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It’s a new season and as we know lots of players will be joining new teams, we always consider how players may feel but what about coaches working with new players?
This is something I have recently experienced, I went through many thoughts and feelings before, during and after that first session.
I had been coaching a girls U18’s development team in an elite environment for two seasons and wanted a new challenge. I wanted to know what it felt like to coach and manage a team of women, all different ages, where your mission was to pick up 3 points on the weekend, and your vision is to recruit and develop talent in order to gain promotion.
Ahead of the first session, I was feeling a little apprehensive, but excited, and started to consider how I would approach the players and what my coaching style would be.
My main aims were to get to know each individual, as I know how important that is when working with female players. Remembering, ‘They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’
I decided to take a step back at times to; observe the group to see how they interacted with each other and coaches, get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the team and individuals and work with coaches to get a further understanding of the playing philosophy.
Following my first week I could see there were a mixture of personalities to manage and figure out, my first impressions were;
Some players have been at the club for 5-10+ years and have become used to influencing lots of decisions
There were lots of young players who had a real interest in learning and wanting to get better
A couple of players gave the impression that they wanted to be there to ‘play’ rather than being ‘coached.’
My reflection was, there is lot of work to be done, however, the foundations are there to create a high-performing environment and a team that wants to succeed and push on to the next level.
I was really excited to get stuck in and started to think... ‘how could I add value as a person and a coach?’
The coaching staff across the club are great, however being the only female, I believe I can add real value to the team, especially when it comes to emotions and relationship building.
Working with the other coaching staff it’s important I understand what strengths we all bring to ensure we get the best out of each other and the players. I believe my role will be ‘good cop,’ providing players with individual feedback, giving a different perspective to practices, individuals and systems of play.
Lastly, sharing and leaning upon all my past coaching experience - Don’t ever de-value what previous coaching you delivered, there will always be many things you can implement and/or learn from.
For anyone starting a new coaching role within a female setup, these would be my 3 top tips.
Get to know the players, not just as footballers but also as people before you try to ‘change to the world.’
Understand what the club's vision is.
Work as part of a coaching team and understand your role within this.
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