I have a constant urge to develop myself by expanding my knowledge base. This has always been part of my persona and is enhanced when I am surrounded by like-minded individuals. This aspect of my character governs all my engagements, including education, coaching and tactical writing.
1. What book(s) have greatly influenced your life?
I came across “The complete guide to sport motivation” by Ken Hodge when I was 14, and this was my introduction to Sports Psychology. As well as sparking my interest in Psychology as a whole, it was a large part of my character transformation in helping me appraise situations differently which greatly reduced my anxiety in pressured situations.
2. How has a failure, or apparent failure set you up for later success? Do you have a favourite failure of yours?
From the age of around 12 until 17 I aspired to play football professionally, which didn’t materialise for various reasons. Since then I’ve focused on improving my understanding of football and developed a passion for coaching. I can’t call myself successful yet, but I’m definitely happy with the path I’m on.
3. in the last few years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
As I mentioned above, coming across Hodge’s book, combined with some other factors led me to evaluate situations very differently. Perhaps the biggest takeaway for me was that I perform far better when I am relaxed and focused, and understanding that panic, anxiety and stress are largely counter-productive. I am now very strong at regulating my thoughts and emotions, which allows me to perform most tasks far better.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring young coach, what would that advice be?
This is advice I’m also following myself, since I fit into this category! But I would simply say be open to as many avenues of learning as possible.
5. What bad advice do you hear most from your area of expertise?
I can’t think of any to be honest, I guess I’ve been lucky to be advised by knowledgeable people.
6. Who, in your life, has inspired you most? (and why)
Firstly, my Dad who sacrificed so much to ensure me and my brothers had the best possible platform to progress in life, despite difficult circumstances. More generally, the stories that inspire me most include individuals who held views vastly different to most in their time, and fought for those views. I think it takes a very strong character to persist in such situations, and these characters are key for human development as a whole. Some of these characters include; William Wilberforce, those involved in civil rights movements including Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy, as well as the story of Claus von Stauffenberg.
7. How would you best define a coach?
I like the idea of coaches being facilitators of learning. This puts an emphasis on coaches working to create the best possible learning environments, but the focus remains on the learners (players) themselves, and their will to learn.
8. What do you do for your own CPD?
In terms of football specific, I write extensive reflections on every training session and match of my u15 side. With the match reflections I essentially analyse the performance and use this to identify what aspects I need to design the next session to work on. With the training reflections I evaluate how well the exercises worked, and make notes of any adjustments I feel are necessary if I am to use the same exercise again. Outside of football I enjoy reading on topics such as human rationality and behavioural economics, generally seeking for ways to improve my thought processes.