Saturday 24 February 2018

Ports take fresh approach

PJ Murray

PORTMARNOCK AFC have appointed Darren Costello as their 'Director of Football', with the brief to introduce a coaching programme across the junior section of the club.

A native of the town, Costello has had a successful track record at clubs such as Stella Maris and Malahide and he was delighted to be offered the role within his local team.

Speaking on his appointment, Costello outlined his goals thus: 'The main thing with kids and schoolboy football is to give them confidence and make sure they enjoy their football, so that's the first thing that I want to bring into the club. That everyone who puts on a Portmarnock jersey wants to play for the club and also has the confidence to go out onto the pitch and play to the best of their ability.

'We have introduced a new training programme called 'The Step Programme'. We rolled it out to all the coaches last week. This programme basically says that kids come to training and they spend the full hour with a ball.

'I don't believe in running exercises and such, it's all about working with the ball. And then the key is to give them a better understanding of the game. There's no point in telling a kid to take up a position without them knowing why they are taking up this position.'

He added that he will not be introducing a style of play per se.

'I was asked, would we have a style of play. I don't believe in a style of play because it depends on the kids that you have. What I want all teams to do is to get the ball down and play to feet.'

One of the major moves in underage football is to have what's known as a 'silent sideline' where parents and coaches remain quiet, allowing kids play the game in their own way and possibly making it more enjoyable. Although Costello understands and appreciates the reasoning behind this, he's not a fan and it's not something he will be encouraging at the club.

'I'm not a fan of the silent sideline and the reason I'm not a fan is that it creates an eerie feeling around the ground. I found the weekend that it ran the place was devoid of atmosphere, so I would rather parents come and make noise and be encouraging on the line.

'I do believe also there is a big part for coaches to play during the game. I mean, let the kids make mistakes, that's fine, but there's a thing called on the job training, so if you're training kids on a Tuesday and Thursday on stuff to do and during the match on a Saturday you see the kids aren't doing that, you're only helping them by telling them what to do.'

It was the pragmatism and the belief in his ideas which have really enamoured Costello to the job and it's a role which he will undoubtedly flourish in, such is the backing he has received so far.

'I thought that was a great opportunity and when they came to me and I gave them the ideas that I wanted to put into the club they were right behind me from the off. So we put in the new step programme and we have kicker boards around the ground and also I want all the teams to have the same warm-up routine before a match, so they were very positive about my ideas.

'They want to give the kids the best coaching possible. They know by doing this that they will be able to keep the kids in the club and they don't have any grandiose ideas about becoming the best club in the DDSL and getting players across the water.

'What they do want to do is maximise each kid's ability and talent.'

Fingal Independent

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