Back of the net! Livingston’s Marvin Bartley goes online for coaching courses

Livvy captain has been doing zoom classes to keep himself occupied during lockdown
Livingston's Marvin has been trying to keep fit by following exercise classes on YouTube. Picture: Craig Foy/SNSLivingston's Marvin has been trying to keep fit by following exercise classes on YouTube. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Livingston's Marvin has been trying to keep fit by following exercise classes on YouTube. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS

Marvin Bartley is keen. Tackling his coaching ambitions with the same enthusiasm as he wallops into a challenge in the middle of the pitch, the Livingston captain is making the best use of his time during lockdown.

Signed up for an SFA coaching course this summer as he charts a post-playing career, the coronavirus pandemic has curtailed the practical side of his ongoing education. But that hasn’t stopped him becoming an even better coach in the meantime, he says.

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Grateful for the internet, he has also been able to continue his football management course at Napier University, logging on to Zoom to complete classes.

“We have been assigned essays and we are going online. It’s not the same as being in the classroom but it does allow the boys to have a debate and finish the course.”

Technology has been the godsend throughout the lockdown, he says, opening up new ways of learning.

The SFA have said that they will utilise podcasts, upload online courses, video conferencing for guest lectures and teaching, as they strive to deliver as much of their courses as possible.

“The courses demand 100 per cent attendance but there is talk of online classes and you just have to log in and show your attendance that way and then we can try to fit the practical lessons in later, if necessary. I think we can all be quite flexible.”

And he has been swotting up himself, searching the web for new sites to sign up to as he builds up his portfolio of coaching sessions.

“The internet is wonderful. It has helped keep me busy and my mind active. As footballers we are used to routine and using a certain amount of energy. If you just sit around, you start to feel lethargic and a bit down in the dumps and it is no fun for anyone if we go into sulking mode!

“But instead of getting bored, I’m finding that I can use this time to improve myself. I’m reading more and I’ve been subscribing to coaching sites. There are so many and that has kept me occupied and helped me add lots of different sessions to my portfolio.”

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It has also helped him expand his mind when it comes to keeping fit.

“It is hard to just keep ticking over and none of us know when we will be back. It’s going to be at least June. Running for the sake of running is hard. I am motivated but it does get tough.

“But I’ve also been using YouTube to find HiiT [high intensity interval training] workouts and I’ve been enjoying doing something different. It has helped me focus. If you are just doing 5k or 10k runs then it becomes monotonous and you tend to switch off. But because I don’t know what is coming next I have to stay switched on.”

The SPFL have voted to end the lower leagues but the top tier sides will not move to call time on the Premiership until Uefa have had their say next week.

It will be a blunt finish to a season in which Bartley and his Livingston team-mates punched well above their weight.

But the early finish and the undetermined wait for things to return to normal does allow him and the rest of the students on the SFA coaching course a degree of flexibility to fit in the practical side of the studies, when they get the okay to meet up, even in smaller groups, with ample consideration to social distancing.

“Let’s be honest, regardless your plans, it’s not likely any of us will be flying off on holiday so if they are able to get some of us together in small groups and allow us to complete our course and move on to the next one, I think we will all be begging to get out there and do it. But, if we can’t and we have to be patient then I think all the boys and girls on the course will understand the circumstances.”