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Gordon Craig has been a Director of Coerver® Coaching in Scotland for 20 years and during this time he has delivered many Coerver® workshops as a consultant on behalf of the association. Gordon has recently been appointed a position within the newly formed National Performance department which has been put together to deliver the Scottish FA’s £10 million Performance Strategy (see below image with Gordon Craig, Scott Booth – Scotland U16 Coach & Mark Wotte – Scottish FA Performance Director).

As part of the Performance Strategy, seven schools throughout the country have been selected to house the cream of Scotland’s talented young footballers. There, they will marry their football education with their normal school curriculum as part of the Scottish FA’s commitment to elite player development.
Seven coaches have been appointed to work in conjunction with the schools and the players’ clubs to enhance their technical skills at a key stage of their development, Gordon is in charge of the Performance School at Braidhurst High School in Motherwell.

Each coach is responsible for up to 20 of the most talented under-12 players in their region – both boys and girls – and are to provide a minimum five extra coaching sessions focusing on skills development. Over a four-year period, this will provide the most talented young footballers throughout the country with an extra 800 sessions.

Led by Scottish F.A. Performance Director, Mark Wotte, the Regional Performance Schools are the crown jewels of the Performance Strategy. A series of football festivals involving senior clubs, boys and girls clubs and school teams helped the performance team to identify the best players eligible for each school in time for enrolment in August 2012.

Wotte believes the new schools will help produce Scotland internationalists of the future and spoke enthusiastically of the relationship between the Scottish FA, education authorities, local authorities and the clubs. “The creation of the Regional Performance Schools is one of the most significant and positive developments for Scottish football in decades. The schools will enhance the coaching provided by clubs by implementing an individual player development programme by our experienced football teachers. Our young players need more contact time with the ball and must develop key skills like balance, agility, speed, movement and co-ordination.”

In addition to his role within the Performance School programme, Gordon has also been working with the best young players in the country as part of the technical staff for the U16 National team. This included Scotland’s recent participation in the Sky Sports Victory Shield, which is the first time players will fully represent their country in a home nations tournament with Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales taking part. In the most recent game Scotland visited England, taking them all the way to a narrow loss of 1-0 in extra time in front of an enthusiastic 4,000 crowd at Burton Albion FC (see above image).

Part of the preparations for the game included 4 days at the new £105 million England National Training at St Georges Park in Staffordshire (see above image). Gordon Craig said “ The SFA are focusing on technical excellence and developing a strategy to produce special players for the future. This has given me the chance to take 20 years of Coerver work and experience to the best players in the country. Playing with the best versus the best is key in making sure the players not only have the technical skills but the tactical, physical and mental skills to match. It’s our job as coaches to inspire and ignite player’s inner confidence and help them to reach their full potential.”

“One highlight of the trip to England was working and staying at the magnificent facilities at St Georges, as well as meeting Scottish Football legend Archie Gemmel who visited the squad as we trained in the build up to the game. Everyone remembers the great individual goal Gemmel scored in the 1978 World Cup when Scotland beat a great Holland team 3-2 with the Dutch going on to the 78 Final against Argentina despite our win. For me its goals like Gemmel’s against Holland that inspired me as a young footballer and encapsulated why I’ve taught the Coerver method to so many young players and shared my knowledge to other coaches, perhaps looking to recreate such memorial moments. Coerver can inspire the future generation we are all working so hard to develop. Players who can play with flair, freedom and confidence on the world stage and who can create magical goals”.