Tony Henderson steers Grassroots football forward with Enfield Rovers


His aim is to establish a pathway for coaches to follow so that they can help youngsters develop into better players. With Canterbury Association based side Enfield Rovers as his platform club, Henderson is looking to work with coaches and teach them how to best coach their own players while also being available to select rising talent along the way.
The former Socceroos captain believes that one of the major challenges faced today is the lack of coaching the actual coaches receive which in turn reflects back onto the players.
?There are 1,200 players at the Enfield Rovers alone. With such huge numbers, it doesn?t make much sense to spend little time coaching the players,? said Henderson.
?What really needs to be looked at is how to create a program or a pathway so that your normal club coaches can follow and steer the players in the right direction.
?I am not looking to tell coaches that my way is the best and only way. I am simply providing a guideline that can be helpful,? he added.
Having made 27 full international appearances for the Socceroos in the 1980?s, Henderson knows what it takes for youngsters to reach the top level and believes the level of grassroots football has always been strong.
?If you look back we [Australia] have always had strong youth teams,? he said.
?However in the past 4-5 years, it seems as though the level has dropped somewhat and I believe it?s because kids need to learn the fundamentals before focusing on the skills,? he added.
Henderson?s approach will focus on structuring a program where each coach for each group knows what they have to focus on. Looking to begin the program with Enfield on March 31, Henderson will have everything on paper so coaches have something to fall back onto should they become stuck.
?Each age group will know what to focus on. For example from U/6 ? U/8 it?s simply a matter of keeping the kids interested, whereas from U/8-U/10 we will expect coaches to start teaching players technique,? said Henderson enthusiastically.
Although Henderson?s reputation means he could be coaching at a much higher level, the former Canberra City star is happy to be helping kids develop and be part of a club he adores.
?I guess I could have gone wherever I wanted, however I happen to really like Enfield Rovers and the way the club approaches football, so it is a pleasure to help them out,? stated Henderson.
?For me it?s not about money. It is about being able to sit in the grandstand one day for an A-League or Premier League match and see players whom I have been able to help improve via helping coaches,? he said proudly.
?It?s all about giving something back to the game at the end of the day,? he added.

-By Caetano Lima