Coaches Corner | Coach Interview: BLAINE MCKENNA

May 31, 2017

ETS would like to introduce you to BLAINE MCKENNA (Football Coach And Educator). We are very privileged to have coach BLAINE's interview as he will be coming out to SOUTH AFRICA next month to share his knowledge and assist in the launch of a exciting new program starting 2018. This week in the COACHES CORNER, Coach BLAINE shares some insight and his coaching journey so far.

 

 Q: CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE US A BRIEF INTRO ABOUT YOURSELF PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE:

 

A: I completed a sport and exercise sciences degree and masters degree in sport and exercise psychology. During this period I spent time coaching in America and Canada, completed my UEFA B licence, and spent time working with elite athletes as a strength and conditioning coach. Four days after completing my masters degree, I flew out to Kuwait to coach for Arsenal Soccer Schools. My next post was coaching and educating coaches in China, followed by a month in Malawi and I'm currently working on my fifth continent in New Zealand. I ultimately aim to be a coach development manager. I will continue to build on my professional experience and obtain my UEFA A licence to achieve this.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR COACHING PHILOSOPHY AND HOW DID YOU CREATE YOUR PHILOSOPHY? 

 

A: Very briefly, I believe in a person centred approach to coaching with everything being done with the person's best interests at heart. For me, the aim is always about developing good people & providing them with life skills which will result in better players. I'm very process orientated, always focusing on a developmental approach to give players the best chance of fulfilling their footballing potential.

My philosophy stems from a combination of my general views on life, experience of coaching on different continents and the latest academic research. 
 

Q: IN YOUR OPINION WHAT IS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL SKILL FOR A PLAYER/COACH TO MASTER?

 

A: Self-awareness. An understanding of your strengths and which areas can be improved. Without this you'll continue to make the same mistakes and never develop. Reflecting on experiences and being aware of oneself is the key to improvement.

 

Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE NEW COACHES STARTING THEIR COACHING JOURNEY?

 

A: The biggest lesson I've learnt is how culture impacts upon everything we do. Every country I've been to is different and requires a different approach, to increase participation and develop talent. It's been a fascinating journey.

A: Young coaches need to figure out what they want to achieve and then look at job descriptions to find out which qualifications and what experience they need. It’s also beneficial to talk to people currently in the role to find out what it entails. Networking with people in the industry, having an experienced mentor and gaining plenty of hands on experience will put them in a good position.

 

Q: HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE DIFFERENT ABILITIES OF PLAYERS WITHIN YOUR SQUADS?

 

A: Setting general challenges which everyone in the group can master and then individualising tasks for those who need an extra challenge. With youngest age groups, it can as simple as playing two 4v4 games rather than an 8v8 or putting an extra ball on the pitch.

 

Q: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SET BACKS (POOR PERFORMANCES, INJURIES, LOSING, ETC)?

 

A: Set backs are part of football and life. It's important to reflect on what could have been done to prevent it and what the plan will be moving forward. They're a great opportunity to develop resilience and improve.

 

Q: WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT FROM FOOTBALL?

 

A: The biggest lesson I've learnt is how culture impacts upon everything we do. Every country I've been to is different and requires a different approach, to increase participation and develop talent. It's been a fascinating journey.

 

Q: WHICH COACH/MANAGER INSPIRES YOU?

 

A: Brendan Rodgers was a big inspiration for me as a young coach as he didn't have much of a playing background, and comes from a town close to me in Northen Ireland. His belief in giving young players an opportunity, his playing style and how he conducts himself in interviews impressed me.

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