach. So, I think it all starts with us coaches to do whatever we can do to get the best training we can from what we have,” Hallgrimsson opined.

That said, Hallgrimsson pointed out that with the right enthusiasm, coaches can utilize the advancement in technology to improve their knowledge of the profession, not just technical and tactical, but more around fitness, nutrition, recovery and the psychological aspect of things.

“Even now, the high-level teams are looking into how players sleep, their breathing, into meditation, all of these things. So, I would say at the moment, Jamaica is behind in coaching education, and we need to step up there. The good thing about today is the technology. The technology there is so fantastic that you can actually tap into all knowledge in a flash,” Hallgrimsson reasoned.

He continued: “So if you are an enthusiastic coach, you can actually with Google, go into the correct websites and apps and you can get all the knowledge you need so you can fast forward your coaching education. So even though it will be a license system, and you need a licence as a coach, you can still be a really, really good coach without a licence.

“So, you know two things goes go hand in hand. I think if you have a licence, you've already gone through some learning process, but you could also be a good coach without the licence. So, I encourage everyone just to be creative and look for information if you are, if you are a coach.”

Still, Hallgrimsson stressed the need for holistic development in the country’s football, both from a coaching and a facilities perspective.

“For players’ development, the two most important ingredients are coaching education and the facilities to coach football, and both are pretty much behind here in Jamaica. Only with changing these two factors will the development of players be totally different as it will be faster to produce better players,” said Hallgrimsson.

“There are a lot of other factors to produce good players, but if these two are lacking, then there will always be a hurdle that will be difficult to jump over. Therefore, the sooner we change those things, the quicker we develop,” he ended.

The tour was a part of Hallgrimsson’s objective to focus on local players in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) and gauge their progress for possible inclusion in his team for the CONMEBOL Copa America and Concacaf World Cup qualifiers later this year. The Boyz are scheduled to face United States in the Concacaf Nations League semi-finals on March 21.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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