The Challenge

Best summed up by the retort of a young seven-year old aspiring Cabo Zidane Cub to former head coach Gavin when the latter asked him to demonstrate his skills – “In my old club, if you did skills, they made you do laps!”.

Yes – we have a job on our hands! Just look at some of the displays we see in our stadia and on our televisions and contrast them with, for example, those of the likes of Barcelona and Spain. After all the name of the game is ‘Association Football’, not airball or hoofball or any other type of xxxball!

That’s what we want ALL our players – U-4 to Senior, boy, girl, man, lady, Special Needs – to aspire to, no matter what their individual abilities are on first joining us.

Yes, we are here to help you to learn, in a manner that we call ‘Guided Discovery’, how to play football in the best way possible!

Getting to Here

Our hugely successful Saturday morning player-centred School of Excellence has been continuously developing over the past twenty-four years, to the point where we now have up to 150 Cubs, Kittens and Special Needs players developing their mastery of the ball and playing skills under the tutelage of Coaching Co-ordinator Paul Downer and his cadre of coaches, but in a fun environment using positive learning experiences, in a Coerver-styled approach.

Evidence of this achievement is clear when one observes the selection of Cabo Cubs who’ve graduated and brought this style of play right through, even to our successful Senior teams over that 24-year period.

The club is responding to the need to ensure that this organically developed approach becomes fully integral to the way all club players are developed by implementing an upgraded player development pathway and a supportive coaching structure, underpinned with the expertise available from our experience with the world-famous Coerver Coaching Method.

Where We’re Going – Objectives

  1. To establish a singular, cohesive and overarching approach to the club’s football development.
  2. To develop Cabo’s own in-house player and coach development curriculum.
  3. To have every club player positively impacted by the new structures and developments.
  4. To enhance the recruitment and retention of players and coaches.
  5. To establish Cabinteely FC as a forerunner in the development of players in Ireland.

Pages last updated: April 17, 2017

Football Coaching – The Cabo Way – Coaching Structure

You/The New Coach/Parents and Other Helpers

Saturday Mornings: At the time of writing, we have up to 150 U-5s, 6s and 7s who participate in our Saturday morning School of Excellence. Such a large group needs at least 30 people, of which at least twelve are qualified coaches, to help organise it so that they can really enjoy and get the best out of their coaching sessions each Saturday.

If you’re a parent or relation who attends these great sessions, we’d really welcome and do need your help if you’re in any way interested in getting involved – whether that means providing encouragement, helping to set up or put away the equipment, administration tasks, supervision of injured players/toilet breaks. This is a great way in which to help the youngsters as they begin their football development. Please do come forward any Saturday or contact your club FDC (‘Football Development Committee’ – see below) for more information.

If you’re interested in the coaching aspect of things, you’ll see that there’s a full coaching development pathway for you to follow should you wish to enhance your skills as you get more and more enjoyment from the process. During Games: We would ask that parents provide encouragement only, not instruction, to all players on the pitch and desist from infringing on those areas that are rightly the domain of the team coach. Young players, in particular, get confused when they are receiving multiple messages from the sideline.

Football Development Committee

The club’s Football Development Committee (FDC), replacing the old Football Sub-Committee, has been introduced to control all aspects of the club’s football development. The FDC will oversee the combined approach that will blend the work of the club’s own qualified coaches with the formal approach provided by the Coerver coaches that were assigned to the club as part of our then agreement. It will also incorporate any future co-operation with the FAI, senior clubs and other football coaching and development organisations with which the club works. The FDC comprises the heads of the Sections (below), under the chairmanship of Coaching Co-ordinator, Paul Downer.

This structure will allow each section focus on those elements of the overall player development model and related club coaching curriculum that applies to its group of players. The section heads will contribute to and develop the pertinent sections of our own in-house curriculum on an ongoing basis. The formal document in terms of curriculum was prepared during season 2011/12.

Coaching Support

Apart from the formal structures, the club’s FDC will also provide ad-hoc support to individual players, coaches and mentors and the different club teams as required. This will be in the form of temporary groups of our more experienced coaches, gathered to provide dedicated, targeted and specific support and guidance when requested – say to assist individual teams address specific problems they may have.

A recent successful example of this was when one of our more senior youth teams had difficulties in defending corners.

After just one thirty-minute session of such intensive attention and effort, the lads had learnt enough to assume full responsibility for appreciating and responding to each tactical situation as may be presented during a game.

This function should prove to be of great assistance to each of our current 54 teams, their coaches, mentors and players from time to time.

Academy Sessions

“Develop the player and the players will develop the team”

To focus on the core of the curriculum as noted above, all players from the youngest U-4, through to the oldest U-10, are gathered for additional academy sessions dedicated and tailored to their different age groups. These sessions are fully age-related, within the context of the player development model and the specifics of our in-house curriculum.

Each academy session includes all players in the particular age group and is separate to their team training sessions. See details of our Saturday School of Excellence and details of the Academy Monday evening training slots (scrollable).

Football Coaching – The Cabo Way – Coaching Curriculum

Broad Five-Stage Player Development Model

This internationally accepted five stage model of a child’s sporting development will be applied by Cabinteely as we work to match training and coaching objectives to each stage of the model.

All players, no matter what their innate level of skill and ability, and coaches must work methodically through these five stages, with no short cuts allowed.

Application of Model

Cabinteely applies the model to the different age groups as follows:

  • Stage 1: Fundamentals – U-4 to U-7
  • Stage 2: Learning to train – U-8 to U-10
  • Stage 3: Learning to compete – U-11 to U-13
  • Stages 4 & 5: Learning to win – U-14 to Seniors

The club’s Football Development Committee (FDC) and cohort of coaches, as overseen by the Executive Committee, will constantly monitor and review the application of and progress through the model to ensure its continuing application and ultimate success.

Core of Curriculum

While the full development model will be applied throughout the club, the core of the focus will be on all players from ages U-4 through to U-10, thus ensuring that we get the basics right as players enter and progress through these initial stages in their football development with the club.

To this end, both the Cubs/Kittens (U-4 to U-7) Saturday School of Excellence and specific age group sessions for U-7s to U-11s on other weekday evenings are configured as our academies (see Monday evening training slots). We rightfully expect that this phase of a player’s football development will prove to be second to no other club in Ireland.

Bespoke Cabo Model

We are developing an overall bespoke Cabo model of the Coaching Curriculum, to include items such as style of play, team formations and other aspects contained in our five component model (physical/mental/social/technical/tactical). These latter are currently in place and have been used for the last three seasons.

We are now reviewing them all with a view to integrating them into the whole piece and improving them overall. The formal document in terms of a completely specified Cabo Curriculum was prepared in time for season 2011/12.

Football Coaching – The Cabo Way – Techniques/Assets

FAI/UEFA Coaching Development Pathway

All the club’s coaches are encouraged to take formal coaching qualifications as set out in the standard FAI/UEFA Pathway illustrated on the left.

Currently 60 coaches are progressing through the sequence and a number have attained the higher levels – see the Coaching Profiles page for details.

Also see the Coaching Profiles page for details of the experience and qualifications attained by the Club Section Heads and FDC members.

Coerver Approach

Several years ago, the club had a commercial agreement with the Coerver football coaching development organisation to help us review and enhance our approach to football coaching, initiate the Coerver approach in Cabinteely FC and develop both players and coaches so that we gain maximum benefit from the method.

We were only one of only two clubs in Ireland (the other being the well-known Galway senior club, Salthill Devon, to enter into a commercial agreement with this world-renowned football coaching organisation that was founded in 1984 based on the approach developed by the famous Dutch coach, Wiel Coerver.

This innovative and all-encompassing approach, with the emphasis on player and coach development, has been endorsed by many clubs and associations worldwide, such as the French FA, the Australian FA, Newcastle United FC, Arsenal FC and Bayern Munich FC.

Dartfish Analysis System

The club is delighted to announce that we have contracted with Swiss video analysis specialists Dartfish Ltd. and their Irish agents Toca Sports Ltd. to use their innovative sports analysis Dartfish software to enable them to analyse games and training with a view to further educating the players and coaches alike, thus improving their own and indeed our teams’ and individual players’ overall performance.

The software is user friendly and can provide information on a game or training session. The information available ranges from the very basic individual technique level right through to complex team tactical overviews. FDC chairman Andy Rice feels that the system will be very beneficial for the club as it fits in with our overall objective of raising coaching and playing standards across the entire football club.

The outputs from the analysis will then form the basis for our coaches’ and managers’ practical sessions and discussions. Do have a look at the software and try the demos on the Toca website or contact the FDC directly by email should you have any further queries.

Examples of specific topics where the system will help are:

  • Cubs and Kittens training – basic movement and technique.
  • 7-a-side games – basic team shape information.
  • 9-a-side games – attacking and defending – team specific understanding.
  • 11-a-side games – detailed formations – teaching the four phases of the game.
  • Coaching sessions – practical organisation.

Of course, for all this to work, the coaches have to (a) climb portable scaffolds placed alongside the activity being taped (see Adrian Cairns doing so in the photo) and (b) spend long hours reviewing, understanding and highlighting specific coaching points for onward communication. Then our managers, coaches and players will attend video analysis sessions so that all this excellent learning may be passed on and shared throughout the club.

Managers coaches and mentors: to enable us use this approach to developing our skills, it’ll be vital that, where third parties are involved (e.g. visiting teams, match officials etc.) that they are properly advised in advance when the system will be in use in order to allay any fears that they may have regarding the taping of games and other activities where they are involved.

Being based in Kilbogget Park, the club has access to thirteen pitches – twelve grass, of which six are full-sized and six small-sized. The club also has access to two all-weather pitches – one full-sized and floodlit, to FIFA 1 Star standard (of which there were only 50 such certificated worldwide when it was installed in 2011), and the other suitable for five-a-side games, but in daylight only.

In addition, during the winter months and if required, we hire local all-weather facilities, such as those in the IADT (see times as at February 2011) and the Loughlinstown Leisure Centre, and other neighbourhood indoor halls.

Training Facilities

With the Kilbogget full-sized all-weather pitch in full operation, most of our winter training requirements will be met within the bounds of Kilbogget Park and there’ll be minimal need to hire outside facilities, if at all.

Of course, our clubhouse, hall and its facilities, including audio-visual, are available for indoor coaching and training activities as required.

The club and each of our 56 2016/17 squads has a full range of coaching materials and essential football training equipment and kit in order to ensure that each and every player can optimally benefit during each coaching session.

Football Coaching – The Cabo Way – Coerver as Partner


At hte time, we were one of only two clubs in Ireland (the other being the well-known Galway senior club, Salthill Devon FC, to enter into a commercial agreement with this world-renowned football coaching organisation that was founded in 1984 based on the approach developed by the famous Dutch coach, Wiel Coerver.

The cost of the arrangement was met in full from club funds, i.e. members’ subscriptions, and there was no further call on members to fund this excellent coaching environment that we continue to build.


In helping us construct the club’s detailed coaching curriculum, Coerver moulded its world-renowned approach to the needs of Cabinteely FC and the specific needs of its players and coaches in a manner that built on our already successful Saturday School of Excellence and the club’s focus on coach development using the FAI/UEFA Coaching Development Pathway.

Provision of Coaches

In order to meet their side of the agreement, Coerver will allocated two Coerver Certified coaches, Austin Speight and Andy Rice (now club Head Coach), to Cabinteely FC. You’ll have seen both Austin and Andy around the club on a regular basis (perhaps on the top of the mobile scaffold!) as they immersed themselves in the Cabinteely ethos and work with us to meet the objectives noted here.

Coaching the Coaches

As part of the agreement, the Coerver organisation and coaches provided exclusive coaching for the club’s own coaches, so that the latter will developed sufficient understanding of the Coerver approach in order to be in position to pass it on and achieve Coerver certification in time.

Thus, as part of the initiative, our coaches will have spent at least one session a month honing their own skills, with the input of our own FDC and our Coerver coaching partners.

The slide show below illustrates one of these sessions, held on the new all-weather pitch on Friday, March 25, 2011.

Other Benefits to Cabinteely FC

For the duration of the agreement, the club’s coaches will have had full access to all the facilities of and materials available from the Coerver organisation, such as specialist coaching sessions put on by Coerver throughout the year, on-line databases, libraries, coaching DVDs and other materials and support.

Football Coaching – The Cabo Way – Coach Profiles


The club has a policy of encouraging and supporting those interested in coaching to follow the FAI/UEFA coaching development pathway.

It’s essential that coaches develop in line with the players that they coach, so that the coach is able to deal with increasingly able players, as they follow the player development pathway.

At the time of writing in February 2011, the club’s coaches are qualified to the following levels:

Qualification No. Coaches
Kickstart 1 25
Kickstart 2 20
Youth Certificate 8
UEFA 'B' 3
UEFA 'A' 3
Goalkeeping 'A' 1