Ron Smith was the special guest on episode three of Football Coaches Australia’s “The Football Coaching Life” podcast.
Smith is often referred to as a ‘coaching guru’ and is a developer of many of Australia’s ‘Golden Generation’.
He has coached in Iceland and Malaysia as well as in Australia’s A-League with the Perth Glory. Smith has also assisted many of Australia’s National Team coaches as an analyst, attending both World and Asian Cups, as well as being a part of Football Australia’s Technical Department on multiple occasions.
In an extensive chat with Gary Cole, Smith details how he got into coaching, his success at the AIS, how his coaching has changed over the years, the time he spent with Gerard Houllier, his greatest achievements and much more.
Key Quotes in Episode Three
His thoughts on why the AIS program was so successful
“(It gave me) the opportunity to influence the players over an extended period of time (12-24 months). Having the opportunity to train every day, with other very good players, in a great facility, with coaches who are focused on trying to improve the individual, above teamwork, was great.”
“As a coach, I think it was an ideal place for me to work in. I’ve always been a bit curious about trying to do things a better way, I’ve never been one to just do the same old, same old.”
On the idea of “letting the game be the teacher”
“I think let the game be the teacher has become a bit of jargon…I’ve since thought to myself, were there any things that I actually learned as a player (during his career). Maybe I was just stupid as a player, but the game taught me nothing.”
How his coaching has changed over the years
“My approach to coaching is based on keeping an open mind and being able to adapt. For the first 20 years of my coaching career, I never used or had seen a software program to assist with the analysis of the game.”
On how young coaches can get better
“You’ve got to be proactive, number one. Accept opportunities to get some feedback if someone volunteers.”
Final piece of wisdom for coaches
“Be honest with players and treat everyone with respect.”