While the players’ execution on the pitch is the end result, the planning done by the coach is the driving force.
Coaches are responsible for setting the strategy and tactics to guide how players set up and how this translates to delivery on the pitch as a team including team formation, and individual roles and responsibilities.
Thorough planning and delivery of specific coaching session in the weekly plan are done based on requirements of the team, ranging from physical conditioning to technical and tactical components to prepare for matches.
A competition coach and a development coach will obviously have a different focus, just as the coach working with young children or senior professional elite athletes will be significantly different. Nonetheless, there are still many aspects that a good coach must possess at every level.
1. Understand the rules and regulations
It is imperative that a football coach has a good understanding of the rules - you can easily access the rulebooks from various platforms.
2. Books, on-line coaching forums and apps
Continued learning is accessible through social media platforms, watching videos and downloading apps - all in addition to reading books. Our coaching apps are designed specifically as coach education tools to support coaches and their players.
3. Observe other coaches and their coaching style
Learn from experienced coaches. Observe how they operate, listen to their advice and gauge how coaches do things differently (good and bad) and find your own style. Being objective will also help you along the way.
4. Continue learning and be open to mentoring
There are many good coaches with vast experience who are ready and willing to share their skills with other coaches. It is invaluable to have someone who you can trust and rely on to learn from.
While mentoring is a great way for you to learn, it can also be useful to speak to other coaches from different sports and even people specialising in areas such as psychology, nutrition or medical fields.
5. Be a versatile coach
A coach should have a coaching philosophy that they believe in that reflects how they like their teams to play. Some coaches will tend to be more focused on the defensive aspects while others will prefer a more attacking focus where they rely on attack being the best form of defence.
This said, a coach must have an open mind and not be too rigid in their strategies and team formation. For instance, does the style of play fit to the quality of players at their disposal, or does the coach recruit new players simply to fit with the way they feel is the way to go forward?
6. Know all your players
A crucial part of being a successful coach is knowing all your players. When you know and understand each player, you will guide them into their strengths and know where you need to support further development. When the players believe in the coach, it leads to greater productivity and trust.
It is important to realise that all relationships are two-way and that it is vital that the coach is fair and consistent and doesn’t have favourites. Every player must be treated equally.
7. Attend conferences, professional development events, camps and clinics
These are continually available either in-person or on-line. Attending a conference, clinic, or camp, is one of the easiest ways for you to develop skills and broaden your perspective on football coaching. Football Associations and Clubs hold regular Continued Professional Development events. These are a great way to keep up to date with the latest trends and information.
8. Further your coaching qualifications
This is an important step for self-improvement. Even the first level of a coaching qualification shows commitment and a desire to be a knowledgeable coach. Being certified will open up new pathways as well as allowing you to be part of the governing body where you will have access to coaching resources.
9. Grow your players
One area that is common with good coaches is their ability to identify new talent and to support in the development of those players to maximise their full potential. Understanding the needs and requirements of each player allows for appropriate planning to support the learning of each individual player and then how they fit into the team.
Passion is one of the key drivers that propels coaches to work harder and smarter, and to keep on with the team through the good and bad times.
There will be times when things don’t run smoothly. Having a positive approach to find solutions is the key to a successful coaching career.
Players want reassurance. By being positive and encouraging the team breeds belief which in turn can help turn the more difficult times into better ones.
A coach is the leader. A good coach will be able to lead their players and guide them on the right path.
The coach must be able to observe strengths and weaknesses not only with their own players but also the opposition on match days. Without this the team cannot be guided to find the ways to beat the opposition.