Coach’s Corner; The player/coach relationship.
by Billy Hudson, FFG Head Coach.
Success as a football coach is often measured through results. Wins, losses, goals scored, goals conceded, and so on. However, success as a football coach must not be measured by these aspects at all. Success as a football coach has many more, deeper, and more meaningful parameters. Development of players individually, moulding players into good people, and giving your players an environment to enjoy and express themselves through football. These are all aspects in which success can be and should be measured as a coach. To develop a player’s character though, you must build and develop a healthy coach-player relationship. These meaningful relationships are an incredibly important aspect of someone’s life. A healthy bond between two individuals leads to confidence, respect, and trust.
I personally believe you can never help a player reach their full potential without a positive and healthy relationship with them. No matter the depth of coaching knowledge, no matter the plethora of drills written down in your notes, you will never unlock full potential without confidence, respect, and trust. This is why building a friendship with your player, is of the utmost importance. If a player respects you, trusts you, and believes in you and your ideas, they will run that extra yard for you. That extra yard may be the difference in scoring a goal or stopping a goal. A goal in which, the opposition has cut you to ribbons, and the tactics and shape have gone out the window for you now, and the only prevention of that goal is that sheer desire from the player to work that extra yard to get back and stop it happening.
So what may be someone’s view of success (wins, losses) can be altered through someone else’s view of success (confidence, trust, character building). As previously mentioned, the coach-player relationship is the building block for success within football. For an individual OR a team to achieve the most they can, there must be a meaningful and strong bond between them and their coach. So as a coach, take the time to develop brilliant technical sessions, that work on shape, tactics, and technique. But also take the time to engage with your players on a personal level. Sometimes an arm around the shoulder can make someone’s day. Sometimes that support and engagement can take your session up tenfold. Relationships with the player allows them to realise you care about them. With that care, comes trust and commitment.
A good coach will make his players see what they can be, rather than what they currently are.