Coaches Corner | Coach Interview: GEORGE DEARNALEY
ETS would like to introduce you to GEORGE DEARNALEY (Owner And Coach At The Magic FC). Coach George has has achieved some remarkable results and we are honored to have him on the blog. This week in THE COACHES CORNER, Coach GEORGE 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'm a former South African International player who played in the 90's. I had a bad knee injury in 1995 and had to retire from playing in 1998. I currently own and coach an U23 development team - The Magic FC - and am hoping to get promoted to the professional leagues in South Africa in the not too distant future.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR COACHING PHILOSOPHY AND HOW DID YOU CREATE YOUR PHILOSOPHY?
A: was fortunate to play in teams that liked to have the ball, and had coaches in my career who created great team spirit, were very positive and treated players fairly. So I have tried to copy a lot of what I learnt as a player. We try to play football, we like to attack and we try to do things the right way.
Q: IN YOUR OPINION WHAT IS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL SKILL FOR A PLAYER/COACH TO MASTER?
A: For a coach it has to be communication - this is vital. You can have all the best tactical ideas and a great squad, but if you can't communicate these ideas, and you can't inspire and motivate players, and you can't sort out the inter-squad issues that always crop up, then you will never realise your potential as a coach.For a player it is work ethic. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard - I believe in that. Together with a great attitude - if you only have a little talent but you have the other 2, you can still have a decent career. But talent alone is not enough.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE NEW COACHES STARTING THEIR COACHING JOURNEY?
A: Don't be afraid to make mistakes. And don't be afraid to ask for help or advice. I think a lot of young coaches put themselves under pressure to get results from day one, and often this is unreasonable. I am not shy to tell my players I made a mistake. I'm just very aware that I can't keep making the same mistakes!
Q: HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE DIFFERENT ABILITIES OF PLAYERS WITHIN YOUR SQAUDS?
A: Man management is a skill, and this is where communication is vital. Personalities are different and therefore you can't treat everyone the same. We work on individual technique when we have time, but we also focus on a players strengths. We had a midfielder who had poor technique but he dominated midfield with his energy and tackling, and he had a long throw in which was a great set piece, so we ensured we had someone in midfield with him who could pass the ball and we kept working on his passing and control but without getting on his case about it. I think you have to make the most of the strengths of players within the context of what is best for the team.
Q: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SET BACKS (POOR PERFORMANCES, INJURIES, LOSING, ETC)?
A: We have a saying in our team 'We don't lose, we learn' - and I like to have a quick chat about the game before anyone has a shower. If it's a poor performance, I will point out 2 or 3 areas we need to improve on and let them know we will be focussing on those areas the following week. If we have played ok but got a poor result, I remind them that that is football - you don't always get what you deserve. We remind the players that there is another game the following week to get back on track, to remedy things, to improve and to learn from our mistakes.With regards injuries, I was out for 17 months with a dislocated knee and snapped ligaments, so I remind them that I know better than most about injuries and that you only have 2 options. Either you sulk and feel sorry for yourself, or you start looking forward to your 1stgame back and you start thinking what you need to do to recover from the injury and be at your best for that return match. I believe in positive thinking. That is why I prefer players who have great attitudes.
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT FROM FOOTBALL?
A: Trust your instinct. I have made decisions based on sentiment even though I knew these were not right and they have always backfired. After only 7 years of coaching experience, I know that there is no room for sentiment. Trust your instinct with selection, with tactics, with how you treat players - don't be distracted by sentiment.
Q: WHICH COACH/MANAGER INSPIRES YOU?
A: I've grown up a United supporter so Sir Alex has been an inspiration but I can't tell you too much about his tactical genius - he inspires me because I think he knew how to get the most out of his players. His teams represented his character: never give up, always work hard, always try your best. And I think those qualities are vital in any sport.From a football philosophy perspective, I have read Rinus Michels' book 3 times and am a big fan of the Ajax philosophy, so Rinus and Johan Cruyff obviously and Arrigo Saachi of Milan. I think he had a great vision and got his players to believe in it and to implement it. That is the mark of a great coach.