Huckerby kicks off his coaching career

Michael Bailey Canaries legend Darren Huckerby has set his heart on a coaching career in professional football - and has started his badges in Norwich. The 33-year-old has begun the 1st4sport Level Two Certificate in Coaching Football course with Norfolk FA at an initial training week, held on Thorpe St Andrew High School's 3G surface last month.

Michael Bailey

Canaries legend Darren Huckerby has set his heart on a coaching career in professional football - and has started his badges in Norwich.

The 33-year-old has begun the 1st4sport Level Two Certificate in Coaching Football course with Norfolk FA at an initial training week, held on Thorpe St Andrew High School's 3G surface last month.

And the former Leeds and Coventry forward already hopes he can earn the chance to turn the experience gained from 16 years as a player into a coaching career at the top of the game.


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Huckerby said: “I won't mind getting involved in local football with younger players, but I think I've got a lot of experience and knowledge that I can pass back to professional players too. I would prefer to work with the elite player in that regard and hopefully I'll get the chance to do that in time. It's definitely been what I've wanted to do. I want to start at the bottom, shall we say, and work my way up. I think you get to learn the basics and you can build on the basics.

“I think if you try to go too high too soon, you don't get a real feel for it. This is the way I've decided to go and hopefully it'll set me up well for the future.” Huckerby spent almost five years at Norwich and won a Division One title, but retired as a player in September after undergoing surgery on a long-standing hip injury that ended his season in the United States' Major League Soccer with San Jose Earthquakes.

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Another 16 hours of practical coaching, filling in a logbook and two further training days await before Huckerby and the rest of the Level Two candidates complete their final assessment weekend, which takes place almost four months after their initial training.

Huckerby told NorfolkFA.com: “It's been good - very different to what I've been used to as a player, now I'm looking at the game from a different angle.

“Obviously meeting new people has been good, as we're all in the same boat. It's nice that you're working with 17-year-olds, 45-year-olds and everything in between.

“Until you get to know people they tend to be stand-offish to begin with, but it was soon lively and boisterous. Everyone's been great and we've all worked together. Like I said, everyone's been involved for the same reasons and we're doing the best we can.”

The 80-hour Level Two course is being taken by coach Ian Thornton, who is also director of Football in the Community based at Norwich City.

From the basic Level One sessions and learning how to become an “effective football coach and teacher” in Level Two, the most common route into professional coaching would then include passing the Uefa B - or Level Three - before the Uefa A and Pro Licence required to manage at any level in English football.

And Huckerby already has a new-found respect for the level of planning coaches have to undertake - something that slipped his attention during his playing days.

“Even though I understand a coach would need to do a little planning, this week we've worked a lot on structuring the sessions and making sure they are right before you get out on the pitch,” added Huckerby. “As a player you're out there and getting on with it, but now I realise it takes quite a while to structure a good session.

“If I want to progress into coaching I've got to start somewhere and this is my starting point. I realise that playing and coaching are completely different, so you've got to learn the basics.

“Even though I've been around football for many years it's a different side of it and I'm looking forward to learning and hopefully progressing as a coach.

“I think you've got to be good with people, be a good communicator and you've got to get your point across. Learning from your mistakes is a big thing. Nobody knows everything and sometimes other people know more than you, and that's where you can pick up their best points and use them to develop your own ideas.”

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