Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Woven into the culture of everything at SK Football Coaching, the SK Way defines the behaviours, practices and attitudes of its coaches, players and parents.
Sat side by side in a Warrington coffee shop during the summer of 2017, founding members Joe, Peter and Ryan had an idea. Rain bashing against the windows; the weather was dull, but the mood was bright. What had originally been devised as a hobby, swiftly turned into a successful community-based organisation, designed to support the growth and development of footballers and junior clubs in the North West – SK Football Coaching was born.
From the early stages of three coaches, one session a week and a selection of mismatched equipment, to the current model: a multi-faceted organisation with over 200 registered players, the SK Way has remained SKFC’s guiding principle throughout its journey to becoming one the region’s most established names in grassroots coaching.
Upon viewing an SKFC training session or matchday, the method is clear: dominate possession, attack with a patient build up, maintain a fluid tempo all over the pitch and expressing creative freedom when appropriate; an equation that when added together leads to an exciting, meaningful and expansive style of play unique to junior level.
SK players are encouraged to be comfortable playing with either foot, understand where to create angles on the pitch to receive the ball under pressure and be able to use a range of moves to beat opponents in different situations - individuality is championed whenever a player pulls on the SKFC shirt.
“It is embedded in our philosophy, our culture and the reason we exist” explains co-founder and Director Joe Godfrey. “The SK Way stands for everything we do on the pitch, as well as off it.”
Perched on the touchline, Joe watches over an under-12 training drill: a ball starts in the centre circle and is played out wide. Swift linkup play sees players interchange positions freely. With every new pass the fibres on the onlooking coach’s neck twitch. Eyes staring forward with a disregard for blinking. The ball is worked to the by-line and cut back to the penalty spot, where a waiting striker places a side-footed effort in the bottom right-hand corner. Goal. A sharp “Yes!” is met with a short burst of applause. An attack as inventive and creative as it was precise. “Okay let’s go again” shouts Joe. The players repeat the move.
“We try to match the enthusiasm of the players when we coach” continues Joe. “The SK Way concept defines the values we operate by on a day-to-day basis: dedication, ambition, humility, determination and respect. Our aim is to progress players as individuals within a team setting.”
One of the key components in making the SK Way succeed is the commitment to working alongside junior sides, through recognition of their importance within the community and acting as an ally to them, not an enemy.
“SK Football Coaching are not a junior foot