What to know when applying for or taking up a coaching position.
Wherever your next role takes you, there’s some necessary questions to ask of your Technical Director, Head Coach, or Club Committee.
Most particularly is to know and understand your Club’s coaching philosophy and methodology along with the Club’s vision.
These can differ significantly depending on whether your Club falls within Community Development Programmes or Advanced Professional Pathways criteria.
If for instance you are working inside an Academy through the Youth or Professional Phases, a structured development plan will be shared with you based on the age group under your responsibility. In addition, the Head of Coaching will be able to support you with the ongoing Continued Professional Development so that you feel part of the wider team and comfortably deliver your piece of the jigsaw.
If your new coaching position is within a local grassroot community environment the role may be more simply to facilitate training to ensure players enjoy the many positive aspects that playing in a team can offer.
Regardless of the level and the aim of the Club that you are representing, it is still vitally important that every session you deliver is fit for purpose and that the needs and requirements of the players are met.
Community or Professional, along with the structure and culture of the Club will shape how you approach your role. As will your ability to use various coaching styles to support all your players.
It would also be appropriate to know the Club’s:
· mission and vision
· coaching matrix
· training curriculum
· playing principles
Mission and Vision
This may relate to the effective recruitment and retention of junior/youth players either based around high performance (elite development), or social grassroot levels. Both lead directly to your training and what is expected.
It will also be linked to what is seen as success e.g. is it based on achieving a marked improvement with players technical ability and overall playing performance or is it based on how successful the team is within the competition (winning)?
A well-structured programme will have a technical plan (curriculum) that is age related and cover the necessary range of coaching themes to cover over the full season.
A coaching matrix will create a systematic approach from which you can plan each session through the stages - warm up, technical content progressing into skill/position related practices, leading into a game structured practice (modified game or phase of play) which allows the learning to be extended from the previous components of the session.
An age-related training curriculum will set out the general structure of the technical plan and will often be broken into technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects. All are linked and need to be planned carefully to maximise the use of time e.g. number of sessions per week/hours of physical contact with your players.
The playing principles will also form an important aspect to the overall curriculum if the Club has a specific system of play that is developed through the younger age groups. For example, if the First Team play with a 4-3-3 formation it may be mandated that younger academy players are taught how to play that system. This will have a fundamental bearing on which players are recruited into your squad as they will need to have specific attributes to play it well.
Alternatively, if the Club has a different development philosophy that doesn’t determine a specific system of play, then you might play a formation that will benefit the team based on the attributes of your squad. The approach is different based directly on what the Club hope to achieve in the short, medium and long term.
Note: A Club with development programmes, or an Academy structure, and with players from Active Start to Adult, will have a range of training, coaching and playing methodologies but all should include a framework with similar principles and core coaching fundamentals across the coaching staff.