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Reflections from the FA Leadership Academy 2023: Building Confidence, Connecting Identities, and Achieving the Impossible

02 August 2023

Yasmeen Zamane, from our Rising Leaders Programme, attended the FA Leadership Academy FALA 2023 and shared their experience.

Today is Monday 24th July 2023 and today is the first day of the FA Leadership Academy 2023. Arriving at Walton Hall I was nervous as I didn’t know what to expect from FALA, but once everyone arrived and we got put into our groups I was less nervous as I already made some friends while waiting to be put into groups.

The first activity as a group was getting to know everyone on your team, so we went around the group and introduced ourselves by saying what our name was, how old we were, what our involvement in sport was, and an interesting fact about ourselves. When it was my turn I was anxious because I don’t like speaking in a group and I get shy if I don’t know the people in my group but once I introduced myself I was no longer anxious and enjoyed the first activity.

The second activity we did was a workshop which was led by Tiara and another lady which was about our mind and body, growth and fixed mindset, how to control our moods, and breathing exercises. The first task we had to do was to do a self-portrait of ourselves and add what we think made us ourselves for example a smile because I bring laughter to people. The second task was to fill out a sheet that asked what you want to start doing, what you want to stop doing, what you want to do less of, and what you want to do more of using the keywords which were mind, body, response, and mood. For example what I want to do more of is to make my session plans more detailed, gain more confidence, self-reflect, have more gratitude, and make more friends and network with people. The third activity was that we had to build a shed out of paper but each letter meant a different thing. (sleep, hydration, exercise and diet) and explain what we do the most and what we do the least.

The second workshop we did was led by Nayim and Saleema which was about personal leadership philosophy and leadership in general. We did a range of different activities. The first task we did was that we had a bunch of pictures and we had to put them in order from one to twelve and decide as a group who was the number one leader and throughout the numbers to twelve. In the second task, we learned about the Johari window and then finally Nayim spoke about his personal leadership philosophy and explained it in detail then we wrote things down to remember what we needed to write about our PLPs.

The last workshop we did was we played a few games outside with different members. While we were doing that I felt very included and happy as everyone got along and we all had fun doing each activity.

Today is Tuesday 25th July 2023, it's the second day of the FA Leadership Academy 2023. Today overall has been really good and inspirational as well as interesting. I felt so intrigued and engaged.

The first workshop that we did was about communication, first impressions, conversation, and listening as well as building relationships. We did each one of the above in sections so the first one we did was conversation, in which we had to speak to the person next to us who we didn't know and have a 30-second conversation about ourselves and introduce ourselves to our partner, things I included was my position in football currently, different programs eg, FA game changers and rising leaders getting an award for my work in the community. The second one we did was communication and the different ways we can communicate for this one we went outside and we had to get a balloon with our partner and get it into the goal which had different sections on ways you can communicate. We did things to build relationships and the influence we have on other people in our lives.

The second thing we did was attend the graduation ceremony for last year's FALA attendees where they handed out different awards and had different people speak about their experiences. To, the one that stood out to me was one of the attendees who managed to create their foundation and inspire young people of a certain minority in her community it is similar to what I want to do and while listening to her I felt so inspired by what she had done and so encouraged to do my dream, another speaker I felt so inspired by was Manisha. Manisha spoke about how she went on her journey with football and how she created and helped with teams and getting into football even though it wasn’t known for women to do football or even play while she was speaking about her journey I felt so happy and inspired by what she had to say.

Today is Wednesday 26th July 2023, it is the third day of the FA Leadership Academy 2023. Today has been eventful and inspiring as well as jam-packed and fun.

Today we had a company called Fieri Leadership and throughout the day we did various workshops and activities. Throughout the morning we did different workshops. The first workshop we did was with Sarah and in that one, we learned about fellowship where we had to go into groups and write what characteristics are needed for leadership and followership after we wrote down our ideas as a group and listened to each other's ideas and opinions and spoke about each one then we looked at a model of fellowship which included critical thinking, low thinking, high participation, low participation and exemplary. The second workshop was with Al who spoke about leadership using Formula One as an example and we spoke about the different roles and how we can be good leaders. The third and last workshop was with Harry who by far was my favorite workshop out of the morning, Harry shared a bit about his experience in the military as well as his personal life where he lifted a Tyre for 33 hours. He then spoke about achieving the impossible as well as celebrating. The success of your own no matter how small or identify someone who does celebrate your successes. He then took us outside where he had a slab of wood and he showed us how to break the wood in half with our bare hand he then chose 5 people to do it and I was one of them, it was really fun and the way he spoke about achieving the impossible and celebrating your successes and also breaking the wood made it my favorite workshop.

After lunch, we then went back into our groups with our leader and went off to do various leadership activities and we all took turns being the leader. The first activity was interesting as we split into three teams. The first team were the leaders, the second team were the designers and the third team were the builders. The leaders and the designers had to communicate through a radio and then the designers had to be blindfolded to get to the builders while sending messages on paper to them to build a robot but the designers couldn’t speak to the builders once they gave the message. I was on the designing team and we took turns being blindfolded and making our way across the field to get to the builders and communicate through the paper and bringing it back to the group. In the second activity, I was in charge as well as someone else in our group as we had two different activities going on at once. The one that I had to lead was that we had to get a barrel over a certain point without it touching the floor and we could only use the rope or sticks of wood. So we as a team decided what the best option was discussing overcoming opinion and deciding which one was the best and once we came to the right decision we did it within the time limit. We then. Went to help the second group with theirs. Once we finished that activity we did a debrief of what went well and what we could improve on. after that activity, I did an interview where I was asked how was my day going, what type of activities we had been doing, and what I think of FALA in general. We did four more different activities throughout the afternoon and once we did them we came back to the room we were all in and figured out was the winner which was unfortunately not our group but we all had fun doing it anyway.

More information on AoC Football Development Programmes here.