The importance of coach education

Without coach education, soccer ceases to exist. Sounds dramatic? Read on to discover why continuous coach education is vital for coaches, players, and the sport itself.

Dec 22nd 2021

Written by The Coaching Manual

What would you say to a player on your team who says that they can coach themselves just as effectively as you can coach them? If a player said that we would think they were arrogant and difficult to coach, so why would we allow ourselves to think the same way when it comes to coach education?

It may sound obvious, but as coaches, it is important that we seek to further our journey through proper continuous education. You may have completed a certain level of coaching qualification but there is always a reason to equip yourself with more coaching knowledge. Doing so will help you maintain, or even improve, the knowledge and skills required to deliver the best possible service to your players. Seeking out new educational content for your coaching journey will mean that you and your coaching knowledge stay up-to-date, and you are informed of the latest trends within the game.

Without coach education, soccer ceases to exist

As coaches, we pass down our greater experience and knowledge to guide players down their path of development. Coach educators do the same for coaches. If this chain of education is broken, the game ceases to exist - coaches educating coaches who educate players is the way the sport continues moving forward.

What if no one ever taught coaches the best way to develop technical skills? Or to teach their players the best way to create and find space? Or the best way to transition from attack to defence while playing in a 5-3-2 formation? Without the sharing of knowledge over the years, the game would not be where it is today. What would Pep Guardiola’s approach to the game be like if he wasn’t able to draw upon a lineage that includes Johan Cruyff, Rinus Michels, Ernst Happel and Hugo Meisl?

There is an invaluable treasure chest of knowledge out there, and it's important that as coaches, we know how to unlock it.

Of course, formal coach education through qualifications is vital for any coach. Generally, it helps us to understand the game, its principles, and learn from coaches more experienced than ourselves. The 'passing on' of knowledge is essential and completing coaching qualifications is just one way of doing this.

A growth mindset

Your coaching career will not always be smooth sailing - no one wins every game or reaching their targets every single season. Sometimes, things might not be going your way and your progress will feel like it has halted. That's when it's vital that you develop a growth mindset when it comes to improving yourself and your players.

A loss of form, bad results, even players questioning your methods can all be very frustrating, especially when you are putting in a lot of training and hard work. You must maintain the proper mindset to keep focusing on growth and the process instead of having high expectations and focusing only on the final score. This growth mindset is critical for any team to get to the next level.

  • Focus on improvement, not perfection
  • View progress as success, not just winning
  • When something goes wrong, adapt
  • Learn from your mistakes, on and off the pitch
  • Look forward to challenges and do not fear trying new things

In other words, improving as a coach is success in itself. Being able to teach your players something new is a victory. You owe it to your players to use defeats on the pitch as learning opportunities for everyone in the team.

If you want to stay motivated and keep improving as a coach, you must have a growth mindset. If you stick to this process, success will eventually come.

How do I learn from other coaches?

It can be difficult to surround yourself with such knowledge, especially through in-person events or even one-to-one conversations. Soccer is a global sport and we can't attend every seminar or convention that piques our interest. Nor is it feasible to observe coaches from further afield than our local grassroots clubs (which is no bad thing, by the way) on a regular basis. That's why we have curated a wealth of coach knowledge, experience, and opinion, through hosting a series of long-form coaching webinars on The Coaching Manual, in which our experienced coaches sit down to discuss soccer with a variety of different coach educators and senior professionals.

Just a few examples of these webinars can be found here:

It is not just coach educators and high-profile professionals that we can learn from. Our peers and even coaches less experienced than ourselves can be excellent sources of information and inspiration. Attending in-person events like The Coaching Manual Live is an opportunity to network with like-minded coaches from different areas and backgrounds, coaching different teams with different challenges - picking their brains could solve problems you didn't even know you had.

Following The Coaching Manual's live event at Worksop Town earlier this year, Laurie Griffin, Worksop Town Academy Director, said: "The event was absolutely fantastic We feel that everybody has taken away something that they will be able to transfer into their practices to enhance the experience of the young players they're working with. I was speaking to coaches on the sidelines tonight and every one has said they've picked up one or two things that they can instantly instil into their practices."

Communication is an ongoing learning curve

Continuous coach education is just as important for learning how to effectively communicate your knowledge as it is for building it in the first place. It's no use learning everything there is to know about the way you want your players to play, when you're not able to properly convey your message.

You should take the time to reflect on your own delivery during training sessions as much as your matches - Do your players understand what you are asking them to do? Are you making yourself clear? Are you speaking to them on their level? Are you treating each player as an individual with specific learning styles? There is always room for improving the way we communicate with our players, and with each generation (and even each year group) bearing a different set of quirks and traits from the previous, it's always a good idea to keep on top of the best way to talk to the youngsters of today.

The best way to do that, of course, is to observe other coaches delivering sessions to other players, and take note of what is working. One piece of feedback that The Coaching Manual regularly receives is that our sessions offer a fantastic insight into how top coaches communicate with the group of players they are coaching. They know when to interrupt play, when to provide constructive feedback, when to offer encouragement, how to correct improper form or technique, and so on. The best examples of this can be seen in our LMA Masterclass series, available to our Premium members. These include sessions and interviews by:

Immerse yourself in learning

Attending events, watching webinars, observing sessions, and absorbing content are all ways of immersing yourself in coaching and in the sport of soccer. The more we learn from those who have come before us (as well as those going through their journey alongside us), the more we contribute to the furtherment of the sport we all love.

The best way to immerse yourself in coaching on a regular basis is with a Premium subscription to The Coaching Manual, which gives you access to the best broadcast-quality training session video content, the best in-depth coaching webinars, and the best in-person and online opportunities to further your coaching journey.

With a Premium subscription, you also get:

  • Our LMA Masterclass series featuring sessions from David Moyes, Rene Meulensteen, Alan Irvine, Steve McClaren, and more
  • Access to 100s of other exclusive sessions
  • Full access to our session creation and season planning tools
  • The same coaching content used by the Professional Footballers' Association
  • Coaching Focus Web Series (Seasons 1 & 2)

For the equivalent of just £5 ($7) a month when you pay annually, sign up and start taking advantage of all that The Coaching Manual has to offer today! Sign Up here!

Start your journey to becoming
a better football coach today

With plans to suit everyone, The Coaching Manual is the perfect resource for soccer coaches who want to improve their understanding of coaching and create a first-class soccer learning environment for their players.

Sign up for free