Hi, I’m Harry Cosson! A UEFA A Licensed Coach with years of experience coaching with different age groups and abilities. I currently live in Spain and work at the La Manga Football Academy. In my early years I was brought up in England before moving to Spain with my family. I hope you enjoy this blog piece, any questions please comment below.

A couple of days ago I got asked this question on Twitter and it got me thinking. Straight away I was engaged and decided to flip it around to be able to get a first answer from personal experiences, which coaches did I believe in as a player?

We all have preferences of philosophy in football but it´s how the coach puts the message across what makes us believe in why we should give it 110% every week and every training session. I remember as a player that there were coaches that didn’t make sense or could´t answer the players questions, straight away you have nearly lost the player.

The way you come across the first day you meet a team… I remember a psychology teacher asking me on one of my courses – What do you do when you introduce yourself as a manager? He got two or three coaches to answer and they all had similar responses… “Hello I am going to be your manager for the season”, “I want everyone here on time” , “We are going to train hard to get the results we want”…. etc. Not many of them considered the players opinion at all.

As a person, coach or player we don´t always know what we want but we would like to be considered in some of the decision making. That is why we hate certain things that are forced on us like chores, school or even walking the dog. Now if I find a reason to do those chores or have even chosen which chores I would like to do or be a part of the end result would be much different.

Going back to the introduction of a coach at the beginning of the season:

DON´T ASK FOR THINGS YOU DON´T GIVE!

  • If you ask them to be on time, get there before them.
  • If you them to look after their stuff, look after your stuff.
  • If you want them to work hard, you need to be working hard from their eyes.
  • If you want them to be honest, create an honest atmosphere.
  • If you want them to play in a certain way, you need to explain it in a certain way they understand.

Another big factor I believe in is adapting to your players needs. I believe you can have team talks, groups talks and individual talks, and this doesn’t´t mean having a chat with your best players, it means setting individual and collective objectives for everyone in your team. Everyone needs to feel important if you want your players to follow in your direction. 

As Alex Ferguson said, “If I were running a company, I would always want to listen to the thoughts of its most talented youngsters, because they are the people most in touch with the realities of today and the prospects for tomorrow.” We have to understand we are all continuously evolving, everything and everybody around us and it´s necessary for us to keep in the new trends and understand new possibilities to be able to stimulate our players and engage their attention. This is difficult when you fix your team into an inflexible way of working or have a closed mind in listening to your players.

I also remember reading about Pochettino in an article, who always lets the players get changed with their music on with no staff in the room. This gives players space and encourages them to engage between one another showing trust in being able to prepare for the game on their own, without a dependence of motivation coming from the highest voice of the coach.

Some coaches try to set standards and principles by  “respect through FEAR” and this could be the wrong atmosphere to create. The players might do as you say, but they will never think for themselves. They will never trust you to express themselves or even ask you a question as they will not want you to have a go at them. I believe the coach has to find ways to engage with all players, and don´t get me wrong, if a player doesn’t´t want to be there, take the negativity out of the session. But always ask yourself before taking action, is my session maybe not exciting enough? , can I make it more interesting?,am I talking too much?, am I making sense?… and go ahead and just ask them. Get players involved in the decision making, make them feel a part of the TEAM.

 Here are some key qualities I believe you need to show players for them to believe in you and gain their trust:

  • Commitment and passion, your teams look up to you and if you want them to give their all, you will have to be passionate about it too.
  • Honesty and integrity, without it, no real success is possible.
  • Good communicator, until you clearly communicate your vision to your team and tell & show them the strategy to achieve the goal, it will be very difficult for you to get the results you want.
  • Decision making capabilities, decisions taken by leaders have a profound impact on masses.
  • Creativity and innovation, a leader must be creative and innovative at the same time.
  • Empathy, Understanding the problems of your followers and their feelings.

Thanks for taking time to read this blog piece, I hope you have enjoyed it and has also given me time to reflect on my coaching experiences and how I try to make players believe in my approach. 

Harry Cosson 

Follow Harry on Twitter & Instagram – @coachcosson