Coaches - What is Your Role?

Coaches - What is Your Role?
Coaches - What is Your Role?

Football as a concept is a great game. 

It encourages teamwork, sharing, communication, skill enhancements, confidence and exercise yet there is something not quite right in the professional game.  Where and when do things change?

Young players kick a ball and realise it's fun.  The more they play, the better they get at the game.  At some point they will be 'discovered' and it's at this moment where the player exposes their soul to one person who will guide them - the coach.

Young people are impressionable and will listen eagerly to the words spoken, trying to make sense of what's being said and fit these words into their game.  Things like 'tackle hard', 'don't back out of a header' and 'remember the offside rule' are small bite sized bits of verbal information a coach will say without really understanding the impact on the young player.  Its easily done, an off the cuff remark in the heat of the moment in the coach's mind can be taken literally by the player looking to impress.
Although the coach is skilled in coaching football, a great coach will understand the lessons that will help the young player develop socially and into a respectful human being.

When a player fails to develop socially and have poor life skills they become unemployable.  Should the obvious happen and they fail to make the grade at the professional level, their chances of getting a decent, well-paid job fall dramatically.  The football coach has a duty to guide and mentor the young players not only on the intricacies of the game but also in life should the obvious occur.

The dream is to play professionally so there is no need to have another job and so a focus is lost on developing young players with life skills should they fail to reach the big time.  Where things do exist, I question the depth and sincerity in which these life and personal player development lessons are taught.  I spoke with a former academy player who was excelling yet he was let go without any warning, which left a very bitter taste in his mouth!  If anyone can educate me then I'm all ears.

However, when they reach the big time the player is now part of a world where corruption, scandal and temptation is all around and without proper guidance they will fall into the traps that lie all around.  Look at the Chad Evans case here.

One moment of madness can being a promising career to the ground and when that happens the player can find himself on a slippery slope to nowhere fast. The question here is who could have done things differently to stop the downfall of the player?

Football Coaches - it’s ok to push players to think the professional game is the only way forward and also give reality checks to those who won't make the grade but if you can add some life mentoring into your programs and really give a shit about these young men's futures, not only will you be doing yourself a great favour but the young player will remember you for the right reasons once he makes it to the big time.

Football agents:  blog written by written by Michael Nichols, Mindfulness Performance Elite Coach (Director at Mindfulness Performance)


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