ETS would like to introduce you to MICHAEL LOFTMAN (Technical Director). Coach Michael has been doing some exceptional work in South Africa and we are very honored to have him on the blog. This week in the COACHES CORNER, Coach MICHAEL 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 started coaching at 18 years old, whilst studying at University. I spent a year at Watford FC Academy, and 3 years at Tottenham Hotspur as a Football & Global Development Coach, whilst completing my Masters in Sports Science & Coaching. I specifically based my University studies around elite player development to support my coaching journey. After Tottenham Hotspur I left to work in the Youth Alliance League with Barking Abbey/Hornchurch FC, then went on to numerous roles at Dagenham & Redbridge, incluidng U15s & U16s coach, Lead Foundation Coach, as well as Shadowing First Team & Supporting U18s training. From Dagenham & Redbridge I moved to Zambia to get experience as a first team manager in the Zambian Premier League, and now I am a Technical Director of a youth club in South Africa, whilst building a project for 18 - 23 year olds.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR COACHING PHILOSOPHY AND HOW DID YOU CREATE YOUR PHILOSOPHY?
A: My coaching philosophy is based around breaking down the game into key phases which can be understood and mastered by all players within the team. The phases chosen to be focussed on are dependent on the qualities of the players and many other factors e.g. climate, style of play of other teams in the league. The framework i use is continuously adapting through new experiences and knowlege gained when coaching.
Q: IN YOUR OPINION WHAT IS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL SKILL FOR A PLAYER/COACH TO MASTER?
A: The most important skill for a coach to master in my opinion is empathy. And for a player - desire to win.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE NEW COACHES STARTING THEIR COACHING JOURNEY?
A: I would advise all young coaches to get as much experience as possible whilst being young. As pressure to earn money increases, the amount of time available to work for free and learn decreases. I certainly got most of my early experiences by watching elite coaches and offering to do volunteer work.
Q: HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE DIFFERENT ABILITIES OF PLAYERS WITHIN YOUR SQUADS?
A: I believe managing different abilities depends on numerous factors, particularly the level you are working at. At professional level, there is less time to develop individual players with a high pressure to win games. So often players who lack the required level of ability would have to be released or loaned to another club.
Q: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SET BACKS (POOR PERFORMANCES, INJURIES, LOSING, ETC)?
A: After losses sleeping or socialising is near impossible until i’m sure I have learnt all the lessons required from the defeat. The speed of learning from losses often determines how quickly you start winning again.
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT FROM FOOTBALL?
A: Perseverance is an absolute fundamental of success.
Q: WHICH COACH/MANAGER INSPIRES YOU?
A: Jose Mourinho has been the biggest inspiration, watching his come up from a translator to the best manager in the world - thats not something that comes easy.