Coaching influences


I was having a conversation on Twitter yesterday with football writer Mohamed Moallim and we were talking about the promise shown by Frank de Boer at Ajax and how he’d served a great apprenticeship at the club, one which had given him every opportunity of succeeding when he got the #1 job at the Amsterdam club. Whilst have this conversation it reminded how important it is for coaches to gain exposure to as many different coaches as they can during their early development.

When I was starting out this time last year the first piece of advice I was given was to work with as many different coaches as possible. I haven’t been able to do it this season but next year I’m certainly hoping to work with or observe a number of different and more experienced coaches.

Mohamed was explaining how Frank de Boer had learnt a great deal about coaching and management from Louis van Gaal, a manager who Jose Mourinho also credits for some of his development. Apparently the way in which De Boer prepares for games is exactly how LvG did, whilst Mourinho claims it was Van Gaal who taught him a great deal about coaching & training.

When you read or listen to interviews with today’s (or even yesterday’s) top managers you will often find reference to those who they either played under or worked with. Guardiola is influenced by Cruyff, Mourinho credits Bobby Robson for developing his man management skills and Louis Van Gaal for understanding how to coach. The way Carlo Ancelloti writes up his tactics pre-match is identical to that of Arrigo Sachi and on a more national level Martin O’Neill will talk to anyone about the man-management skills he learnt from Brian Clough.

No two coaches mention the same attribute, everything from man-management, to motivation, to tactics and match preparation is mentioned so it explains exactly why young/new coaches will benefit from working with those who have more experience.

Opportunities to work with other coaches don’t land on your door step and so as a coach, at any level, you have to go out and make it happen. I’ve already mentioned to the club I work with that I’d like to do some additional coaching with another age group next year so I’m hoping that will help me continue to improve & develop. I’m also going to try to see if I can sneak in at somewhere like Oxford Utd and watch their academy coaches working. Anything which will give me new ideas and understand more about coaching at a youth level.

I hope that in future blogs I’ll be able to detail what I’ve learnt from different coaches but in the mean time I’d be fascinated to hear any examples from you – who inspired you? Who did you learn the most from? How did you gain that exposure or experience?

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About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

2 Responses to Coaching influences

  1. I have been fortunate that through my work with the QPR Ladies, I’ve been exposed to a number of different coaches, some who are fully UEFA A Licensed, to some who are just starting out. It’s essential for your development, and just having people you can bounce your ideas off is really important, even if you don’t see the game in the same way of have a totally different style.

    I think it’s important to believe in your concepts and philosophies, while exploring new ones. When I did my Level 1 some years ago, I came away asking myself questions like: “If I had to teach Level 1 and had to provide the syllabus, how would I do it?”. I could see things in there that I felt were important and not important, to things that were perhaps missing or didn’t need to be there.

    The problem with the syllabus is that it’s just a blue print, and you often see coaches, some of whom are very qualified, who simply follow it to the letter of the law and think that makes them an informed coach, yet I find that makes them very one dimensional and robotic, if you like. You really have to take the spirit of all that information and apply it in a way that makes sense to you, with your twist and style on it, and your way of thinking and working.

    I also see a lot of coaches doing drills that they’ve learned, but haven’t really applied a concept behind them, so they are literally just doing the blue print exercise. Sometimes that makes me feel like they don’t understand what or why they are teaching something to their group of players.

    I sometimes see drills that straight away make me say “ah ha”, in the sense that I realise what it’s trying to teach or can put my own spin on it to teach something that I think is essential and relevant to the group of players at the time. And sometimes you can stack them with other drills, to make concepts and philosophies that fit in with what you want to do. Often, you alter those drills slightly to make them work for you too.

    From my exposure to some fantastic coaches, I’ve seen a lot of intelligent drills, that can actually be dumbed down to teach crucial basic points for younger people, and again, that’s just working out what’s essential and key and then re-shaping it to work for a different age group or set of people.

    It doesn’t matter how qualified or unqualified a person is, you can learn from them. You can confirm the things you like or don’t like, see drills that you think, hmm…if I just add this or that, I can make that drill much more useful and so on, or even drills you’ve done before done in a better way.

    I also really enjoy seeing how other coaches address their group, either in training or on match day. You learn how others try to get their point across and can evaluate what you would have said and why – and this is where my style is most different to those I’ve met and worked with.

  2. Coachandy says:

    I have had the pleasure of attending a couple of workshops run by John Allpress (FA head of National Player Development) at our club. An absolute inspiration for coaches working with kids, opens your mind up to thinking like kids who want to play football., Rather than football players who want to be in a team.

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