Pre-season: the role of the coach

Posted: July 12, 2017 by genesisv2

Two footballers from rival teams racing towards a ball.
In a way, understanding the role of the coach is quite simple. The coach is there to guide a group of players towards their target; whether that is to master a certain playing style, win the league or simply have fun playing football.

But that’s the broadest possible way of looking at what a coach’s responsibilities are. Of course, to a certain extent it depends on what level you are coaching at. For example, a Premier League coach is likely to place more importance on winning than someone working at grassroots level.

You may have an idea of what being a coach means to you, but generally there will be a few core aspects that you should be aware of, regardless of the level you work at.

Respect

For your players to truly take on board your instructions and value your opinions, you’ll need to command respect. That means finding the balance between being an authoritarian figure and someone who’ll take part in the training pitch jokes.

Identity

“Identity is about values,” according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “Not only on the playing side but on the moral side, so they can carry through the generations. It is important for this club and the history of this club.”

You may not be in the position where considering the history of your club is a necessity but Wenger does highlight an important point. Identity is more than just how your team plays on the pitch, it’s also about how they conduct themselves as players.

Lead and motivate

It doesn’t matter how good a tactician you are, you’ll often find your team trailing. How you react to that as coach can impact how your team responds. There might be occasions when being angry with your players is necessary, but usually you’ll have to find the middle ground between frustration and enthusiasm.

As the coach and leader you must be the primary motivator of your team. When performance levels drop, your energy, motivation and drive need to act as a turning point for change.

Embrace failure

You can’t win them all. Even the very best managers lose their jobs in football – it’s just a part of the game. But those at the top of the sport have the maturity, personality and drive to keep going, understanding that you’re never too good that you can’t learn. If you fail, embrace that and learn from your mistakes.

Unfortunately there’s no training manual that’ll guarantee you become the next Arsene Wenger or Thomas Tuchel. But understanding your role as a coach in relation to your players and how they perceive you certainly won’t hurt your chances.

There are so many things to consider as a coach because, when all is said and done, how well your team plays, how hard they train and how often they win is down to you.

The better you plan your pre-season, the better prepared your players will be, and the better chance you have of being able to coach them successfully throughout the season.

For more football tactics, drills and training advice, download the full pre-season guide below.

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