FCA Ambassador Ernie Merrick on being a football coach

The players must have clarity in their roles and a belief in the formations and structures being implemented by the Head Coach.

As often stated, there are only two types of coaches in football – “those that are sacked or those about to be sacked”.  Such is the emotional nature of the sport and the insecurity of the role.

It seems that, in most football clubs, negative short-term results determine the employment status of the coach. How much time are the club Board prepared to allow the Head Coach to build a team for the future?

Football can be simplified and defined as a team invasion game. The objective is to invade territory to an area where goal-scoring is possible. The players must have clarity in their roles and a belief in the formations and structures being implemented by the Head Coach.

A major failure of any player is not being involved in the invasion. Penetration through forward passes and movement is critical and everyone needs to play their part. FEAR is the foremost inhibitor of performance.

There is no doubt, that the noise from the critical and emotional minority affects decisions regarding short-term results – wins or losses.  Logic and reason would favour a coach who strategically plans and implements developmental processes which will deliver sustained success over time. Sir Alex Ferguson won Manchester United’s first EPL Premiership after 7 years and went on to win 13 EPL Championships and 17 other trophies.

The ultimate aim of the coach is to find the line between luck and skill and shift it. Luck plays a role but the implementation of programs that develop skilled technique, tactical decision-making, strategic awareness and game plan execution will grow the club and achieve continued success in the longer term. The Head Coach focuses on the TEAM, however, management is about INDIVIDUALS.

The modern professional game requires expert staff comprised of coaches and service providers to cover all aspects of player development – technical, tactical, physical, mental and personal skills. The Head Coach/Manager must demonstrate that he is able to coordinate the staff and drive change with a clear vision of the processes involved. He must be capable of planning a comprehensive holistic program and develop relationship skills that encourages staff and player buy-in and a willingness to be accountable.

The Head Coach must demonstrate competence in:

  • Enlisting support staff with qualifications, experience and education skills
  • Targeting the recruitment of players who fit specific profiles within the team game plan who have the necessary skill set combined with the right mindset and resilience
  • Implementing a program which clearly defines his coaching philosophy
  • Designing an attacking Game Model that will provide the best opportunity for success
  • Encouraging a brand of football that excites the crowds and makes them feel part of the game
  • Providing the club fans via the media with club driven news and team information

Poor results in the early stages of the coach appointment is not unusual but has to be managed and conciliated. Providing honest relevant information which accepts and identifies problematic issues and a club perspective on how matters will be resolved is always helpful.

Winning teams embrace pressure and the weight of high expectation.

The key to long term success is managing failure and learning from it.

As Einstein states – “Failure is success in progress.” [That’s Jimmy Einstein from Glasgow not Albert].

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

Football Coaches Australia and XVenture collaborate with Football Victoria to elevate coaching development

Football Coaches Australia (FCA) and XVenture (XV) have forged a ground-breaking partnership with Football Victoria (FV) to enhance the calibre of football coaching in the region.

This collaboration aims to empower and bolster football coaches through a strategic alliance with FV’s Club Coach Coordinator (CCC) programs, available at various levels.

The FV CCC packages encompass Basic, Bronze, Silver, and gold levels, each offering unique benefits:

Basic Package: Clubs enrolled in FV’s Basic CCC program will receive online resources and content along with monthly check ins via email with their FV program manager supplemented by FCA XV Essential Skills content on Leadership and specialized guidance on supporting teenagers.

Gold Package: At the other end of the scale, Gold CCC package, FV provides monthly sessions plans from the online platform with 3 club visits from program manager throughout the season to work with the CCC and coaches at the club.  alongside the prevailing advantages. CCCs at this level will unlock three modules within the FCA XV Essential Skills Program. Moreover, nine coaches within the club will receive access to the Foundations of Essential Skills Module.

Gold CCC package holders will enjoy an extraordinary opportunity, granting their entire community access to an exclusive webinar featuring top EQ and mind coach, Mike Conway. Conway, renowned for his pivotal four-year coaching role contributing to Australia’s historic FIFA World Cup Campaign in Qatar 2022, brings unparalleled expertise.

FCA CEO, Kelly Rourke, expressed her excitement about the partnership, stating:

“We’re thrilled to be able to work with Football Victoria as part of their innovative Club Coach Coordinator program, designed to provide coaches of any level access to a diverse range of resources and expertise. All for the improvement of the game.”

FCA President Gary Cole echoed Kelly’s sentiments:

“We are so pleased to partner with Football Victoria on this new Club Coach Coordinator program. Ongoing Coach Education is important and providing these wonderful online tools to help Clubs, Coordinators and Coaches is a great way to assist,” he said.

“FCA/XVenture College has helped almost 900 coaches from 20 countries with valuable ongoing growth and development opportunities and this relationship with Football Victoria is another fantastic initiative. Better Coaches, Better Players!”

Craig Moore, FV Coach Education Manager, emphasised the significance of this collaboration, remarking:

“I’m thrilled as this is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our CCC Program with two organisations that are setting the standards for coach support and development in this country and beyond. I can only see better times for our coaches in the future with this collaboration.”

For further information on Football Victoria’s CCC programs and to seize this unparalleled coaching advancement opportunity, kindly contact Football Victoria’s CCC program Manager Rob Taylor at Robert.Taylor@footballvictoria.com.au.

This alliance marks a pivotal stride in football coaching, empowering coaches to nurture their skills and lead with excellence.

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