#Member associations

Wales' Dave Adams: Developing an effective coach education pathway

Dave Adams, 31 Aug 2023


The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has become renowned for its coaching pathway. In this article, FAW's Chief Football Officer Dave Adams explains some of the components contributing to its success.


  • Integrating mentoring and in-situ support to coach education programmes 

  • How ambassadors can help build credibility for a coach education programme 

  • Linking a national football philosophy to coach education

Multifaceted coach education

Reality-based learning, one-to-one support, and mentoring are helping the FAW move towards their aim of becoming "thought leaders" in coach education, says Dave Adams, FAW Chief Football Officer.

"We're very big on this notion of reality-based learning and also spend a lot of time on one-to- one mentoring on our elite courses," explains Adams, who was FAW Technical Director between 2019-2022, before taking on the new title of Chief Football Officer.

"We try not to take high numbers on our courses at the elite level and keep it quite manageable in terms of the number of candidates. So, we often look at one educator to four candidates. What that means is that we can give a lot more individual feedback and support, both on course but we also recognise the value of in-situ mentoring in clubs."

Although Adams admits that the approach is "resource intensive" he feels the benefits outweigh the costs. "Our approach at the elite level is obviously resource intensive," he explains. "But we feel it is one of the unique selling points that we are able to develop coaches in their own environment where they feel most comfortable."

The FAW have attracted many leading coaching names onto their coach education courses, in turn, helping the association to successfully market and promote their offer, explains Adams.

"I think getting people like Roberto Martínez and Mikel Arteta, and others of that level of credibility, has really helped to elevate our profile. Those coaches have been absolutely advocates of our programme across the football family and they send people on to our courses. We've obviously generated interest because of that."

Adams explains that successful elite level courses have a direct impact on the grassroots level of coach education.  "With any successful coach education model the more credibility you get helps you to develop a brand," says Adams. "Then the grassroots programme becomes more successful because people have confidence that you're developing these world-class coaches. 

"Because of that it has a knock-on effect to your grassroots infrastructure and also your commercialisation opportunities. There is the potential to promote your courses and conferences across the globe really. We really want to be "thought leaders" in this space and we want to roll-out conferences to international markets. We feel that would put Wales and our coach education on the world stage."

Linking national philosophy to coach education 

In 2016, the FAW launched "The Welsh Way"Wales' national football philosophy. Part of Adams's role has been to oversee the integration of the key philisophical messages into the FAW coach education pathway to ensure consistency of messaging. 

"Part of my current role is to ensure what we call our Welsh Way links into our coach education departments," he explains.  "We really want to make sure that what we deliver with national teams is also fed back through into our wider stakeholders via our coach education courses."


  • Individualised coach education support can be achieved by utilising individual mentoring and in-situ support 

  • High profile candidates can act as ambassadors for the quality of your coaching programmes 

  • Ensure messaging and approach is consistent across national teams and coach education 


  • What ration of candidates/educators operate on your courses? What can be done to further individualise the support you offer? 

  • How well do you utilise high profile candidates to promote your courses? Which other departments can help you with this? 

  • Does your national football philosophy align with your coach education programme? 

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