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Youth Football - A New Coach's Experience

By pewsey, Aug 1 2015 08:36PM

We are lucky at Pewsey Vale Youth FC to have the support of our volunteer coaches and managers who give up so much of their time to help develop the skills and attitude of our players as they develop through the years.

One of these coaches, Colby Cain has developed himself from being a former youth player with the club, through taking his refereeing courses. Last year he became the coach for our U14 team for whom he was the youngest manager in his division in the North Wilts Youth Football League and quite possibly in the whole league.

Colby writes about his experience in coaching here. We are always happy to welcome new coaches to the club so if you would like to get involved please contact us.


I'm going to start this article by saying: Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it.

In life, when you embark on a journey, there will always be people who support you and people who don't. It's easy to remember the comments made by those who criticise your efforts but to become a succesful coach, you need to be able to forget those comments and work to prove those people wrong.

I started coaching aged 16, which was a big gamble for myself but also for Pewsey Vale Youth Football Club. When the U14's needed a manager, I was asked by one of the player's parents if I would be the manager. I'd always wanted to get into coaching and I felt that this was the perfect opportunity. I approached Nick Offer and Stella, who was the previous manager, and after a few conversations and meetings, I was soon on the training field as the manager of Pewsey Vale Youth FC U14s. When the season started I was 17 years old and the youngest manager in Division 3 of the North Wiltshire Youth Football League and possibly in the whole of the North Wiltshire Youth Football League.

I'm writing this article because when people grow up, becoming a professional footballer is what everyone wants to be, but not everyone gets the chance. Coaching is the next best thing.

I'm going to talk about my experiences of my first season as a manager and hope to make more people be interested in coaching.

No two coaches are the same, everyone has their own ways of teaching the game and as a coach you also need to be able to change your coaching style depending on your team. For example, in senior football, much of the training time is used to work on the players fitness, but from U6-U12 fitness work is not worth doing because the players are still developing physically.

When you start coaching you start thinking about tactics, thinking about how the champions such as Barcelona and Germany do it. I can guarantee that every coach has told his/her team that he/she wants them "to play like Barcelona". But it's not about playing like Barcelona, it's about finding a style of play that is right for your team.

If you are new to coaching, before thinking about tactics I suggest to have training sessions which will highlight players strengths and weaknesses. By doing this you can decide which players will be best in which positions and you can then decide which tactics you will use.

Training should be made enjoyable for the players because playing football is what they wake up to do on the weekends. There has been an increase in development divisions which helps players to improve their abilities as footballers and also allows them to enjoy the game. However, the divisions can't run and these players can't enjoy the game without having a coach to take control.

I'm in my second season as a coach and being a coach is a great experience which I would recommend to anyone. There will always be ups and downs in coaching and at times your teams moral may be down, but if you, as a coach, get your team through the bad period and get the players enjoying football again, there is no feeling that betters it.

Grassroots football is hugely influential on the success of the international team and this has been proven by Germany. Every four years the nation gets together and prays that England can win the World Cup. Although the chances of it happening are slim, we still believe. But for that dream of success to become a reality, players need to be coached from a young age, and we, as coaches, are the start of that success.

Colby Cain