Author Archives: admin

Academy thought’s

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The following is some information I picked up through experience, was a little passage that i wrote to a club where he was at a loss as to what to do with so many players.

A recent development that I witnessed was a restructuring of an academy. Presents several challenges, including accommodating a massive range of abilities.

It is scientifically proven that players with similar ability will progress more quickly, avoiding a sense of intimidation. If you are provided with the opportunity to separate the players into groups, ensure you avoid using words like elite and development and so on. This I have found has a detrimental effect on players confidence despite their varying abilities, suggestions I would say to you would use shirt colours or I have recently seen clubs using reoccurring European words like Milan, Rovers or Wanderers.

The third team can become a bit of an experiment for you, If you are still enjoying an influx of players this can be used as a platform for football, an experience perhaps for younger players to experience of being part of a team, to experience pitch side environment and the right attitudes to show. You could use this team as a sort of exhibition group, send them to be part of tournaments, training abroad. then you could use it as a platform to recruit further players.

More and more we are seeing some basic coaching drop in sessions, effectively this is used simply for people to get a taste of football without the pressure and intimidation of other experienced players, something that it proven to be a productive concept.

An idea channel

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The following is just a collection of ideas, I hope these golden nuggets of wonderful information prove productive.

“Picked up from the world of Futsal.

Ball goes out of play the team in possession has to bring the ball back into play within 4 second or they have to hand over possession.

Encourages quick thinking and impact opposition’s ability to regroup and organise”

“Really simple idea, sometimes you will see kids or adults time wasting pre-session, common occurrence and to be fair understandable.

Decent attention spans are nowhere to be seen, so a recommendation would be simply to implement a rule, do what you want pre-session whether it be chat or whatever, as long as you have a football at your feet”

“Corner taking is an important aspect of football, ideas on how to mix it up a little is always ideal. Have a player work with your regular corner taker to come short with a decoy run. This drags the opposition player out of the game, provides a potential advantage”

“Evolution of coaching these days has introduced more and more terminology,  a new one is SAQ. Which is of course Speed Agility and Quickness.

A standardized layout is an ideal option, three channel and split your team into three groups. Use one of the channels for ladders, another of zigzags and last simply quick feet. When time expires everyone moves to their left.

Again this is open to customization, ideas to suit your team’s development”

“A player doing keepy uppy with a rugby ball….

Why would they do this I hear you ask?

The key part of a rugby ball is its shape, if you ask one of your kids to try this sort of thing, the unpredictability of where the ball will end up will demand the players mind to work harder, this in turn develop the player’s anticipation and first touch.

The application has been used regularly with goalkeepers, former Swansea player Michel Armand Vorm regularly voiced his appreciation for this concept”

“Always remain open minded to the potential versatility of a player, have a look at what the player can and can’t do. Maintaining that state of mind may work to your advantage, what is your problem, what alternative’s do you have at your disposal, think what alternatives do you have and what further alternatives are your afraid to use. Take the risk as there will be the reward. At what point does this disallow you from adding the player to the potential position?”

“Why are there always shapes involved in the routines we do, triangles and squares and so on? Football is often played in squares and triangles, the routines are set out to look the same”

Notes

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There can be occasions, and don’t get me wrong they are rare, where the opposition are highly disrespectful, where teams argue everything, generally do everything in their power to breach the unwritten rules of sportsmanship. This may anger you or frustrate you, keep it in mind that this is not your problem, work towards maintaining your established high values and standards in terms of your attitude and conduct.

 

A rondo for a minute

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This is a routine that I love, I spend time using it every week and it has provided me with an end product, please spend time adapting it to your own requirement or just simply use it as it. Each drill that will be explained is set out on the principles below.

Layout

Based on 10 players we will have 2 rondo boxes 7×7 although the spaces can be expanded depending on the amount of players you have.

Action

Split the players into 5 and 5 – create a 4 v 1 in each rondo box – time the routine to 1 minute each and leave balls around the parameter of the boxes to ensure the players have free access to footballs. The reason for this is to encourage the players to be responsible for the routine they are taking part in, also improves the fluidity of the routing cutting down on the stop start problems that can often occur.

Outcome

A rondo can be adapted for several focuses, this one we will use the ball movement focus, part of your standard would be to make that point during the routine to your players. Other occasions you can perhaps make some changes to the rondo to focus on a different development.

 



The blog of all blogs

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have been a coach for a number of years now and throughout those years I have had a number of experiences which contributed to my development at doing what I do. Instead of these thoughts and experiences rattling around in my brain a couple of years ago I made the decision to write them down, that’s where my blog was born. Many hours and beers went to dreaming up a name for such a uniform resource locator. These wonders of coaching would be written into the stars, eventually thecoachingcolumn.net was engraved onto the records of a well known and interesting domain registration site. I’m told that the hits I have received, word press related features tell me there have been over 100,000 of them, have made it all the way to an academy in Florida so technically worldwide (which is exciting) and also made it locally to some of my friends in the coaching world. So, all this basically means is that it makes me incredibly proud to present to you the fact that some of these ideas, original or stolen, have contributed to the development of some young and old players in the UK and further away.

First and primary thought process before we actually get into the football aspect of things, I often spoke of professionalism. In my time I have met many a coach who makes a point of arguing with referee’s on a regular basis, showing up to matchday with a bad attitude towards opposition, generally creating a toxic atmosphere. Keeping in mind this is through experience.

An interesting thought occurred recently, throughout my time as being a coach I often spent time thinking about certain aspects of conduct and so on, one that confused me the most is arguing with the referee.Not something I spend anytime doing as personally I feel that in this case you would lose the respect of the referee, also on a more superficial basis it isn’t like the referee is going to listen and decide to change his mind based on your argument, the decision is final and he will not be persuaded based on your argument. As the great Brian Clough once said “people forget the referee doesn’t have a slow motion eyeball”

Another aspect in terms of applying professionalism is your conduct on match day, go and meet the opposition management/coaching staff, shake a few hands and have a social conversation. Ensure that your demeanour is positive and enthusiastic, this is turn I have found that you will earn your immediate respect from the opposition. During the match if the opposition have some injured personnel you may find yourself in a position where you have better medical supplies available to you, take the opportunity to share this. It is your job to be there for the well being of your players, and everyone else there. I have found myself in this position before and it is an important aspect of demonstrate.

This will develop a positive reputation on yourself and to be honest I don’t find any of these demands strenuous, do you?

Warm Up

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  • Run down length of cones both feet in gap between each cones x2
  • Repeat Sideways left and Rightx2
  • Side step through cones x2
  • Backwards Sidestep x2
  • Sprint length of cones x1
  • Reaction Sprints 360 Degree
  • Rondo/Passing/Sequence Passing

Recently left a club where I was lead coach of a u13s group. Above was the warm up routine that I used on a weekly basis. Might prove to be useful.

Player Made

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Something made by a young player, impressive work.

Artwork Sample

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Some nice messing around with the filters available. Turned out really nicely.

Artwork

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Recently started embracing my inner geek and experimenting with some photoshop ideas, naturally all of them are going to be football related. So at the moment I will gradually published my past ideas and continue to mess about with new ones to see whats what, if your club are interested in getting something like this done please let me know and I would be happy to help, keeping in mind its entirely free.

QA with Tony McInally

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First of all as always let us know a little bit about yourself?

My name is Tony McInally and I am currently manager of Pollok FC, previously of Shotts Bon Accord, Lanark Utd and Cumbernauld Utd. Won 11 major honours as manager, I have UEFA B licence, SFA B Licence plus other certificates/qualifications. Full time director for IT infrastructure reseller company, been in leadership positions in professional life for over 20 years with much correlated areas between business and football. Played professionally for 10 years with St Mirren, Ayr Utd, QoS, Queens Park and Albion Rovers, subsequently played junior for 7 years for Shotts Bon Accord, Benburb and Neilston winning all trophies except Scottish Junior Cup, then played amateur for Heathside and Dalziel HSFP for 3 years winning all trophies at amateur level and also Scottish caps

So how was it you became a coach?

I always loved football – I have been playing and managing for past 40+ years, a football fanatic and every game is different which keeps it real, different teams, players, formations, managers, philosophies, playing style and eras

So to date who would you consider the best players you have worked with?

I’ve been very fortunate to work with many highly talented players at junior level from very talented youngsters to excellent pros at the end of their career. In terms of talented young players,  Ive managed and coached Stefan McCluskey, Andy Scott, Mohammad Niang, Stuart McCann when they were teenagers and they all have very impressive skills and attributes. Love developing players to become the best player they can be. Enjoy taking lads in their early 20’s who are open minded about listening and learning and making them much better players – players like Colin Williamson, Gary McCann, Paul Gallacher, Mark Sideserf, Tam Hanlon spring to mind who have developed into great players who have performed at really good levels for a number of years now.

Older professionals like John Boyack, Robbie Winters, Wullie Howie, David Winters, Gary McStay, Ryan McStay and Ryan McCann were a joy to manage and work with too – they helped me develop as a manager as they challenge you to be better, insist upon best standards at training and games which makes you stay sharp as a manager

It pleases me very much that all these players won things playing in my teams, I helped them a little on their football careers and they enjoyed working with me.

In terms of your development as a coach who would you consider your greatest influence?

I would consider myself more of a manager than a coach having done the UEFA coaching courses. Some individual skill sets are on the training ground, others have an eye for players, other teams, work out ways to beat opposition find a way to win games and trophies – I would say my skills are towards the latter areas rather than purely coaching players. I of course enjoy coaching on a weekly basis but I believe I have more skills in the managerial capacity.

In terms of influences, Ive been really fortunate to have worked with many great managers and coaches – as a teenager I played for Ross Mathie and Andy Roxburgh at Scottish Schoolboy level who were very good, Ricky McFarlane at St Mirren, George Burley at Ayr, Hugh McCann at Queens Park, Tommy O’Neill at Rovers. Big coaching influences were George Dickson and Stewart Ralston at Dalziel who gave me my appetite for football back after playing professional for 6 years – their coaching and mind games got me back playing and motivated again.

So of course we all live for player development, what is your philosophy towards that?

I love working with players on a 1-2-1 or 1-2-few basis helping them become better players. I see every player as a jigsaw so I try put all the pieces together – I let them work as free spirits for a while before I approach them to speak about their development – from there I break down their game in terms of strengths and weaknesses. From this point, I try to enhance the strengths and also, work on their weaknesses to make them better players. I tend to identify certain players who are open minded about becoming better and will work every week and month throughout the season to make them better

At present, I’m working very closely with Stuart McCann, Mohammad Niang and Adam Forde at our club to make them better players.

Finally, would there be any sort of advice you could offer any aspiring coaches out there that are just beginning their journey?

Be open minded, keep it simple, learn from good and bad experiences, take advice from experienced coaches and managers. Find yourself a manager or coach you admire and ask for advice and guidance to bounce ideas, philosophies off and always remember never be complacent – the beauty of football is there is always another game to learn and become better.

Do you have any ambitions beyond your current role?

I’ve had the privilege of the opportunity to become a senior manager a few times but my professional career means I have had a fulfilling job that pays well. It is an honour to be manager at a team such as Pollok who treat me very well and give me the freedom to get on with the job. When I finish at Pollok I may only go scout for senior club in terms of opposition scouting or scouting players.

Big thanks to Tony for taking time out from busy family life to answer a few questions for us.