ETS would like to introduce you to DAVE LAWRENCE (Head of Sport for The Albion Foundation). We are very excited to have coach DAVE on the blog as some of you may recognize him from our recent clinic. We were extremely lucky to have Dave join us in SA and to share his vast experience. This week on THE COACHES CORNER, Coach DAVE shares some insight into his coaching journey so far.
Q: CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE US A BRIEF INTRO ABOUT YOURSELF PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE:
A: Dave Lawrence, currently working as Head of Sport for The Albion Foundation. Started my coaching journey over 17 years ago, when at the age of 15/16 I realised my relatively mediocre football career would never amount to anything worth being proud of, and couldn't support me as a living, so I shifted my attention to coaching. I had always enjoyed watching the game- when I was 6 or 7 I watched the World Cup 1990 and was hooked! In primary school I begged mum and dad to get me a TV for my room- which was a black and white one believe it or not!- and I demanded they let me do my homework in my room, every sunday; at that point I would abandon the homework and watch the games on ITV (a popular TV channel in England). Since then, I have gained qualifications to allow me to work in Womens football as WBA Manager for 3 years, in the WBA Academy as Youth Development Phase Coach, amongst experiencing many other coaching adventures along the way. My role now sees me manage over 30 Community Coaches as we strive to be the best Community Programme in the Country. My ambition is to achieve that target, and affect as many young football players as possible and guide them towards achieving their goals.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR COACHING PHILOSOPHY AND HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR PHILOSOPHY?
A: I love learning about, and utilising psychology in my coaching sessions. I believe that all people should access a coach who can help them develop as people as well as tacticians and technicians- developing them and challenging them cognitively is a good way of doing that, so I always am on the look out for ways to improve myself in this way. Along with this, I like seeing the game played properly- on the floor and effective in transitions, and develop players to thrive in key moments of the game. However, I am aware that coaching philosophy and playing style does need to be adaptable depending on your team and players.
Q: IN YOUR OPINION WHAT IS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL SKILL FOR A PLAYER/COACH TO MASTER?
A: A player must be able to manage the football both when standing still and on the move. The game is so fast now, players must effectively control, pass and shoot when they are moving their body.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE NEW COACHES STARTING THEIR COACHING JOURNEY?
A: Be a student of the game - take every opportunity at your disposal to watch, talk about and be around football. Whilst doing this, get feedback- from your peers, video, or yourself! Then when you receive feedback, create an action plan to get better!
Q: HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE DIFFERENT ABILITIES OF PLAYERS WITHIN YOUR SQUADS?
A: By designing sessions that aren't a 'one size fits all' practice- design sessions that allow you to make things easier for the strugglers, and more challenging for the strivers. But also know your players- what is going to challenge them? What happens if you over- challenge? What's the purpose of making it easier or harder? What do your players need?
Q: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SET BACKS (POOR PERFORMANCES, INJURIES, LOSING, ETC)?
A: Set backs are part of football- they present ourselves with outstanding learning opportunities. You learn lessons of perseverance, positivity, selflessness, teamwork and many other aspects that combine to make an elite player. Managing these types of players is a complex task, but gives coaches a great chance to deal with players by giving them the support they need for them to thrive. Listen to the players- what do they need? Why are they feeling in such a way? Then help show them how things could be when they are fit, or when they improve confidence etc. Setting suitable challenges, praise and individual coaching strategies are great ways to help boost esteem.
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT FROM FOOTBALL?
A: "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!"
Q: WHICH COACH/MANAGER INSPIRES YOU?
A: I'm fortunate enough o have access to 30 community coaches who inspire me every day in terms of their ambition, drive, passion and commitment. Add to that the Girls Academy, boys academy and Women's first and development team coaches that I come in contact with, and I am constantly in a world of aspirations and aiming high. Specifically, in terms of highest level coaches/ managers, I have great admiration for Sir Bobby Robson, and although I have read books by Guardiola and Mourinho etc, he is still the one in terms of manner, character, role model, teacher that I have most affection for.