Category Archives: Posts

Podcast Invitation

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Good evening

As you may be aware I am working on the idea of a podcast, this was born out of other coaches doing something similar of course. What I wanted to do differently was to issue an open invitation, the idea is that every coach has their own philosophy and approach. Each one of those should be respected (within reason) and I wanted to provide a platform for those ideas to be shared. So if you are interested in having that conversation and happy to be on soundcloud let me know on @gillenreid

Curneen on America

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Here at YFS we speak to a variety of people, all walks of life and who perform all sorts of roles for the sake of the beautiful game, we were lucky enough to have someone different along to have a conversation. Gary Curneen is the current head women’s soccer coach at Cal State University, Bakersfield, and the founder of Modern Soccer Coach Education. His role is full-time in nature at a college in the US who compete at the Division I level. When asked about the role itself “like most people in the game I am passionate about developing players, teams, to succeed on and off the field”

I was keen to understand a little bit more about how the girls game operates in America and how it compares to the rapidly growing equivalent in Scotland

“I’m not familiar with Scottish landscape so can’t compare. Girls game is huge in the States and the players are fortunate enough to have huge amount of opportunities with both games and training. The college game is the destination for most top players and it becomes a full-time environment with training every day and access to top facilities and full-time coaches”

He originally played in the US, once his playing career was completed he continued life at a coaching capacity for an additional two years “I originally was going to go into the business world and corporate America but got cold feet. My college coach gave me an opportunity to stay on and help him out, along with getting my masters in business and administration and I took it”

After settling into the role he mentioned that “I realized I had a completely wrong perception of what coaching entailed. I got introduced to tactics, systems, training models, science, psychology and was hooked” he is now owner of a UEFA A licence thanks to the services of the FA in Ireland.

Gary has added to this by writing a book Modern Soccer Coach 2014 adding his own take on “What sets the greatest coaches apart in today’s game and how to create a culture of excellence within a program”

So overall the girls game appears to be rich in opportunities, in Scotland the girls game is catching up with more and more clubs linking up with their mens equivalent, more and more work is being done creating the pathway from the younger age groups all the way through to the senior team “I think cultures in the US and UK could learn a lot from each other. Players in the US excel in the physical side of the game and I think with more resources and funding in the women’s game in the UK, it will allow Scotland to continue to excel”

Adding to that he also mentioned that he had recently came along to have a look at the women’s game in Scotland “I was there in February and visited Hibs and Celtic ladies teams. Really enjoyed it and was very impressed by the level and the coaching. Hopefully I can come back more often”

Big thanks to Gary for taking time to answer some questions that I had, hopefully it will prove to be an intriguing read.

Morton’s Youth Development

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We are seeing more and more prospects emerge from the fully reconstructed academies of Scotland, former full timer Derek Anderson leads the way as Head of Youth Academy, tasked with identifying suitable individuals to be added to the ever expanding ranks. In terms of qualified persons Anderson secured himself a UEFA “A” Licence and has playing experience with Hibs and Kilmarnock.

As part of the academies redevelopment Director Warren Hawke, who has a degree in business management, will handle all things finance related to allow all energy to be spent on the important subject of football.

The 26 staff members are there now to support this development, so the key in terms of pointing these players in the right direction is dedication. Work behind the scenes has resulted in the full development of a player pathway, which meets the SFA demanded criteria.

The fruits of their labour consist of Ben Armour, who the next best thing to come out of Cappielow, following his signing for the club September 2016 from Queens Park he made his first appearance for the current development team the subsequent April time against Dumfermline, the 19 year old striker recently signed a 6 months extension to his existing deal with Greenock Morton to turn professional and keep him an active member until January 2018. Armour he known for his instinctive finishing and being in the right place at the right time, such attributes present a nightmare for the most talented of defenders.

Another prospect Jamie Mcgowan signed on full time along with striker Armour, the 20 year old paisley born shot stopper impressed during his handful of appearances for the first team earning himself a full time spot. McGowan was rewarded with an additional year on top of his existing deal, breaking into the first team 2016 against Spartans after the first team goalkeeper suffering a nasty case of concussion.

First team manager was questioned on the keeping the players onboard

“In pre-season they’ll come with me and be with my group, as will Jai Quitongo, and then it’s really up to them after that in terms of how far they push themselves and how much they want it.”

So the clubs recent reshaping have offered up some talented individuals, so the prospects of a new  generation of players coming through the newly established pathway created is an exciting one.

Something to write about

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As you may have noticed I do like to write, mainly using that voice in my head without the filter to express my thoughts on coaching ideas. I would be keen to branch out into writing in other places but it appears to be something difficult to do without a degree or something else on your CV, in this case its purely a hobby of mine. Please get in touch through my personal twitter and we can work together.

 

 

Podcast Action

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Something I had wanted to do for a while now, I had put it off for long enough for various different reasons mainly I wasn’t comfortable with my own voice being online.

Eventually I plucked up the courage to set something out and the following recording is the result. If you would like to share your passion in coaching please get in touch and I can sort out a potential recording.

An image tells some stories

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Hello Folks.

A nice addition to the blog is some imagery, my dear and lovely friend Kelly, who is a freelance photographer, has kindly agreed to offer up some of her magnificent work for you to enjoy. At the moment she will supply us with stadium visits, perhaps expanding on this at some point.

Please head over to her twitter to get a further visual on her well documented work. Or have a look below.

We also did a Q&A with her a while back.

 

Historic Writing

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More source stuff, written all the way back when Lennon left.

Neil Lennon has moved, looking for something new and fresh following a hugely successful four years at the helm of celtic, a club very close to his heart.

The impression given by his behaviour was that the board were not willing to match his ambition to progress and add to the current celtic setup, and with his stock rising to the levels where he was linked with some premiership post’s it was time for him to move on.

It’s true within scottish football times have changed, no longer does any part of the old firm profile emanate the same excitement and pull. However, the debate continues to rage on who would take the currently vacant post.

Roy Keane was the first to establish contact, rumours suggest that celtic were unable to lure the Irishman to parkhead (with the pointless sidenote of him deciding to move to edinburgh if he did take it on)

Others linked to the opportunity is former Manchester United gaffer David Moyes, his reputation ruined after a destructive time at old trafford, it would prove to be an ideal opportunity for him to rebuild his shattered profile. Others suggested would be the celtic legend Henrik Larsson, which the fans would approve of, although his management style is currently unproven. Former West Brom manager Steve Clarke is the next man to be added to the hat, out of employment ever since his frankly ridiculous release, the saltcoats man possesses a vase source of experience and his well known no nonsense approach would keep the celtic squad in line. As tradition dictates the rumour mill produces its usual items, dan petrescu, willie mcstay, paul clement (of Real Madrid) even jackie mcnamara has been suggested.

Ultimately Parkhead will be full of interest to find out who will take over, but the days of the headline news are over.

Quality Control

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This is an important moment for football.

First of all I want to make a point, I don’t have an ego in terms of what I do. I do what I do because I love it, if the footballers that listen learn something from what I do then that’s even better, just means I’m doing what I love and people are benefiting from that. A few evenings ago I came across a training session, I like to observe as an important part of coaching is a continuation of learning, to perhaps steal some ideas and adapt them for myself. I was excited to see a coach kitted out in SFA level all weather jacket, tracksuit and the likes, my expectations were high so the notepad was out.

What followed was a shock.

18 players present he prepared two very short channels of cones for a warm up, this caused a back log of players including very little room for any player to perform the relevant stretches. subsequently the coach setup 3 massive rondo boxes, having far too much room allowed the players to relax and have time to move the ball without the pressure of a pressing player. He quietly approached each one the the boxes quietly presumably to explain the routine. During this time over 70% of the players were doing that routine without observation or a coordinated process, afterwards he merged the 3 into two rondos. Then afterwards he merges the 2 into one giant rondo box with two players pressing in the middle. This leaves numerous players non active in a typical Scottish weather environment and at risk of injury. Eventually the miserable session came to an end and he put the players together to start a game, he specifically set out each team having the players that “made an effort” in one team and the other team consisted of a group deemed lazy during the previous routines, and that was it. The session was done.

There was no point where the coach stopped the game to make a coaching point, there was no voice controlling and coordinating what was going on. Simply the players were left to their own devices.

Now going back to what I said originally, I don’t actively claim that I am better than anyone else, I make a point of remaining grounded in terms of my attitude, but in this case I was shocked as to the lack of enthusiasm and care put into the session. Of course I can’t name or shame, this would lack professionalism and put a bad light on a perfectly good club.

Morton Prospects

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We are seeing more and more prospects emerge from the fully reconstructed academies of Scotland, former full timer Derek Anderson leads the way as Head of Youth Academy, tasked with identifying suitable individuals to be added to the ever expanding ranks. In terms of qualified persons Anderson secured himself a UEFA “A” Licence and has playing experience with Hibs and Kilmarnock.

As part of the academies redevelopment Director Warren Hawke, who has a degree in business management, will handle all things finance related to allow all energy to be spent on the important subject of football.

The 26 staff members are there now to support this development, so the key in terms of pointing these players in the right direction is dedication. Work behind the scenes has resulted in the full development of a player pathway, which meets the SFA demanded criteria.

The fruits of their labour consist of Ben Armour, who the next best thing to come out of Cappielow, following his signing for the club September 2016 from Queens Park he made his first appearance for the current development team the subsequent April time against Dumfermline, the 19 year old striker recently signed a 6 months extension to his existing deal with Greenock Morton to turn professional and keep him an active member until January 2018. Armour he known for his instinctive finishing and being in the right place at the right time, such attributes present a nightmare for the most talented of defenders.

Another prospect Jamie Mcgowan signed on full time along with striker Armour, the 20 year old paisley born shot stopper impressed during his handful of appearances for the first team earning himself a full time spot. McGowan was rewarded with an additional year on top of his existing deal, breaking into the first team 2016 against Spartans after the first team goalkeeper suffering a nasty case of concussion.

First team manager was questioned on the keeping the players onboard

“In pre-season they’ll come with me and be with my group, as will Jai Quitongo, and then it’s really up to them after that in terms of how far they push themselves and how much they want it.”

So the clubs recent reshaping have offered up some talented individuals, so the prospects of a new generation of players coming through the newly established pathway created is an exciting one.

Breathing Space

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Small note,

Delighted to announce that the blog has linked up with the recently advertised Breathing Space which is a charity actively supporting those that perhaps are not feeling so great in their own mind. Breathing space offers an opportunity to speak to someone, have a conversation about how you are feeling at that time and maybe finding a way to deal with that at the time, or to simply get something off your chest. Such an opportunity is invaluable.

A small image has been added showing a contact number 🙂

Remember guys and girls, you are never alone.