The differences between coaches and managers and how British football MUST change

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Management is about manipulating resources to get a known job done. Burger king franchises hire managers. They know exactly what they need to deliver and they are given resources to do it at low cost. Managers manage a process they have seen before, and they react to the outside world, striving to make the process as fast and as cheap as possible.

Leadership, on the other hand, is about creating change that you believe in. My thesaurus says the best synonym for leadership is management. Maybe that word used to fit, but no longer. Movements have leaders and movements make things happen. Leaders have followers. Managers have employees. Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.

Change? Change is frightening, and to so many people who would be leaders, it seems more of threat than a promise. That’s too bad, because the future belongs to our leaders, regardless of where they work or what they do.

That extract is from Seth Godin’s book Tribes. Alter the word ‘leader’ for ‘coach’, and you have the blueprint of how a successful coach would think.

Change is required

British football needs change. No doubt in my mind – it has to change imminently. Everything points that way. The pool of coaches and players within this nation shrinks by the year. Why this is attributable to a number of issues; a self-entitled attitude, reliance on finance and plain laziness. No one person is to blame and yet, in the same light, we all are.

Becoming a great player may not be an option for everybody, but anyone can become a great coach. If you study and understand the game, with willingness to purposefully practice your craft, then my belief is that you can become an able coach. My own experience informs this opinion. Just revise those great coaches we have all seen, whose passion for the sport was not impeded by lack of skill on the pitch and whose success is irrefutable.

A common misconception is that in order to be a top coach, one must first be a top player. Of course it can help – it gives you a perspective and empathy to the game that can’t be taught. But whether this experience guarantees ability as a coach is dubious. A vast list of top players that have gone on to be abysmal coaches springs to mind. I know this because I’ve played with a few.

Wrong mindset

Predominantly, this transition fails for coaches, because they approach the position with their ‘player’ mindset. A successful player can easily follow the notion that once a coach, he can simply pass on his wisdom. Unfortunately, coaching is not this simple and the method falls flat. Failing this, the coach will move on to spending. Buying someone else, he’s told, will solve it. And when this fails? Time to panic.

The two roles are completely different disciplines. This can’t be emphasized enough. As a player, their destiny was in their own hands. If they played well, they controlled that. A game was as good as he gave. As a coach, success is sought through the success of others. Control is limited to your leadership skills. And to lead, you need followers. Screaming at someone what to do and how to do it, is not leading.

Once a player takes to the pitch, there’s no point screaming at him, trust me. We can’t hear you. We can hear you at half-time. We can hear you all week at the training ground. But on a game day with a crowd in? Save your breath. For this reason alone, I believe we must produce pro-active players. Not re-active. It is the coach’s job to educate the player, so that player can analyse and adjust in real time. A player’s ability to change and better himself on the pitch is the true signal of a coach at work.

Inspiring a generation

So how do we inspire a generation of coaches? A Ferrari in the hands of a Skoda mechanic will not compare to a Skoda in the hands of a Ferrari mechanic. The Skoda will improve. In the same light, a strong coach will improve a player. Unfortunately too many poor Ferrari’s have been ruined by Skoda mechanics.

The good news is, we still have a passion for football that is unrivalled anywhere else on this planet and I envisage good things.

We have the passion and the resources to build a tribe of coaches. We must take that passion and allow anybody from anywhere to be a part of that tribe. If you’re taking the time to read this, you care enough to make change and to join this effort. It takes only two things to turn a group of people into a tribe:

  • A shared interest
  • A way to communicate

The communication can be one of four kinds:

  • Leader to tribe
  • Tribe to leader
  • Tribe member to tribe member
  • Tribe member to outsider

There is no quick fix coming. There is no individual to rule the way and the FA is so out of touch its untrue. It’s up to us, the ones that care, that is on the ground and with a voice. Everything that has happened up to this point has harmed our national teams.  Those foreign owners and individuals in power are thinking about their pockets. The only way they would care for player development, is if that development saves them money.

As much as I hate to state it, it’s the hard truth. And I say the truth because I do care. I will make a difference. Maybe to my own son, perhaps to some kids in my area or even British players on a wide scale. This is a game that has given me so much. It would be selfish of me to continue taking and never give back. It is a duty to give what we take. Otherwise, what will be left for those to come?

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316 comments
sammygregz92
sammygregz92

Samdgregory@hotmail.co.uk joey great post I have my level one ciaching badge. I aspirations to become a high level coach. I would be gaply to get involved in the conferences.

mjc123
mjc123

mjc-1234@outlook.com

roberts89
roberts89

Love the post, as a younger guy who is still playing but who has aspirations to become a great coach, I would be very keen to get involved. As a general sports fan I feel this is a problem not just in football but rather throughout British Sport.

pj.roberts@hotmail.co.uk

robertwycombe
robertwycombe

Thanks Joey-I agree with you.I have a son who plays high level youth football (I won't say where),but it is clear that British coaches seem poor in comparison with the European or even American ones I have met.

I don't like saying it(I'm from a rough Shepherds Bush background), but there appears to be an anti-intellectual approach to discussing football in the uk. Standing at the side of a football pitch as I do so much you do begin to think about the game.I met a young Irish coach at the club where my son plays and he explained a few things following a very innocent question I asked(about playing a high line defensively) .He explained it quickly and precisely.I was amazed.But then I asked a couple of other coaches I know and either they did not know as much as this young coach ,or they just attempted to confuse me.The young irish coach  said your point about educating players to recognise situations on the pitch,mini-managers if you like.


My view is that if you cannot explain something simply and quickly to an adult with two university degrees then you probably don;t know what you are talking about.I find this happens a lot in England regards football.The lack of simple tactical understanding is a surprise, but men and boys who like football in England really,really do not like anything that requires serious analytical thinking.


In conclusion I think there is a cultural hurdle to be overcome before the situation will improve

cnelson210
cnelson210

Love this, currently coaching an under 8's team :) 

craig.nelson19@hotmail.co.uk

Craig Rose
Craig Rose

Hi All

I'm a FA level 2, YAM 1&2 coach and currently scout for Burton Albion FC and some of the problems I have encountered over the last ten years are below :

* Courses are very costly all of with is money took out of Grassroots clubs funds!

* Pro clubs take, take, take but what do they usually give back? From experience all I have seen to be given back is children's confidence destroyed by being dropped!

* You hit a brick wall after completing lv2 and Yam 2 courses and struggle to progress as you need to have access to elite players etc and the pro clubs usually want UEFA B coaches, the FA are blocking coaches progress in this country.

* leagues have different rules! surely ALL leagues in the UK should have the same set rules, formats.

* Too many coaches are in it for the trophies and are put under pressure by parents who want to win or will move their sons/daughters to teams that win everything!

* Good coaches try to develop but clubs are too fixed on league positions, wins etc no clubs like to hear we lost 3-2 but my boys are developing well which infuriates me.

* GR Coaches do so much and do it for free yet if they forget something simple like a late text to FA website or team sheet not submitted in time they are fined,why??? We have lives away from the game and work bloody hard but leagues like to fine you for anything all of which is coming out of grassroots funds again.

* The FA put all these stats out there saying grassroots is improving as is coaching but they never face facts that they are blocking today's coaches progress! for example for me to do my YAM 3 I have to travel AND STAY at SGP which is 60 miles away from my home at a cost of nearly £700, meaning time off work so that course now doubles in price due to earnings lost!!!!! why can't local FA's run more courses??

I could go on all year with problems that are ruining our game so any discussions with fellow coaches would be great.

Regards

Craig

Twitter name @craigyrose77

Email: quornfalcons@gmail.com

Garyudall
Garyudall

Been coaching youth football for 2 years now, I'm currently thinking about register for the level 2 badge. I witness week in week out some very bad coaching though (so FA coaching courses don't instantly make you a good coach) which is why I'd like to see and hear more on your strategy.

I believe I've got a lot to offer but also very willing to listen and learn much more.

So keep me posted.

Gaz

gary.udall@gmail.com

prosser_paul
prosser_paul

Agree completely I am Level 2 coach and a Sports tutor at a college looking to progress onto the UEFA B licence. Would be interested in getting involved in this. I am currently coaching an under 10's team and a men's Sunday side as well.

paul@prosserweb.com

Liam20133
Liam20133

Hi Joey, i'm a big fan and looking to get involved in coaching l_2009@live.co.uk

Keithlowfell
Keithlowfell

Hi Joey I commented on this excellent blog yesterday

I'm a uefa b licensed coach and at the age of 35 it's took me 8 years to achieve this but it's no good trying to rush through the coaching pyramid it's best to enjoy your badges and learn the game by practising your coaching ethos

To many coaches think by just having the qualifications you automatically fall into the elite group which is why as a country we are miles behind Spain holland in the way we approach coaching

I've read on this debate how a lot of people want to get into coaching but prices are high it's ridiculous the prices and the FA need to look at that but they won't if they don't want to help grassroots survive then why should that want to help there coaches ?

Like you say it's a money making cow such a shame

For everyone who wants to get into coaching just go to your local council civic centre then find the HOME ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CENTRE every council civic centre has 1 they will pay for you to do your badges it's just a shame it's never advertised and people don't know about the money that has been put aside for the public

I am a volunteer coach for both senior and junior clubs and also work for the FA part time coaching deaf and disabled performers and if any one would like any advice or help in becoming a coach I'd be more than happy to try and help you

Us as uk coaches need to help each other get us out of the current plight we find ourselves in for the good of our heritage and the sport we love

K.sheardown@yahoo.com

JordanHills27
JordanHills27

Elite coaches with novice coaches and novice coaches with elite coaches would be beneficial. Learning from each other at both ends of the coaching spectrum.


jbhills@outlook.com 

MichaelMcCann
MichaelMcCann

totally agree with this senitiment please email me I would really like to get involved michaelmccann1993@hotmail.co.uk   my email is and michael.mccann@kcl.ac.uk

jooe_k
jooe_k

Great piece Joey. 


I wish you would have written more on the harm of Results-only-minded coaches (Read managers) like Mourinho to the game (especially in terms of player development).

I read he employs Tactital Prioritization as his main coaching method i.e he teaches his players what to do in every phase of the game (Attack, defence and transitioning from both phases). < Great manager, mediocre coach! ( "Screaming at someone what to do and how to do it, is not leading").


On the other hand, Wenger's training sessions consist of 5-aside games; Allowing players to develop their instincts of the game on their own by the day. Thus developing talent extra-ordinarily while still adhering to Financial Fair Play (i.e not spending beyond our income; Thus, no debt) - GREAT COACH & GREAT MANAGER. IMO, best in the league ATM. 

pjlawrence
pjlawrence

I'm 17, currently doing my FA Level 1, and am intrigued to find out where the £150 course fee actually goes. It is evidently not being given to grass roots level, as I have seen no progression in the quality of facilities or coaching in my short career. I want to initiate the start of a paradigm shifting rhetoric in Football, but this is not a task that can be achieved by my efforts alone. I think it's commendable that you are endeavouring to effectuate a difference. However this is something that has to be done by the people whom have the authority to do so. Unfortunately, it seems they are happy to take their oversized salaries and, in turn, have sat back, in their multi-million pound mansions, and witnessed the labefaction of English football.

It would be great if you could get back to me, Joey at plawrence3@btinternet.com

Paul.

Marc_sardinha
Marc_sardinha

Fantastic article and great points throughout, I've been leading people in many different lines of work for about 10 years and always loved the development side of things, but never gone for any football coaching badges because of the cost. Marc.sardinha85@gmail.com

MarcDavis23
MarcDavis23

You make some very valid points Joey it is also that some coaches still coach when game is being played and vice versa this is detrimental , also think though that you can be over qualified as in football is a simple game but if everyone is doing all the same top courses it becomes robotic and the same as in AVB/Steve McCLaren prob great coaches but not managers and also in AVB case over complicate things.


Very keen on getting involved more have lost enthusiasm for coaching of late what with all interference and jobsworths at the FA, am Level 2 module 2 coach working in  grass-roots football a number of players i have coached have gone on to academy's get in touch please marcdavis2323@yahoo.co.uk

RATKIN
RATKIN

Hi Joey


Very interesting thoughts, My beef at the moment is grassroots football that is falling way behind due to the NGB & EPL AND the government taking it for granted. As you say the quality of our "raw materials" is diminishing by the year, we need to get the changes put in place ASAP.

Joey check out my blog would be interested in any feedback  http://ratkin442.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/what-are-the-attributes-of-a-top-coach/


Cheers

Rob Atkin

UEFA "A" Coach

carlosamigos
carlosamigos

Keen to hear how this develops. Good point regarding pitches and facilities. One of the main thing to progress in the senior levels is meeting certain criteria based on a stand etc, but doesn't worry about the pitch as far as I know. I know in Finland as well they have a number of artificial pitches 3/4G, and these were purchased with UEFA funding for all to use, mens, womens, boys and girls clubs, and I'm sure recreational as well. These pitches are also under heated and can be playable in conditions as low as minus 15 degrees. Which would make coaching more available.



In terms of courses I have always found them expensive and only have my FA Level 1 as I was put through the course by a club at the time and haven't had the money to commit to any higher courses. My question is where do you stand on coaches going down the university route, and what emphasis would you put on this? My degree was Sports Coaching (however I did progress into Performance Analysis. Something which very few coaches use to progress themselves!)



carl.cunningham@finalthird.co.uk


ashleytmh
ashleytmh

Joey,


Have been interested in going into coaching for a while since not being quite good enough myself to earn a youth contract but have struggled with how to get into it. I understand getting a qualification would be the first step and was looking into this earlier today in fact. However I know a lot of people who have taken these courses and said they were overpriced for what they actually gained from it. 


On my local FA website it states the following prices:


£150 for a Level 1 FA Badge - seems absolutely ludicrous to me, I am 20 with a fairly low pay packet in the grand scheme of things and to only get my foot in to door that is a fairly whopping sum. 


£350 for a Level 2 FA Badge - still stated as a basic qualification and not deemed quite good enough to make any career or living from this, so why are they charging £500 for the both of them?


In this economic climate not many people have the time to take out of work or that sort of expendable income to give to a hobby that won't give a lot in return (they state what level you should be coaching at after these badges - amateur level) 


Am I sounding pessimistic about these courses but what Level 1 & 2 offer you I feel would be better learnt through experience, and if they don't hold any sort of real prestige in the football world, why are we paying for them? There could be many people out there with a real talent for leading, motivating and creating our next generation of footballers yet they have no hope due to the costs.


I am most likely still going to do these courses as I see no other way, and maybe that's why the courses are priced as they are, because the FA know that people will still take them as us folk who are not already involved with football know no other way...


Anyway; i'd love to hear anything that is planned or happens from this - ashley.tmh@gmail.com

toontoon99
toontoon99

Hello joey, level two coach, level 2 Gk and youth mods aswell. Top article and would love to come to a conference regarding this mate. Let me know simple.99@hotmail.co.uk

Mike Paul
Mike Paul

I'm going to train to be a football coach just as soon as I can - I'd be very keen to know about anything you're doing Joey. My email is duralet@gmail.com 

Dazzer1977
Dazzer1977

Coached kid from 11 until they were 15. Played the great game for donkeys years to a decent standard too. Would love to make a difference for generations to follow. You just can't have a kick about like you used too. So many councils posting 'No ball games', there just isn't anywhere that don't cost an arm and a leg for the kids to let off steam. Count me in. Dazzer1977@gmail.com

qprdan123
qprdan123

Hi Joey, I have just moved back to the UK from NZ where I coached an U12 and an U9 representative team and have to say that the youth set-up there is far superior to this country. My boy plays U9 and is of good standard but has found his enthusiasm dwindle due to pushy parents and poor coaching as results are more important than improvement of the team. I would love to get involved.


danandjoelle@hotmail.com

michaelbeet
michaelbeet

on the verge of starting coaching anyway so this is really interesting to me, the system in general is a mess and it needs something drastic to change it.


email is michael-beet@hotmail.com

legeleje
legeleje

Joey

Couple of points heard the number of coaches theory a fewtimes now know Danny Mills feels the same way but has been stated on here the way that the FA make the courses into a money making racket to pay for Wembley,St Georges and the local FAs annual cup final p*ss up fund is plainly wrong,heard from an RFU official that their level 1 and 2 is free, it would be good to compare the cost from the countries mentioned.

To me the biggest problem is the pitches and surfaces i‘ve coached from u7s straight through to u15s weve done the technical stuff like futsal from u9s, worked on their touch our club has great facilities but for 2-3 months of the year the pitches are either mudbaths or non-usable we have only one 3g pitch in a massive area the cost to use the whole pitch is ridiculous.Ive been to Germany and Holland over the last few years and small villages have 3g or higher pitches with floodlights for eveyone to train and play on. I was in Holland last year where a brand new 3/4g pitch in a small village put in by the Dutch FA, its the balance thats wrong here we have supposedly one of the most profitable leagues in the world and the trickle down effect to our grass roots is appauling, we can coach all we want but a Cruyff turn in 4 inch of mud is impossible!

paulmontgomery7
paulmontgomery7

Great article! Would be extremely interested in the conference. monty_7@hotmail.co.uk

Jamesybruce
Jamesybruce

Yes please. bruce.jamesalexander@gmail.com. No badges but running a team in the Hackney & Leyton amateur league.

ammarr97
ammarr97

ammar-108@hotmail.com


Level 2 Coach Aged 16


FlashArrowfireRaison
FlashArrowfireRaison

Are you still looking for a conference venue? ollie@bouncepingpong.com if so.

iainbotterill
iainbotterill

Great article. Would be really interested in hearing more. 


iainbotterill@gmail.com  

jordie716
jordie716

Great article. I am a coach working in America as it is the only way to earn a living doing what I love. Many good English coaches over here in the States, doing the same thing.


jraper@mka.org 

phil373
phil373

Great article. Having played (albeit at a low level, park football & small-sided as a goalkeeper) I would love to learn to coach, goalkeeping in particular. The biggest obstacle for me is the sheer cost of coaching courses. How can it be right that it will cost over £300 to study for even Level 1 football coaching and Level 1 goalkeeper coaching? It is a very difficult amount of money to find when you are in low paid work.

willpaterson93
willpaterson93

Been looking to undertake some coaching, and gain my coaching badges. Really quite interested in the mechanics behind creating a successful football team, at any level. Would be good to be made aware of updates around this Joey.


My email is will.paterson93@gmail.com 

motayali
motayali

Hi Joey. Great article. A barrier for most grassroot coaches is the priority prof players get for the UEFA badges. Many people have told me that unless you are a professional player, it is hard to coach at a high level. I currently coaching an Under 13s side and I am also with Arsenal Soccer Schools. Wpuld love to attend your workshop. mtayyabali@hotmail.co.uk

Mikejames161
Mikejames161

Hi Joey

Good article I coach the local senior side and u7s and am due to start the uefa c licence this year.

Mikejames161@hotmail.com

Seegercd
Seegercd

33 and no experience but want to learn, improve and help

Carlseeger@hotmail.com

NJev
NJev

Really good read, some interesting points made.

I'm 20 years old currently coaching Hednesford Town U18. Level 2 coach.

nick.jevon@gmail.com

tjenni
tjenni

hey joey,

i am a coach for a U-13 team in Denmark, but im still interested, I'm sure I can use it over here. please keep me updated.  kenni1988@gmail.com

Craig Rose
Craig Rose

Keith

Could you possibly send me more details on the Home Economics Development funding please? My email is Quornfalcons@gmail.com

Cheers Craig

JordanHills27
JordanHills27

@ashleytmh Totally agree. I found informal qualifications such as these, generic and uninspiring. After completion of FA Level 2, I didn't feel like deserved the title of qualified coach. As much I want to be a great coach, it felt like anybody could stroll up and walk away with that qualification despite its extortionate cost.

Joey B
Joey B

@legeleje I've spoken to a lot of people who say the same thing about facilities. I agree the facilities must improve. It is going to be a case of lots of improvements over many things within the game. There is no one real weakness but many. Facilities, cost of courses, access to experienced coaches, players, incentives for clubs to develop British talent, game time, the list is very long. I wish I was in a position to change all but I'm not. One thing we can do mind is focus on controlling the controlable. Can I use my position to help others? Yes. Can I raise awareness? Yes. I intend to help as much as I possible can. Thanks for the post. 

Joey B
Joey B

@FlashArrowfireRaison A lot of people have approached me on this. At this stage I am trying to find some dates to put together, that might work. But I will certainly bare you in mind mate thanks.

Joey B
Joey B

@motayali Thanks for the post. Not really a workshop more of a Q and A, and hopefully some people smarter than me, giving their insights into the world of coaching and athlete development.


legeleje
legeleje

@Joey B @legeleje


Joey

Its a massive job there so much were behind with as i said our club has had a grant from Sport England etc but grass pitches in our climate is a problem, its the same every year ive done it, an 8 to 10 weeks every year

where games are either not possible or were playing on pitches that look like the a set from a first world war movie, i had a right winger running yesterday that looked as though he was running in brown custard.

As i said it seems in Holland all clubs had top notch artificial surfaces that games could be played every weekend without worrying about checking the bbc forecast, great surfaces to play on,true bounces and ball roll, and the massive advantage of floodlights to train midweek, some of these pitches we in the middle of houses where the local residents hadn't obviously complained like im pretty sure they would over here.

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