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?