Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Why do you want to be a Football Coach?

1.      For me the first question should be why do I want to coach?
2.      Is it for me, the players or both? 
3.      Should I continue learning? 
4.      Who should I learn from to improve and how can I improve as a coach?
5.      Do I stop learning once I am qualified?
6.      How would I like to see the game played?
7.      Which team inspire you as a supporter of football?

This blog covers parts 1 to 4 shown above.  The next blog will cover parts 5 to 7.  I will also try to include a quote of the day and maybe the odd video and/or session of the day, recommended reading or recommended websites.

You can also follow me on twitter @techniquewins

I am a youth coach working in England, UK.  I have had personal views on coaching and the organisation of football in general for some time but my only outlet for the joys and frustrations on my day-to-day experiences have been my family and close friends.  I am sure they are either bored and/or don't quite get where I am coming from sometimes and have found twitter to be a great outlet for my ramblings!  I hope this blog will provide a bit more detail and that those who read it and are involved in coaching find it interesting.

1. Why do I want to coach?
When I started on my current career path I asked myself where I wanted to be and why.  I never had the ambition to work in the senior professional game as a manager.  When asked by my first course tutor I said ultimately I wanted to work in some form for a professional club academy or centre of excellence.  My focus has always been on youth development in whatever form this takes.  This can be working on fundamental movement skills with early primary school children with no football specific element through to a football specific session with talented and accomplished youth footballers.

2. Is it for me, the players or both?
This might seem a simple q&a.  Of course it should be for both but in what order?  I would argue that if you train to become a professional coach then the players are your primary focus but you should not be neglected either.  Unfortunately, there are those who see themselves as the next Jose Mourinho or are living their dream through their son or daughters game, and lets not forget it is their game.  Even professional youth coaches need to question why they are coaching.  If they see it as a stepping stone to the senior men's game I believe they are in the wrong job.  Youth coaches should be just that and not putting on sessions to showcase their own coaching skills.  I will talk about this in future blogs, as the financial rewards for youth coaches might be the reason for this attitude in some.

You as a coach should always strive to be up to date, always learning from others and never assume you have got all the knowledge to coach your team, whether that be your local Under 9's, school team, academy or centre of excellence players or an adult 11v11 team.  The best thing I do in coaching is watch other coaches.  Over time I have seen good, and bad, male and female, all of whom have helped me.

3. Should I continue learning? 
I have great respect for the number of volunteers involved in youth football and the cost and time commitment it can take to become qualified.  However, I believe you owe it to your players and yourself to be a sponge with regard to your coaching knowledge.  Even if you have completed your Level 1 coaching certificate or your youth award module 1 why not set yourself a target to go further?  If you can't afford the time or money then get access to the plethora of information online to improve your coaching.  A lot of this is free if you know where to look and even if you do need to pay, ask your club (it is after all to the benefit of your club's players and potentially other coaches).

The FA have now set in train the licensed coaches scheme so it will be mandatory for licensed coaches to have relevant continuing professional development.  This, of course will only work if it is readily available and affordable but can only be a good thing for youth development in my view.

4. Who should I learn from to improve and how can I improve as a coach? 
I have noticed that in my career so far I have had a number of unofficial 'coach mentors'.  These are people who I have observed coaching in various situations from a Sunday league 'dog & duck' manager, school PE teachers, academy and centre of excellence coaches, course tutors, men's and women's football managers and coaching colleagues.  These have  all been positive mentors for me in so far as I aspire to be like the best of them and try my hardest not to be like the worst of them.

When I say try my hardest not to be like the worst I constantly self evaluate what I have done or said, especially with the youngest players.  I never assume I am perfect and have all the right answers and always try to remember that it is a continual learning process.  Each time I see another coach work I can guarantee I pick up a tip (good or bad).  There is plenty of ego in football already, try not to let yours override the primary objective of improving your players.

Recommended Reading - Football for the Brave By John Cartwright.  I have found this to be one of the most insightful views of football and coaching in England, superb read.

Quote of the day - A team will always appreciate a great individual if he's willing to sacrifice for the group. -Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Video of the day - Andrés Iniesta Luján

No comments:

Post a Comment