Category Archives: Q&A

Westerlands LFC

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Good afternoon,

On this fine white Sunday we welcome a guest to answer a few questions for us. So lets make some introductions?

I am Niall Marshall, Head Coach of Westerlands LAFC.  I’m a UEFA B Licenced Coach who has been coaching for 16 years in both Scotland and The USA.

Westerlands LAFC? Tell us more.

Westerlands FC were established in 1967 as an informal Glasgow University Alumni team.  Over the last few years the ties between the University and the Club have become more formal and in 2014 the Club decided to launch a Ladies Section.  Westerlands LAFC were born and entered the SWFL 2nd Division West in 2015 and gained immediate promotion to the 1st Division.  Thanks to the great structure within the Club and the positive environment in which the club has run we have a group of thirty five footballers.  This pre-season we are looking to add a minimum of 10 additional players to the Club as we expand to having two teams in the league and a Development Group below that.

You mentioned a positive environment, does you and your coaches approach differ from the traditional and regular?

At our club it’s not about us; It’s about the players.  I’ve been involved in coaching for 16 years and have been lucky enough to meet and work with coaches from all across the planet, including some who have been involved all the way up to the top of world football.  From observing how well and how poorly other coaches interact with their players I have developed and created my own coaching and management philosophy.  I have now had the chance to fully put that into action at Westerlands LAFC and I genuinely believe it separates us from many of the other amateur clubs of the female persuasion.

The behaviour that we insist upon from our Players and Coaches and the way in which they behave towards each other, towards the opposition and towards the referees creates a very positive environment.  But not only do we insist upon it we enforce it.

Our training is well organised with emphasis on the use of the ball meaning our players enjoy training, enjoy the environment and as a result it encourages more members to join us. As I said, too many Coaches think the game is about them, it’s not – it’s about the players.


Do you have any success stories to share with us?

With our team only being one year old it’s hard to have many success stories so far but seeing how far some players came over the course of just one season was very satisfying. Top goalscorer Kelly Lewis was playing 11 a Side football for the first time ever, while our most improved award went to Holli Coleman who joined the club after a long break from football.  Holli worked her way into the squad, worked her way into the first team and by the end of the season was an integral part of the group.  Both of these stories were quite special in our first season together as a club.

What’s the plans for preseason and the up and coming season?

I’ve put together a varied pre-season plan to make it as interesting as possible for the players.  We’ll spend plenty of time on the ball and as much as possible all the fitness will include the use of the ball.  I’ve also arranged some Boxing Classes, Futsal and Fives to give the players something different to focus on.

For this season it will all be about consolidating our Club, getting the 2nd team up and running and consolidating our first team so that we find our feet in the 1st Division.


Big thanks for Niall for joining us today, at the time of writing there is a void where a Westerlands intra squad friendly should have been, much like a number of clubs today snow was the culprit.

Adventure Kicks – The Tour

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A nice video from adventure kicks.

Lunch in Mongolia

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Some recruitment in mind today, a quick chat with Martin Myers Age Group: Under 17s (1998)
Club Name: Andalus Ansar FC
What is your club looking for?:
Now into our 2nd season we are looking for committed players in all positions to come along to try out with a view to joining the team. Like us on facebook to be kept up to date, Andalus Ansar FC
What does your club offer?:
We’re a new club with a great bunch of lads who are eager to improve. Coaches are here to help your development. We offer a great chance to play football in a friendly, committed and fair manner. Weekly training sessions on Tuesday 8-9pm at Toryglen Regional footy centre run by SFA coaching badge holders.
Additional Information:
Andalus in partnership with Ansar set up an U16’s football team in 2013. We have just completed our first season playing in the Glasgow and District Youth League.  A mini bus is provided most weeks for training and games leaving Andalus centre nr Maryhill Road.
Contact martin via for more details.

Thoughts on coaching…

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Good afternoon (well it is here)

To avoid the pending “weather bomb” i thought some light reading was in order to pass the time, so to start proceedings, our audience would like to know who they are reading about today?

My name is Laurie McGinley and I am 23 years old. I live in Glasgow and one day want to be a professional football coach. I support Chelsea FC and in Scotland I like Queen of the South. I am a big fan of the national squad and think Gordon Strachan is a legend of how he has transferred the team into a great team.

So what is it you do?

I also play for the Scotland Cp football team. This is the national squad for people who have had a stroke, cerebral palsy and a head injury. I had viral encephalitis when I was 9 years old. I have worked hard to get to where I am. I have a degree in Sports and Active Lifestyles from Glasgow Caledonian University.

I am currently a UEFA level 2 coach for children and 1.3 for the main pathway but currently working towards my C license during the month of October and November. I also have a number of smaller awards such as goalkeeping certificate, coaching players with disabilities and a youth diploma from Coerver Coaching.

I work for Glasgow Life as a General Attendant, but in my spare time I go to the gym and coach football.  I also read a lot of books that are related to sport and more specifically football. I read autobiographies, psychological books and tactical books.

This way I can keep up to date with new material and look back on existing ideas and try to make them my own. I like to create new ideas with a variety of existing and new games that are related to the theme I want to pursue.

What originally inspired you to become a coach?

I’ve always wanted to become a coach for football and when I had the chance to work in schools I took my chance and started to get my badges. I love football and working with such a variety of different ages and abilities over the years helped me more as a coach. I always prepare my sessions and have a plan B or C if plan A doesn’t work. I have worked every year to get more badges and a variety of different experiences working with different clubs. Hopefully next year I can build on my confidence and get to work with a pro club.

You got any happy stories to tell us?

I have many happy stories, but the best one is when I played for Scotland at Toryglen for the 2010 European Championships. We were playing England in the 5/6 play off and it was a Friday night. I was selected to start and was feeling nervous, but always remember a coach saying that you have the ability to beat anyone in the world. I felt much better then, but still fully focused on the job ahead. The game went to extra time and through the months of fitness training and the adrenaline I felt I could play forever. I remember it being around 10 minutes into the first half and I disposed the English midfielder and passed the ball to my team mate and he got it into his stride and took a shot from 30 yards out and it went into the top corner. The place was going mental and celebrated like we won the world cup! When the final whistle went I collapsed because I gave it my all as I was so tired.  We collected our medals afterwards and chilled out for the rest of the night as we deserved a good rest.

That memory will stick me forever as it was one of my greatest achievements as  a player and as a person!

If you had the chance what would you change about youth development?

I believe the youth system is going the correct way, but the only thing about it I would change would be more game like situations as Johan Cryuff said that ‘players sometimes need to figure out what to do themselves as they are the ones who are on the field’. I think we need to adapt the Dutch and German way of playing the ball around and having the confidence to try something new. As I say to my players, that I will never criticize a player if he tried something new and is the right timing, but try not to make the same mistake ten times a row. Having the confidence in your players will leave the manager or coach with more time to plan new things as they can do more on their own.

Are there any philosophies you follow when coaching?

I follow my own philosophy, as I believe football should be a simple sport and we can change things to help the players become better. I love technical players and players that have speed and tricks as I believe if you have a good attack then the defense can relax a bit more. I always have a strong and tall centre back to win the balls and have a quick centre back that if one makes a mistake then the other one can cover. I like the way Jose Mourinho thinks about football, but Brendan Rogers way last season was the best way to play football last season. Speed Strength and creativity now its Chelsea that are full of that.
Big thanks to Laurie for today’s interview, hopefully have enjoyed some further insight.


If you are thirteen?

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This week I caught up with Tommy Little who for the past three and a bit years has been the lead coach for Glasgow City FC 13’s. Now recently retired from coaching, I caught up with him to get his views on the beautiful game.
So from what I’m told you were a player yourself? Can you tell me a bit more about those days?
I was a late developer in the game. I played for my boys brigade team when I was about 10 or 11 and I didn’t play organised football again until I was 15.
After the first season I was signed by Albion Rovers which to me at the time was like joining Real Madrid. Afterwards I was invited down to Barnsley where I quickly realised I wasn’t half as good as I originally thought.
When I returned home I went on and spent some time at juniors and subsequently the amateur game where I enjoyed my best years, finishing up at the age of 33.
Coming back to your time as lead coach, could you tell us your biggest success story?
In my time at City I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach some very talented girls. But if I was to pick a single player, it would have to be Sophie Allison who was my goalkeeper throughout my time at city. She really will be a star in the womens game.
I also had two fantastic captains in Murron Cunningham and Karsey McGlinchey, both terrific players in their own right. With the direction the womens game is going both kids have the ability to write their own pages of history.
In your coaching hours, was there a specific philosophy and attitude that you looked to implement into your age group?
The philosophy at City suited my style of coaching in that all players are encouraged to get the ball down and pass it. We focused heavily on the young players improving their first touch as, in my opinion, this is the most important thing in a football player.
We also emphasized that having great ability will never work if you don’t have the right attitude.
So for any developing coaches out there what advice could you give them?
It’s very important to make yourself heard. I don’t mean bawling at the top of your voice. I mean the whole group must be able to hear the instruction otherwise you will lose their interest and the session deteriorates into a rabble.
If you were to change anything about the girls side of football, what would it be?
People’s attitude!  There is this misconception in this country that the women’s game is of a poor quality.
Most of the people who have this idea have never watched a women’s game in their life but feel qualified to express an opinion. I have encouraged a few people to go along and watch the Glasgow City Seniors and tell me what they think. I’ve yet to have anyone come back and tell me they didn’t enjoy it.
So what next for your retirement?
Now that the coaching gear has been stashed away I’ll be concentrating on getting my golf handicap down. I will miss working with the coaches and players at City immensely and will always remain a supporter. I could not have wished to have finished my coaching career at a better club.

An interview with Kelly

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Good morning, Today’s event will be a chat with my friend and YFS colleague Kelly Neilson, she has slowly worked her way towards being the main visual collector for YFS and her photography skills are hugely valued by the footballing organisation, and her vast array of footballing images are used by youngsters to admire themselves in play. In her spare time she shows up to social events to abuse me for my excessive drinking and negative lifestyle (only looking out for your liver and wellbeing, Gillen )

*sips pretend green tea*

So to begin as per the tradition our audience would like to know a little about yourself?

My name is Kelly Neilson and as you mentioned I work as a photographer with YFS. I lived in Edinburgh for 5 years to study for a BA Photography and Film at Edinburgh Napier. I am documentary minded and this applies to everything I do from sports to street photography.

Define your role in YFS?

With YFS I get to pick the matches I want to photograph. I usually go to  games with other volunteers, mostly journalists. After the match, I go home, edit then upload to the YFS gallery and wait until the journalist has finished their match report, to see the final results. Sometimes I get asked my opinion about the technical aspects of photography which is not my strongest point, but i regularly collaborate with other YFS photographers and can usually come up with a better solution. I believe in teamwork because we aren’t all perfect and if we do work together, then we can achieve a lot more.

What inspired you to become involved in photography?

When I was 17, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. So I thought, as I quite like being creative, I tried out a NQ in Sound and Media with North Glasgow College, which worked very well for me so I then did a small course on photography and I was hooked.  After a NQ Photography i discovered it was the only creative medium where I understood the basics right away, and I could get better with it. Everything else from guitar, sound engineering or painting just didn’t work for me, but with Photography it was just love at first sight.

How did the prospect of YFS come about

I was looking for Photography opportunities on Gumtree and I saw the YFS advert looking for photographers to join their team so i thought “why not”

Usually you would need to show your portfolio and write a statement about why you want to be given an opportunity. YFS was quite simple, if you had a camera and you were willing to give a couple of hours of your time then you can join. I’ve been with YFS for almost a year and I have learned a lot from it and that in turn has made me a better photographer.

What was the best game you have covered?

It’s got to be the ladies Scotland vs Sweden game at Fir Park. It was the first time YFS were allowed to send a photographer to a non youth international game, so it was an entirely new experience to watch pro sport photographers doing their job and me being overly excited just to be there. I was asked by YFS if I wanted to I could pass on a few photographs to the SFA but I couldn’t because I spent the whole game photographing my favourite player, Nilla Fischer…

So what do you get up to in terms of visuals if it isn’t covering YFS games?

When I left University, I was told by one of my lecturers to never go back home and just live somewhere else. I suppose in her mind you will never learn about the world around you if you just stay in one place. A year ago I would have believed her but not anymore. We are living in exciting time in both Glasgow and Scotland due to the interest in politics and I want to be here to photograph what is going on. So far I have took pictures of YES rallies, protests, foodbanks, etc. I am also sending photographs to national and International competitions to hopefully win them or even simply get some credit. I’ve been using photos from the Commonwealth Game in Glasgow and women and girls football match. So fingers cross to get a mention on their websites or even to get my hands on the expensive prizes they give out.

*Cue Shameless Plugging*

So where exactly are clubs to go to obtain images of themselves in play?

At this moment I have a flickr account where I show non YFS games. So if there is an image you like, then feel free to tell me if you want a print or an image file and  then you pay through paypal. Nice and simple

How do we persuade you to show up at a game in order to have it covered if it isn’t YFS related?

It’s not very difficult to persuade me to come to a game. Travelling isn’t an issue because I love going to new places and as long as I know that the match will be entertaining then I’m happy.

There is a number of ways to get contact with me. You can tweet at @kneilsonphoto or sent an email at

I hope you have enjoyed todays chat with Kelly, she is now away to shout at RBS for a while, whilst im off for a coffee to avoid a crash.

QA with Andy

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Today we are lucky enough to have my friend and youth development coach Andy Moran along for a quick chat, personally I have been lucky enough to have had the experience of working on the same pitch and catching a glimpse of his work, and I was keen to share some of this with you, perhaps inspire you to get a taste of the crazy world of goalkeeping, so with out further ado lets get started.

First of all its great to have you along Andy and I think I speak on behalf of everyone to say its very generous of you to spend some time with us.

Q – So before we start a little more in depth, I think our audience would like to know you a little better, so tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Andy and I’m head of youth goalkeeping at Glasgow City FC

I’m 36 years old and operations manager for one of Scotland’s biggest construction and maintenance companies as well as my coaching role at City so thankfully I have a very understanding family.

Q – Certainly, active at Glasgow Green with City I remember it being a very busy environment and I know that City take the development of their kids very seriously. So on that note what was your inspiration to become a coach?


Probably the fact that as a young keeper you never really got coaching of a decent level unless you were lucky enough to play with a top team, I myself was lucky to play at a club with a high standard of GK coaching, so that’s kind of what inspired me, to make sure young keepers get the coaching they deserve regardless of where they play their football


Q – Yeah I know what you mean, coaching has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years especially in the world of Goalkeeping, so in terms of the academy, what age groups do you look after?

In terms of the youth academy we have kids as young as 5-6 attending and having fun learning the basics of football and even a couple of them want to be keepers so I make sure I can always spend some time with them before my session with the older keepers starts

In any one session I can have up to 6 keepers from the youth teams from the 11’s up to the 17’s all working together this I feel is beneficial as the younger keepers can learn more from working along side the older ones and the older keepers can pass on advice and help them out

It also helps when I take the first team sessions as I will have my 15’s and 17’s keepers working closely with Lee Alexander which is great for thier development

Q – Yes it does sounds like you’re a very busy man, so are there any success stories you could tell us from your academy/city ventures?

There isn’t really a success story as such as every time my keepers pull on thier city top and step onto the park to play that’s enough for me that they are good enough to play for such a top club, there is one event though that to this day still makes me laugh to myself with a bit of self pride

It was coming up to the league cup final last season and our keeper was going on holiday and missing the game and unfortunately our other keeper was cup tied to the team we had in the final, so we asked the question of the girls at training who would like to step in and play in goals for the final,

Our centre half Annie early duels stepped up and after only a week of goalkeeping coaching the final was on us. She was calm, I was nervous but she played a fantastic game keeping a clean sheet with a few good saves to help the team beat rangers 3-0, what a great day

Q – If you had the opportunity to change football what would it be?

I would make sure girls get the same advantages as the boys, some of the house talent out there goes unnoticed due to sometimes lack of support for the women’s game in scotland, which I must say is changing, but slowly.

Q –Its good to see that progress is being made, so currently what is your opinion on the young girls of today’s game?

Women’s football in general is a far more technical game, what the young girls lack in strength they make up for in technical ability and desire to succeed.

Q – So what do you predict for the future? And what are your plans?

I predict in years to come the women’s game in scotland is undoubtedly going to escalate when you see the stanard the coaches are brining through the youth ranks of thier clubs. Currently my plans are to develop the next generation of goalkeepers for city and continue to work with the keepers in the west region  All i can say is by us all working together we can make the women’s game great in scotland and we all need to keep doing what we’re doing and work hard for the kids.


Thanks again to Andy for answering the few questions I had for him, his work was been noticed and as he stated before hand he has progressed to working as a west region coach for the SFA, along with working for City. Good luck to his family!


Thank you Gillen

QA with Dougie

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Todays reason for bothering everyone is an interview, in this piece of chat we talk to Dougie, a learned coach from Dundee on an endless quest to better himself in the world of coaching and all things football related.

So here we go (sips pretend green tea)

Q – Good evening Dougie, how are you enjoying the information supplied on the mighty column?

A – It’s looking good mate, enjoying the content and made a bookmark on the phone + laptop.

Q – Tell us a little about yourself? Why do you involve yourself with football? What made it of interest to you?

A – My story is simple, I’m a passionate lover of football. My knee hurt too much to play any decent level, so coaching was my answer. Coached a few local youth teams, but politics annoy me quite bad within football. I’m looking for a new team to get involved with just now, and eventually making coaching football a full time business for myself. Holiday Camps, My own team, Fit Camps etc of my own creation and build.

Q – Do you personally think that the timeless mission of sharing the information with the world of coaching is worth the effort?

A – Anything that improves knowledge of coaches by even 0.5%, gives the players they work with more opportunity to develop and progress.

Q – Have you ever been to Iceland? (and don’t say anything to do with prawns)

A – No, although, just to namedrop a little bit, I was at college while Davie Hannah was doing his HND Sports Coaching award, and when he managed a team over there he took 2 or 3 local boys to play for the team. They all loved it. Bearing in mind it was the Icelandic Third Division and, looking at the pictures they came back with, they were playing matches indoor.

Q – How did you learn of the existence of the column?

A – It was a case of seeing it on Facebook within 1 of the groups, and jumping on. Now I’ve contributed some pieces of absolute magic. Whether other coaches will say the same about them is a different subject.

Well thats all we could think about today, clearly we have educating in all things planning ahead. Dougie is off to take care of things all family related and im off to clean up the nosebleed i caused for thinking too hard…


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Something a little different, Coach Lee Moroney is to give us a detailed account of his profile to date, the question is, will you be impressed?

Current Club: St Anne’s GAA Club, Dublin and Head Coach @ CoachApproach Ireland
Previous Coaching Experience:

14 years coaching young people first as an assistant manager to several GAA teams at St Anne’s GAA Club to managing several juvenile teams and coaching adult ladies and U18 boys teams over the years. I have coached and taught at Summer Camps in the USA in 2001 at Camp Palmer as well as coaching and working young people through sports from swim teaching to sports coaching and recreational after school programmes in Sydney Australia in 2008. I am a coach educator for the GAA in Ireland and also teach FETAC (3rd level) in sport and recreation as well as in the areas of Exercise and fitness.

Future Coaching Aspirations:

Develop CoachApproach to a leading brand in sports development, coaching and personal and group training.

Coaching Philosophy:

Direct translation of Coach (Koch – Hungarian) means to carry people from A to B, my main philosophy is to ‘help’ simple as that, to guide people through positive, reaffirming sports coaching.

I think that all coaches should try to do is help and be supportive

“ Don’t teach drills, teach situations”

Space Invaders

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This routine is from Lee Moroney of St Anne’s GAA Club, Dublin and Head Coach of CoachApproach Ireland

Aim of the game to throw under arm or over arm to team mate on opposite side of hall they must catch it cleanly (no fumbles or drop) when a team mates catch it they score a point. With younger children 6/7 yr olds you may give 2 points for a catch with no bounce, and 1 point if it only bounces once.

Hall is spilit up by dividing it with cones

Each team starts with 2 space invaders on opposing team they are to try to block throws and to intercept passes… If they intercept a pass they can score by throwing to team mate on opposite side to score.

Players are permitted to pass to team mates on their own side a small progression might be you must make 2 or 3 passes before you can throw to team mate on other side.

When the concept is got you should spilt the teams evenly 5 space invaders in each court this will make the task of passing ball harder

Progress by adding in a 2nd ball to quicken up the play add a third ball or fourth ball depending on the ability of the group

1 Players are not permitted to wrest or grab ball from opponents
You will need pen and paper to record scores.