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Teaching football

About a man who couldn't do...
Started on 26 October 2017 by joshleedsfan
Latest Reply on 18 July 2018 by joshleedsfan
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You know what they say: those who can't do teach, and those who can't teach teach football (well in the original saying, they teach PE but for the purpose of the story, they teach football).

It came as little surprise once I found out what the tell-tale signs where that I had dyspraxia. Socially limited (not as severe as autism or aspergers however) and a lack of hand-eye and foot-eye co-ordination.

It was difficult coming to terms with at the tender age of 12. I hadn't been bad at football in my younger years, in fact, I was quite fancied in primary school as a fox-in-the-box type of player (weren't we all?). But my lack of physical co-ordination was becoming telling already, and boys that I was once on a par with in footballing terms were now light years ahead of me.

I made a few cameos in the school team through secondary school, completely out of place at right-back, and the head of PE/head coach of the school football team found this out by the end of year 9. I made another brief few appearances as a goalkeeper towards the end of Sixth Form, when it turned out I was quite willing to fling myself in front of seemingly goal-bound shots.

The last indication I got that I was no use to any competing football team was my failed trial for the uni football team as a goalkeeper. I gave up the ghost completely, accepting my life as a not particularly athletic person.

I went on and did what other not particularly athletic people did. I lived for the weekend- and even weekdays where I wasn't in early the following day- so I could go out with my mates and get wasted. Nothing beat a Dominos pizza the morning after, and I was using my independence to put more shit- legal nonetheless, I was never into drugs- into my body than I ever imagined was possible.

I had a high natural metabolism, so the health effects were washing over me. Regardless of how much alcohol, pizza and kebab I would load into my system, I remained paper thin. That was until shortly after I turned 21.

I turned 21 in February 2012, weighing in at around 13 and a half stone. By the following year, I had gained 3 stone in weight. Having not worked out in three years and living on a diet of booze and pizza, my slowed rate of metabolism caused me to gain weight at a faster rate than I'd ever seen before.

I remember a DT teacher at school telling me he was the same, and that unless I went on to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, I would also get a belly like he had. My smug 18-year-old self simply laughed the suggestion off. Four years on, I'm not looking so smug now. Here I am, with zero athletic capability remaining and still an overwhelming appetite for Fosters and Dominos.

Since I realised around 13 years old that I'd never be a professional footballer, I made a point of getting my head down and working towards a career that would actually be realistic. I took up Business Economics at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and in the summer of 2014, I'll hopefully leave with a degree.

I've eyed up a career in business management, with a few graduate schemes in mind. But there's still something nagging the back of my mind. How many coaches have had glittering football careers? Arsene Wenger only ever played professional football for a couple of years towards the end of his 20s, even then, it was as a fringe player at best at Strasbourg.

Did Andre Villas Boas or Jose Mourinho even play any level of football at any stage of their 20s?

I wasn't about to make coaching my sole focus in life, otherwise I'd be homeless, but it wouldn't hurt to learn the trade...
An intriguing start, seems right to take a cautious approach but I wonder how long itll last
2017-10-26 19:57#246513 mgriffin2012 : An intriguing start, seems right to take a cautious approach but I wonder how long itll last

Thanks mate, got a bit of time to build it up so hopefully it'll go down well
It wouldn't be fair on either of the two loves of my life if I hurriedly introduced them mid-story, so I'll give them the full introduction they deserve now.

The first is Leeds United. I've been through hell and back with them. In fact, you could say I've been to hell, back, back to hell and back again with them. The mighty whites have moulded who I am as a person, and have been the ultimate character builder.

I went to my first match aged 6 on the opening day of the 1997/98 season. We drew 1-1 against Arsenal, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink got the equaliser after Ian Wright put the Gunners in front. From that point on I was hooked.

My dad was in the army at the time so it wasn't feasible to go and see Leeds week in, week out, due to the distance away we often lived. But he took me when he could, and we even started doing away games by the time I was 8.

The first time I started going to the same particular team away was when around the same time me and my dad started doing away games. We lived in Winchester at the time, near Southampton. As you could imagine, me and my brother were the only Leeds fans in a school full of Southampton fans.

During that time, Southampton moved from the Dell to the St Mary's Stadium. It was a much more comfortable experience at the latter, but you couldn't beat the atmosphere at the former.

I continued to see Leeds on a partially regular basis, even when I was living in Cardiff as a student. My first year at uni was our first year back in the Championship, in 2010/11, so I had games against Cardiff, Swansea and Bristol City on my doorstep.

Last, but most certainly not least is my long-suffering other half, Hannah. We met on a night out in Cardiff, shortly after freshers' week in 2010. I'd bump into her a couple of months later and the night went pretty much the same way as the first one did.

We eventually got to talking regularly over Christmas and agreed to start seeing each other. It became 'Facebook official' two days before my 20th birthday, and we've not looked back since.

The great thing about Hannah is that she quite likes football. She was loosely attached to Chelsea, but switched over to the white side shortly after we got together. She goes with me to games about twice a season, and seems to be better at accumulators than I am.

With me having *finally* graduated uni (age 22), we're now looking to move into a house in Cardiff together. The plan is to stay in Cardiff for life, but I would ideally like my coaching career to take me a little further than South Wales...
Fantastic start here, looking forward to what the future holds for the young man.
Would be interesting to see a Welsh league story although I think the cardiff for life bit could be changed if a certain club comes knocking
It was the morning of my first day at work, a management graduate programme with Lidl. As I was still unable to drive when I first applied back in January (2013), I had to squeeze 30 hours of driving lessons, a theory test and a practical test, as a full UK Driving Licence was one of the requirements.

Most of the morning was spent going through the usual induction process. This is who you'll be working with, this is what we're working on, do this health and safety training piece, get you through e-learning and so on.

I enjoyed my first day at work, but as this would potentially be my life at least until I hit retirement age, I needed something outside of work to keep me going. The idea of taking a coaching course continued to nag the back of my mind.

It was at this point I decided that I should just do it, or not waste the rest of my life just thinking about it. I logged on to the FAW website to have a look at what C licence courses were on offer.

An FAW C Licence course would cost £250 to take, which was fine as my job paid pretty generously. The only issue was that the course in South Wales, meaning I'd have to go up to Glyndwr University in Wrexham in order to take the course.

As the English FA website was completely unhelpful, I decided to learn with the Welsh FA and by doing so, following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Roberto Martinez.

The course didn't start until January 2014, so I just had to sit tight and wait a few months...
Hopefully he can obtain the C license to help him along in his journey. The English FA are useless at everything so I don't blame him.
2017-10-28 00:12#246561 ScottT : Hopefully he can obtain the C license to help him along in his journey. The English FA are useless at everything so I don't blame him.

The FA couldn't run a piss-up in a brewery, which is quite visible from the outside. This wasn't done in the story intentionally though, I just couldn't find out as much info irl for English FA courses as I could Welsh FA
I had a feeling of optimism going into the C licence course. Even if I nothing ever came of this coaching venture, I would be able to say I had a formally recognised qualification in football. I, a massive football fan, was about to become qualified to stand in a dugout, and that felt pretty cool to me.

The only ball achy thing about it was the drive to and from Wrexham. It took four hours there and four hours back from Cardiff, and due to my aversion to country roads, meant I'd have to detour up the M6, a road I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy.

Nonetheless, I felt like a wide-eyed student again. Although it became apparent towards the end of uni that academic achievement wasn't something I was well acquainted with, I was prepared to put myself through studious hell to be able to work- in some capacity- in a job I love.

Because it's recommended that coaches of junior sides needn't go much further than a national C licence, the content was very basic stuff. I found myself learning various training drills, warm up/warm down routines, and the general fundamentals of keeping players in good shape to play on a physical, technical and mental level.

Me and the course got on very well over the four months during which I took it. Nothing unexpected sprung up and put me off coaching which was a good sign. It was at this point that I started to think about the next step. In order to be able to take the Welsh FA's B licence course, I needed not just a C licence. but a full first aid certificate and a CV detailing my coaching career.

Seeing as I didn't have a coaching career per se, the next focus of my journey through the badges would be to take on coaching on any basis possible. Be it and U9s side as a volunteer, or an amateur side on £5 per hour. I was willing to do whatever it took to go beyond a C licence, and was keen to take on any coaching role.

My journey in this new chapter had just begun...
First job: First team manager of Stalybridge Celtic U7's? ;)
2017-10-29 01:27#246595 ScottT : First job: First team manager of Stalybridge Celtic U7's? ;)

Fair hike from Cardiff mind ;)
Just read through all of this mate, reads incredibly well, should be a real cracker
Over summer 2014, I took the opportunity to look into some coaching roles. There were It was at this point more roles were becoming available, due to it being the close season and gaps came about across the board.

I applied for everything going, hoping upon hope that at some point, there would be a club willing to give me a chance. That chance came on a warm July evening. I was scrolling through my emails when I found one from AFC Whitchurch, an amateur club in North Cardiff.

What struck me straight away was that it was very accessible. It was a 10 minute drive from my house. It would be a volunteer role, which didn't bother me too much as I wasn't ready to give up my graduate job for a starter job in coaching.

The opening was for a first team coach, and the manager wanted to bring me in for a trial training session, to see what ideas I had and how I drilled the players. It was an opportunity I couldn't refuse, so I agreed to give it a go.

The facility was as basic as they come. It was a local green with goalposts, which is what you expect from this level. It was the first training session of pre-season. As this wasn't a professional set-up, or even a semi-professional setup, there was little importance placed (both at the club and across the board at amateur level) on conditioning. As long as we had players that could run for 90 minutes and players that were well drilled, we would be ready for the season ahead.

As an admirer of fast attacking football, this was a philosophy I'd look to impart on the players. The manager was happy to let me loose getting the players into both a habit of perfecting pass-and-move routines as well as quick long ball moves.

We played two 11 vs 11 games, each 10 minutes long. In the first game, players could make no more than three touches, and an over head height rule was implemented to encourage the pass-and-move style of play.

In the second game, players were allowed a maximum of 4 passes before shooting and encouraged to utilise a target man, in order to encourage high paced long ball manoeuvres.


A week later, I received a phone call.

Me: Hello?

Caller: Hi, is that Josh Mason?

Me: Yes it is, who's speaking please?

Caller: It's Dafydd Huws, I ran your trial session at AFC Whitchurch

Me: Oh, hi Dafydd

Dafydd: I liked what I saw last week and was wondering if you would be interested in filling the coaching role for the senior team?

Me: Absolutely, that's something I'd love to get involved with. When do I start?

Dafydd: We have a session tomorrow night, training for a friendly on Sunday, do those dates sit well with you?

Me: Yeah sure, can't wait to get started!

Dafydd: Ok, well I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. If you have any questions,
ring me back on this number. Is that ok?

Me: Yeah that's brilliant, thanks

*End of conversation*
And things are about to get really interesting!

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