We are delighted to introduce to you the first in our series of grassroots football blog posts from our ‘Coaches Corner’, in which we have invited a number of guest contributors to provide a range of varying content. It is with great pleasure that we bring to you Gavin Bailey, Director of Coaching at Qualitas Sport, a coaching school based in Derbyshire. Qualitas Sport is a young innovative team who provide a fresh and exciting new approach to sports coaching, education and literacy. They run a very successful soccer academy in addition to a fast growing schools multi sport provision. Gavin has years of experience coaching football and holds a UEFA level B qualification, and having worked in the sports industry for a number of years decided to launch his own sports coaching brand back in 2012 after having great success in nurturing young talent.
Gavin’s own career began when he started playing for a team at the age of 11 and after scoring 52 goals in his first season, he was signed by Derby County. After 2 years he was released and went back to his home town to play for AFC Dronfield, which he recalls as his happiest time in Sunday league football, winning many trophies. At 13 he was then signed by Sheffield Wednesday FC and stayed until he turned 20 years old representing the YTS/Reserve team and playing first team football. Also during this time he represented Chesterfield District/Derbyshire Schools and English schools. In addition Gav also had spells playing professional football abroad in Finland and played first team football for MP, which again was a fantastic experience. He says the highlight of his career was to play at Basel FC in Switzerland for Sheffield Wednesday’s first team in the Inter-Toto cup, and cites Trevor Francis as his most inspirational team mate; he was a great footballer and also a family man which he feels is extremely important for today’s professional footballers.
Gavin believes that the role of Qualitas is to bridge the gap between local leagues and academies. His strong belief in the importance of this role comes from his desire to help young footballers with their personal development, teach them to respect others and afford them the same opportunities he had as a child. And he has most definitely succeeded. With countless Qualitas graduates progressing on to pro academies at Sheffield Wednesday FC, Hull City FC, Scunthorpe United FC to name just a few! We have provided a selection of testimonials from a number of Qualitas graduates below, each highlighting the importance of the coaching received and the lessons learnt under Gavin’s tutelage (included below).
We are delighted to be working with a coach as experienced as Gavin to bring you interesting and informative content, on a wide range of subjects relevant to Grassroots football. From training drills to general coaching advice we hope to provide something relevant for everyone. Gavin writes “I’m excited about working with Kitlocker.com to bring you some insights from what I have learnt from both my professional career, and my coaching experiences in football“.
Alongside this blog will be opportunities to win free kit and equipment for your local grassroots club. So please get involved by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter for your chance to win some great prizes and grab some free coaching advice from a fantastic coach.
Qualitas Graduate Testimonials: Jake Nicholson of Sheffield Wednesday FC writes “Gavin’s probably one of the main reasons I am where I am now. I started attending Gavin’s week in week out when I had just left Chesterfield Football Club. I had no confidence and no belief that I was a good player but Gavin focused on the strengths of my game he also made me realise how much I enjoyed playing the game and the love I had for it”
Brandon Webster of Scunthorpe United FC writes: “The sessions are as good as an academy but I miss practicing all the skills at Gavin’s. The coaches are of a very good standard and they really develop your technical skills, understanding of the game and even more so for me your confidence”. Thank you Gavin.”
Jordan Crossman of Burton Albion FC writes: “I started going to Gavin’s sessions on a Saturday morning at the age of 11. The sessions really helped to improve my confidence and technical side of the game. Gavin has kept in touch with me throughout my football away from his sessions. I have recently signed a two year contract at Burton Albion after a few years at Nottingham Forest. Gavin’s advice has been invaluable to my football and progress.”
Warren Clarke of Sheffield Wednesday FC writes: “My name is Warren Clarke and I was 5 years old when I was first coached football by Gavin. The coaching philosophy was to focus on Technical, Tactical, Physical and Physiological aspects of the game which made me the player I am today. I signed for Sheffield Wednesday Football club nearly 3 years ago and I hope to become a Professional Football and play at the Sheffield’s finest ground! Finally, my football education has moved drastically forward this summer, due to being selected for Manchester United under 16yrs and representing the premiership champions in the world club championships at Carrington and Old Trafford. I would strongly recommend Gavin’s mentoring skills and ability to coach any child who wants to become a professional footballer or alternatively just wants to play football for the first time.”
Kasheme Walton of Nottingham Forest writes: “Im Kasheme Walton and I went to Gavin’s saturday sessions in Sheffield every other Saturday for the best part of a year. The sessions really helped me with my technique and I learnt to be more comfortable on the ball. I signed my scholarship last year with Nottingham Forest and I would recommend going to the sessions for any young player wanting to learn the game.”
Reco Fyfe of Notts County youth team writes: “I went to Gavin’s Saturday sessions and I really enjoyed myself. The training is quality, it really helped me develop and improve football skills which I use on the pitch. I have recently signed a scholarship for Notts County Youth team and I strongly recommend going to Gavin’s session on a Saturday to improve as a player.”
Josh Lake of Sheffield Wednesday FC writes: “Josh has been attending Gavin’s sessions for around 3 years. During this time he has developed many aspects of his game due to the extremely high quality of coaching. During this period Josh signed for Sheffield Wednesday Academy at the start of 2012/13 at under 9s. In his first year at the Academy Josh was rated in the top three players in every assessment period.
Merlin Ferrinho of Chesterfield FC writes: “Merlin had attended Gavin’s skill centre from a young age. Later joining Chesterfield football club at under 9s and currently in his fifth year with the Academy. Being at Gavin’s has given Merlin a good grounding and greater skills set. As a parent may I take this opportunity to thank Gavin for all that he has done and hope that the Qualitas Football school goes from strength to strength. The training speaks for its self and recommend any avid footballer to take a look.”
Caelan Zane Bradley of Chesterfield FC writes: “I started at Gavin’s soccer school from the age of 6 years and I was taught the technical attributes of the game and this was the stepping stone to signing for Chesterfield FC academy under 9/10/11/12/13/14/present day and also representing Sheffield County Schoolboys.”
Robbie Bedtwick of Chesterfield FC writes: “I started at Gavin’s skill school about 4 years ago and I loved trying to master the different tricks and techniques! The hard work paid off for me because I’m at Chesterfield Academy now thanks to Gavin and his mentoring over the years!”
Stephen Akbas of Sheffield Wednesday FC writes: “I really enjoyed the time I spent at Gavin’s development School. The coaching was excellent and my confidence soared with all the encouragement and technical advice I received. Thanks Gavin.”
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