When inviting young players in to the Academy, it’s always important to take a number of things into consideration. New surroundings. Being the new face. Not knowing anybodys name. Different training methods. Nerves!
The reason they’ve been asked in initially is they stick out playing for their boys’ club and somebody thinks they’re worth a look at. Once they’re in, as a coach, you have to make them feel welcome and give them time to find their feet.
After the initial settling in period, the coach can normally determine if the player will fit in with the boys and cope with the demands of training and games. I’m a great believer if you see something, even a glimmer, there’s something there to work with.
Once they are in and signed, the man management starts. You have to take into account each player is an individual, no two are the same. They all have different styles, different characters with differing layers of confidence.
The biggest thing for me is to build a trust, so players feel they can come to you to tell you something that may be ultimately impacting how they train & play as well as their general well being.
As they get older, different temptations arise in different forms, then your role as a coach becomes an ear for players who worry about mates, relationships, exams.
As ever in football, if everything is going well off the park, a player generally performs on it.
A coach can never underestemate their role off the pitch. They are a link between player and club, between player and school, between player and parent.
The easy part is being a coach. The important part is being their confidant.