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Rule One

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About Rule One

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  1. Welcome to the crazy world of junior coaching. Get your Level 1 done with the Safety and Safeguarding certificates and try and enjoy every moment. First off, where are you aiming to go forwards with the team? Are you aiming for long-term where you'll hopefully go up through the years with the team or just seeing how the first season goes? Best wishes with it all either way. What standard is your club? Are they Community, Entry or Standard Chartered? How is communication with them, are they approachable and are you comfortable with the way they operate? Will they back you if you need help in any way such as emergency cover for training, cover FA training costs (Level 1 Badge) and basic team (Kits) and training equipment (Medical bag, bibs, training cones/mats, set of balls, match ball/s, spare safety equipment. Are they the ones who are collecting fees/pay referees and attending league meetings? How well is the club considered locally and do they have ties with other local clubs or at least able to contact them to arrange fixtures. If they do that already, then you have a great base to work off, know where you stand with them and how they can and will support you. Furthermore, what does the club expect from you? Commitment and consistency are strong points needed for any team, barring emergencies, illness and adverse weather inclement can you be there for pretty much every training session and be pitch side at every game? It applies to the team and their carers/family/parents too and they need to understand that. How well do you know your team? Not just from a footballing perspective but on an individual and personal level too. It sounds daft but you'd be surprised at how many things go on when your team aren't in your hands. One week your best player is on top of the world and banging them in for fun, next week they're are kicking lumps out of another player or just not playing. Always let your team know your are approachable and can turn to you if something is wrong. Most of the time, I've found things to be very minor but I have coached teams where players have had family problems and football was their escape as such. Trust is key here. Do you get on with the teams carers/family/parents/etc? If they're not on board it can be a tough ask, these are the people who will influence your players and it only takes one bad egg for it to turn into a shit-show. Try to involve them in aspects that relate to the team but don't directly interfere with the team. Again, communication and understanding are needed. Take the time to explain to them about how you run things, how you'd like things to run in certain aspects (Training sessions/how and where to meet on match days.) and if you can agree a suitable discipline standard for what you'd consider serious incidents. (Fighting with other players, swearing at other players/coaches/referees and the rest.) The parents need to understand that its meant to be fun for the kids and if possible an encouraging positive environment where they can. With training, the emphasis from the local FA was Fun and a safe learning environment for all. You will know how you want to run things but always try to keep it fun and never shun an idea from a player. They'll be days or parts of sessions where the players won't want to do what your asking and the days of “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” are hopefully way far behind us now but I have found that if you're willing to demonstrate and explain why your doing things then it usually gets done with minimal fuss. Again, fun is a factor so try and trick them into learning things even when they think they're not. (Think noughts and crosses where they have two teams with coloured bibs/cones and they have to either sprint to a point or dribble a ball to where the box markers are to be put. It's an easy way to do fitness/acceleration techniques and improve their decision/thinking capabilities in a short game.) Also when training, always encourage and support the players, talk to them and ask them questions and try to make them ask questions as well. Be open to changing things up and try not to favour anyone despite of who they are or how talented they may be. Most importantly is yourself. How do handle situations where it isn't going right. How to handle hot headed people whilst also looking out for your players. How is your own fitness, health and mental health. Would you know when to ask for help if needed? It is time consuming, at some times a hard and thankless task but it is worth doing. I absolutely loved coaching and I'd do it all again if my body would let me but it is constant hard work, almost a job in itself but worth it. From it I got to some amazing experiences, me and my son got to share a stage with Shaun Goater and later down the line have training sessions with him. I bombed hard with my sons team and won a league with an older age group. From it all, we had one girl who was with Manchester City youth programme but unfortunately has since dropped out of, a lad within the Manchester City youth set-up and an extremely promising teenager whose has rocketed through the U-- age levels and has been playing with Manchester United U23's and trained with his full international team, I really he hope he breaks through to the first team or is at least given an opportunity to show what he can do. There's a ton of other stuff I'd love to go into detail about but I'm struggling to remember some stuff and I'm pushed for time. I have a file of coaching books/tips/pdfs and all-sorts on my computer, I will try and upload it at some point for anyone it may potentially help. Sorry for rambling on and good luck with it all.
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