Danny has been coaching in the professional environment now for over 15 years, during this time he has worked at Chelsea, West Ham United, Charlton Athletic and Southend United; where his experiences include Lead Foundation Phase Coach, Lead Youth Development Phase Coach and a Head of Coaching role. Danny currently holds the UEFA ‘A’ License, Advanced Youth Award – Professional Development Phase and I’m studying the UEFA Pro License.
1. What book(s) have greatly influenced your life?
– Mindset – Carol Dweck
– Start with why – Simon Sinek
– Black Box Thinking – Matthew Syed
2. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?
Failure has developed me the most over my career, it was something I feared both as a Player and in my early years as a coach; however I learned very quickly that it becomes the best form of development. Once you understand what failure really means and how it actually represents learning you must embrace it. This is the environment I create for both my players and staff, an environment where failure is met with a positive outlook and used as apart of their development as opposed to an opportunity to ridicule.
3. In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
The Biggest area that I have developed over the last 5 years is the importance of Individual Development. I have always looked to work on each individual player but this is now at the forefront of my philosophy in Youth Development.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring young coach, what would that advice be?
To ensure they continually look to develop, watch other coaches, observe sessions, read book and obviously look to gain new qualifications. I have worked with so many coaches that have just sat still and assumed that they know enough to continue to work at a high level. We all know that the game continues to evolve.
5. What bad advice do you hear most from your area of expertise?
I would say that there are still coaches, managers and parents out there who stifle young players with regards to expressing themselves. They don’t allow the players to take risks; which has serious ramifications to the player’s development. My question to all of the above would be, “How do you know what they are capable of if you don’t allow them to try?”
6. Who, in your life, has inspired you most? (and why)
I do not feel I have had one person who I would say has been the most influential because there have been several. My Dad was the first person who inspired me to become a coach, he invested in my whole career as a player with his time and then when it was clear I needed to find a new career, he helped me financially to get started. I have worked with some of the best developers, Steve Avory, Tony Carr and Paul Heffer all had a hand in mentoring me.
7. How would you best define a coach?
A coach is a Educator, Mentor and Role Model, their job is to create an environment where players can develop and flourish; understanding that each player has their own needs and requirements. It is imperative that a Coach works to become an expert in their chosen field as this will build trust with the players, if a player knows that you don’t really know what you are taking about they will not buy into your philosophy.
8. What do you do for your own CPD?
CPD is very important to me and I use various ways in which to educate myself. I’m fortunate that I have built a good network or contacts within Professional Clubs; this has allowed me to spend time with the staff as well as work with the players. I have visited clubs abroad at both 1st team and youth level to gain another perspective on Youth Development. The game is always evolving; therefore we must continue to evolve our selves.