Youth Council Officer Attends FA Leadership Academy 2017 at St Georges Park

Last week The FA National Youth Council hosted the 2017 FA Football Futures Leadership Academy at St George’s Park

Devon FA sent Josh Ballard (aged 17) from Devon FA’s Youth Council to attend the 4 day camp, as a reward for his fantastic work in grassroots football over the last 3 years on Devon FA’s Football Futures programme, as a coach in a local club, a Level 7 referee & supporting participation football programmes in his school.

Josh has written about his experiences while attending the Academy which can be read below.

Day 1

Personal Leadership Philosophy workshop – I learned about how to develop my philosophy, what a leader is & understand & value who inspired me to lead in football. From this, I have developed my set of values as a leader in football & what my core beliefs are when working with young people. I want to ensure that I am adaptable as a coach, to work with different ages & abilities & be reliable as a leader with the partners I work with.

Reflective Practice workshop – here I learned about how I can continuously improve my practice as a young football leader. When I return to Devon, I plan to complete my coaching awards, & with this, I will reflectively write about my experiences when coaching after each session. I would also like to have a mentor support me in my coaching practice, to challenge me on what went well & what could be done even better, after a session.

Day 2

Relationship Management & Communication workshops – here we learned about working with & leading different groups of people & providing inclusive roles for all. In terms of communication, we learned how to communicate effectively & plan what is being communicated, whether it is inducting a new volunteer leader, or me applying for a role in football or wider work. It was great to have an insight into this with a correspondent from BBC.

Day 3

Outdoor Leadership Activity day – on this day we left St Georges & went off site to an outdoor education centre in woodland. We undertook 3 physical activities across the day, focussing upon active listening skills, teambuilding exercises & effective leadership in different scenarios. It was fantastic to work with different people from the academy who I hadn’t met during the week, & apply some of the earlier workshops from the week into a practical environment.

Day 4

Supporting the Community Game workshop – here we learned about how we can support our local grassroots game & have a strategic role in football. Examples included supporting a local youth league & taking up roles here or in local clubs. It is vital that young people support the grassroots game & are allowed to have a say on the game the play. My first role might be to support an experienced member in a league to gain experience.

The week closed with a learning & development plan for the next 12 months where we will work with our regional representative who will support us with reflective tasks & actions when back working in our community football & with the county FA.

I had an unreal week at St George's Park for the FA Leadership Academy - learnt so many new things, meet so many new inspiring people and took another step towards my final goal! Thank you to everyone who's helped on the journey so far can't wait for it to continue! "Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up" I am excited to reflect on the week and then set out a plan of action to share what I’ve learnt with the CFA and Youth Council in order to have a measurable impact in our county over the coming season.

To read more about the Football Futures programme in Devon please visit


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