If football is going to progress technically in this country, it will probably be up to individual coaches. So what makes a great coach?
This is an internal characteristic mixed with experience, because results feed the confidence and there is a nice feedback loop.
But some coaches can go for years without results before blooming as a coach and in that case you are running on purely internal confidence. Plus, results are always the coach’s fault, according to club committees the world over, so you are first to go even though you may have had zero influence on recruiting.
Having a clear style of play
Football’s objective is to score goals, not run around in a rectangle, so teach kids strategy and set them up from a young age.
Isolate positions and teach strategies around each individual position. This doesn’t mean copying a style entirely like a 90-minute press, as this won’t last more than ten minutes, and then the other time will score six goals as your team will be too tired to run.
But you can take parts of the press and when the strikers have the ball, the whole team pushes out. When midfielders are attacking, occasionally a defender goes up as part of the attack.
If all else fails just use a 4-4-2 and chuck the worst players on the wings as you hardly ever score from crosses and you have the centre back to cover the right or left back.
If you have a good goalie, centre defender and striker, you will be okay for most seasons.
Work with what you have on the day
In July when it gets cold and you have three players rock up to training, all your plans go out the window. You may want to spend a session on defence but your defenders are on holidays or busy playing Call of Duty.
Preseason and early season is the time to start with a clear strategy and take it through to the end of the season. Don’t wait to instil a strategy.
Fitness is important but doing endurance running in January is pointless if you can’t score a goal in July. Long preseasons are a just good way of injuring people. Spend time on executing strategy.
Train how you play
Don’t do stupid five-to-ten-metre drills. A football pitch is big, so use the whole pitch or at least half of it for drills. Train what you want the players doing on the weekend.
Players have to understand how to weight a pass. No one ever does quick, five-metre pass in a game unless your team is dominating the season and is going to get promoted anyway.
Also, strategy on a white board is completely pointless. Train the strategy on the pitch and train it regularly each week.
Don’t be an old-school drill sergeant
The days of yelling and breaking things are long gone. Be an example for your team and be pleasant to be around.
The season is long. If results aren’t going your way, stick with it to the end. The break in between the end of the season and pre season will let you recharge your batteries. It may not always look like it, but you do leave an influence on the players and the community so thank you.