KINGSTON: The Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) extended its efforts to improve football in Jamaica through talent-development programmes among youth, with the commencement of a football coaching clinic in Kingston at the Dunrobin playing field on Red Hills Road. The ongoing football coaching clinic targets youngsters in two age groups 8-15 years and 15-20 years. This is one of the many centres being established islandwide by the state agency, which is targeting 5,500 youth participants with a projected 65 per cent increase within a five-month period. The all-island coaching programme focuses on training young talent in the fundamental techniques of the game. A holistic approach is taken with a combination of development in fundamental techniques, tactical skills, and providing players with the proper nutrition needed for the physical exertion associated with the sport. INCREASE PLAYERS’ SKILLS The programme focuses on teaching the game and correct techniques, to increase the level of skill among players while preparing them for advancement to the professional level. At the new clinic’s first training session, the young boys were instructed on how to control with their feet, kick, pass, shoot, and tackle. Team-building exercises were also a prominent feature of the seminar and included an introduction to game tactics. “This is really what is needed to develop football at the community level,” remarked Ian Andrews, INSPORTS’ administrative director. “Training in the fundamentals of the game is vital to developing players who will make an impact on the field. It’s not just about passion and raw talent, but taking an integrated approach to instilling discipline, teamwork, training for endurance, while providing instructions about the technical aspects to the game and from an early stage,” he added. “This is really what will lead to significant improvements in the calibre of Jamaican footballers produced at the professional level.” The state agency’s efforts are geared towards creating coaching clinics for all sporting disciplines, in tandem with Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange’s stated philosophy of developing sports at the grass-roots level.