DAVID Flitcroft has joined up with The Bolton News to try to help the town’s young footballers become better players in his coaching corner.

In his latest instalment, the Bolton-based Bury manager talks about schools playing a key role in developing our kids.

WHEN I set out on my coaching adventure, I was determined to become the best I possibly could be but I was so naive.

I thought coaching was about stopping teams scoring goals as well as training a team to be creative when attacking.

My journey has transformed my belief – that a coach has to be a mentor, a friend, a teacher and they have to make a positive difference to whoever he has the pleasure of coaching.

I look back on the influence I have had on a group of young people that I have coached for six years and it fills me with great pride.

They are a credit to themselves, their parents and our football club FC Strikerz.

FC Strikerz Galacticos under-12s played in the LFA final at Leyland last Sunday and represented our club and Bolton with outstanding excellence.

The football they played was controlled possession but they not only played with style but with great respect to the opposition, PRO Future FC It wasn’t punt it up the field or foul the opposition to stop them playing, it was football in the future.

The LFA must take great credit in staging such an occasion, I can only thank them.

They created a cup competition and day that all the children will remember for ever.

When I look back at my influences on my life and career it was at an early stage of my life that prepared me for my coaching journey and the children and men I teach My dad’s influence is far reaching and he gave me an incredible work ethic and a dedication to purposeful practice.

I teach all kids the John Flitcroft way, my mum taught me respect and values, and to always treat people with sincerity, true values that are passed on to kids being taught at Strikerz Academy.

Another major influence I had in my life was a secondary school teacher called Ian Briggs.

He was the PE teacher at Turton High School.

He was hard but fair. Tough love. He stood for great values he made us represent the school with pride, honour, respect and with a great appetite to work hard play, and win together as a team.

The hours he put in to all kids after school was unsurpassed.

You wanted to be in that school team. I couldn’t wait to play after school and represent Mr Briggs and my school team.

Mr Briggs left such an impression on me due to his mentor ship, he was inspirational.

I don’t believe as coaches we realise the impression and positive influence we can have over tomorrow's children.

There are some superb PE teachers who could have a similar influence over children they teach out there but they are constantly being let down again by the same thing that blights grassroots: funding, school pitches, coach education and sports facilities.

In this country we are always going round in circles.

These dedicated teachers want to mentor children and they volunteer their own time, but due to timetables, funding and level of importance, school football and sports are badly overlooked.

The games of football, I have witnessed are unrecognisable and the standard of football played and pitches played on is atrocious.

The environment set is not inspiring. There are scores of 15-0. The experience for some children to be on the receiving end of a drubbing is demoralising.

We as a county put no significance into school football and sports, I believe if we did inspire children in the field of sport we would produce greater players, sportsmen and women but also numbers in sports teachers, coaches, physiotherapists, sports scientists and fitness coaches.