Q&A with Gillen Part 1

My name is Gillen Reid and I am owner and writer for thecoachingcolumn.net

Tell us a bit more?

The idea was inspired by my own struggle, when I developed my interest in coaching alot of ideas and material to use wasn’t really readily available as it is now. All of it was kind of scattered all over the net without any sort of coherent structure or sources, more importantly signposted. So I decided to take advantage of some of the (at the time) cutting edge features that were available at the time. Tumblr and twitter were the key here. The idea was to combine spontaneous idea’s that went on in my head along with work I had done with other coaches, observed or tried out myself and in this case literally write them down. Gradually over time the posts began to catch on and I got more and more feedback on how it was a great thing I was doing, so I decided to make things a little more official and the column was born.

You mentioned coaching?

I remember my earliest memory of manager/coach related thoughts was Rangers European Cup run in the 1992/1993 season I found myself trying to predict subs, changes in shape and ideas, that’s when the likes of championship manager was at its height, being a computer geek and having a love for football it was the perfect fit. When I eventually got round to developing that interest further I made the decisions to spend some time in amateur football to gain the experience of the environment of football, different personalities and how the game looked from the sidelines. During that experience I was lucky enough to meet some good people in football, individuals who simply do what they do because they love football. My time was up however when I discovered that the manager of the team I had coached had been taking ideas from Alex Ferguson’s Biography…

I took a break from football, we all need it to recharge the batteries, I was lucky enough to get and insight into Glasgow City Ladies, this is thanks to the wonderfully talented Amy McDonald who published a sort of apprenticeship scheme type where she wanted to develop a coach. This is where I fell in love with coaching. Inspired me to dedicate more and more time to learning and developing all different dimensions of football and the intricate details that come with it.

An Idol?

Always loved Cruyff, a wonderful person, player and coach. Sadly im not old enough to have witnessed him on live television but done my own share of reading and research. How important it was to him for players and a team to have their own identity, style and to entertain. To prioritize developing technical ability and love for the game, to minimize the involvement of suits and commercial conversations. To sum it up with one of his most famous of quotes  “Simple football is the most beautiful. But playing simple football is the hardest thing,”

So what next for the blog?

Genuinely just going to keep writing, something that I love doing and when an idea comes to mind I will always share this, always looking to add new and exciting things to the blog, some of them have took off others have failed miserably. A great addition has been my own personal blog which add an extra dimension, another being the great QA’s that have been done, some really interesting ideas and thoughts from a variety of people.

Q&A with Danny Barrett

Danny Barrett: My name is Danny Barrett and I am currently a coach with Arsenal Boys Club 2007-2010. I began coaching when I was 15 years old. I was given the opportunity to help primary School in my local area and this is where I would say I got the coaching bug.

Gillen Reid: Arsenal Boys Club? Tell us more.

DB: Back in 2012 I entered into the world of grassroots football in the name of Arsenal Juniors. It began with an introduction to someone who I now regard as football’s nicest man, Davie Currie. He had the idea of running a singular fun fours 2007 team, which I nervously agreed to be part of. I had never coached five year old footballers before and in all honesty didn’t know what I was letting myself in for.

The concept began with six players, most from the Ruchill area of Glasgow. We both entered into this project without a relative involved in the team, which later I found out was a rare occurrence at this level of football. Over time we developed a particular club philosophy, whilst focusing on trying to keep costs as low as possible for parents. Always attempt to keep parents involved and informed, working towards providing player feedback as often as possible.

Overall the objective was to create a safe, enjoyable and encouraging environment for all our players.

Four years later we’ve had a name change, Arsenal Boys Club, and expanded our age group to include 2008s, 2009s and now 2010s. We now compete in the Glasgow League every Sunday morning. The rapid expansion of the club has taken us by surprise. We pride ourselves in being a club that’s always evolving, trying to improve which aims to provide the best footballing experience for our young people.

GR: Any success stories you can tell us about?

DB: We now boast over 40 children across those age groups. We are also proud to say we’ve managed to retain the core group of players from our 2007s age group.
Watching all the players’ progress is one of the best feelings that you can get as a coach. Scores do not matter at any point. It’s all about the overall engagement and enjoyment. What I would regard as our biggest success story is that the children seem to enjoy their football. We have a group of children who understand they must first enjoy themselves and secondly work hard. This is a real club ethos that we have implemented across all our age groups that the players have really excelled at.

I would also state we have successfully managed to bring together children and their relatives to create a really positive club enviorment. Everyone involved brings something beneficial to our project and it has helped us grow stronger.

GR: What are your thoughts on coaching in terms of my own approach?

DB: I believe grassroots football is extremely difficult. There are many key traits needed to be an effective grassroots football coach, but I believe patience to be the key. Young people need simple, clear and direct instructions re-explained many times. When you fail, and it does happen, chaos breaks out.

You are asked ten times a minute if they can go to the toilet, which I believe is a nice marker to measure their engagement with your session. The less they ask, the more engaging and enjoyable the session. You will eventually have to deal with negative behaviour during games or training sessions. From angry outbursts because they did not score a goal to just waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

From all of these situations you require an abundance of patience.

One of the major factors that is sometimes missed at grassroots football is these children are beginning their footballing journey. Therefore, if you ask any player in one of our teams “what are you going to do today?” one of the two responses you will hear is ‘enjoy ourselves’. I honestly feel no matter what level you coach at if you cannot make training sessions enjoyable you are failing your players.

This does not mean you have to do fun games all the time, but I have found if you can create a challenging lesson and deliver it enthusiastically you will get a positive response, hopefully leading to players enjoying football.

Preparation is vital no matter what team you train. If you fail to plan effectively then you will never provide the opportunity for your players to achieve. I have also found that good preparation creates smoothly run training sessions, which leads to players getting more out of the session.

Setting good ground rules allows players to know what is expected of them. We have rules for behaviour during training but also expectations. Again, if you asked our players “what are you going to do today?” the second response will be ‘work hard’. Having strong expectations allows gives our players good guidelines that they can strive for. In our experiences so far this has been really positive as we see the players really buying into our ideas and it leads to them enjoying their football.

Finally, but by no means least, I believe at grassroots level touch is one of the most important things to be worked on. We dedicate at least half our training time to allow every player to be on a ball completing some form of touch exercise. From my experience if a player has a good touch, everything else falls into place.

We can easily inform players on positional play and match tactics. But if they do not have a good touch everything breaks down. Strong passing and dribbling skills all come from having a good touch and being comfortable on the ball. We didn’t start out with this way of thinking but since we have adjusted we have found huge success in our players development.

GR: Thanks again to Danny for joining us today, and we hope you have found this interesting reading for you today, perhaps you could use some of the ideas?

Original Source – http://www.youthfootballscotland.co.uk/west-region/item/18881-arsenal-bc-s-danny-barrett-talks-to-yfs.html

Craig Joyce & 6,8 or 10

Good Afternoon

We are here again for some talkative chat about all things football, this time some added variety.

So without further hesitation let’s make some introductions

Hello, I’m Craig Joyce. Former Glasgow City youth coach and current owner of 6, 8 or 10. I also work for the Scottish FA.

A coach? We like coaches on the column, Tell us more.

I began coaching at a relatively young age (16). As my first guest on the 6, 8 or 10 podcast, James Docherty highlighted I think I always had the coach hiding inside me as a youngster, I would always be one of the kids in the group/team who would organise and talk. If you know me personally I like to talk, I talk a lot, especially about football.

When I was a youngster at Hamilton Accies I done my first coaching badge Early Touches with Jim Chapman. We all done it, as part of our daily routine we would coach before we trained. It came as part of the package when we signed. At that point I didn’t think i would ever go on to coach, my dad was a coach and some of his friends were. I thought I’d leave that up to the guys who’s profession it was, I was happy playing and saw that as my future.

During pre-season I also done some work with Rangers, helping coach at their Residential Camps. Again I would do this when I wasn’t training on a voluntary basis. I just wanted to gain experience of coaching with different people, you can always learn something from someone. I coached with Alan Boyd, Davie Stewart, Scott Allison, Craig Mulholland and Brian Reid. I also got to coach with ex Rangers players Alex Clelland and Steven Wright who were great with me.

Even though I began my coaching journey at the age of 16 I still wasn’t that interested in doing it. I was always training or playing, enjoying my football. It was maybe 5 or 6 years later I would consider even taking my badges again and stepping into the world of coaching. I would explore college and have alot of time for the people who helped develop me in that environment; Alan Simpson started the process by visiting me at my house on a Friday night before a gig. I enrolled on the Monday and the rest was history.

I have to thank the people who helped me over those 2 and a half years; Angus, Nicola, Peter, Elspeth, Graham, Donna and Alan. They had a lot of time and patience for me.

When I stepped into college I could comfortably say that my playing days where coming to an end. I was 22 years of age, officially retiring from playing the game I loved. Some serious injuries would hinder me, they would heal and eventually become niggling injuries – ones that I couldn’t shake off. (Cue the tiniest violins in the world!) Looking back it was the aftermath of playing through injuries, my body was a mess/still is a mess. By then my head was also a mess, it was no longer in it and my love for the beautiful game was dying a slow death.

College, Rangers, The Scottish FA and Glasgow University would pave the way for me to coach and enjoy the game again. My appetite was back and I was hungry to develop as a coach and as a person. I’ve had help from some great people along the way too many to name but if my dad never encouraged me to do it I would probably be wasting myself doing something I didn’t enjoy.

All of the above lead me to the club I’ve just left and adore, Glasgow City.

Your former colleague Tommy was on chatting before, he mentioned some magnificent success stories as part of the record breaking group of players you coached, anything you would like to add?

If I’m honest my time at City opened up my eyes to Girls & Women’s football, I had been involved in the female game before but this would be my first time in taking a team. My time there taught me a lot about patience, building relationships with parents, people at the club and most importantly the players. I’m a big believer in knowing your players, get to know them as best you can and help develop them on a playing and personal level. Glasgow City would allow me to explore myself as a person and find my style of coaching.

I went to City under the impression that I would be working with Tommy, who I had discussed the club on many a Monday night at Regional Squads. Little did he know he was selling me on a move to the club at the time! A week later I would have my own squad of kids some who had just made the transition from 4 asides to 7s. A challenge in itself but that was the great thing about it, a clean slate with some kids and coach who were developing. We would be the development squad and had a pretty impressive first season together, the second season would show further development as well as picking up a trophy (the league cup) against a very strong and talented Celtic side. We were still a young side and showed we could compete at a performance level.

At the end of that season Tommy announced his retirement, some players moved up to the 15s and I would inherit his squad, a merge between the Blacks & Oranges.
We began pre-season with 1 goal in mind – to gel the squad quickly, the Oranges & Blacks have never played the same way or formation so it was import we were all comfortable with each other, as well as my methods and style of play. It never proved an issue and we had a great pre-season, our goals for the season were set and we embarked on an incredible journey.

If you followed the season, which you did then you would see we racked up and incredible amount of goals, conceded some but that was always going to be the case in our terms of direct, attacking play. It would sometimes leave us short, suspect to the long ball. Over time Complacency would be our biggest opponent and thankfully the group never let it set it. They went unbeaten in all competitions, League, League Cup, A Memorial Tournament & the Scottish Cup. Hard work, dedication and some very talented young kids made it all possible.

My time at City was great when I was left to my ways and allowed to coach. Being a volunteer you can pick up a hell of a lot of roles out with the coaching. I don’t mind them but it can take its toll and focus off the most important thing, the players.

At the beginning of the season I made my mind up that I would leave at the end of the season, in June I made the parents & players aware. That was hard as I’ve made some great friends through the club. Nothing changed – they didn’t take the foot off the grass and continued as we meant to go on. As far as I was concerned I had done my job at City, developed the group I had worked with over three years, got players into Regional & National Squads, won 6 trophies and played some beautiful football in the process of it all. Job done.

That group of players were special, every now and then that can happen in football. We set our goals and objectives for the season and went above and beyond. We went about our business of developing the players while implementing a winning mentality. Last season was 3 years in the making, a hell of a lot of time was invested into it and the results have been incredible.


Well I’m not coaching yet, I’ve decided to take some time out of the game and recharge the batteries.

So with you taking the career break what keeps Craig Joyce busy these days?

I own my own brand – 6, 8 or 10 which consists of my own blog, podcast and some pretty cool merchandise. It’s all about life and the beautiful game (who would have guessed). I’m a connoisseur of the game and have a very obsessive relationship with it, just in case you haven’t noticed. The response to the blog and podcast have been great and the guests we have had have been top class too. We have some merchandise available just now. Does anyone want a pin badge? Only £2!!!!

I’m on a sabbatical from coaching although I do think about it now and then but I haven’t got itchy feet quite yet. The idea was to do nothing for a year but I’m going to join up with the West RPS with my good mate Laura Williamson. I look forward to that, something to keep me occupied out with the podcast and blogs, one night a week sounds great.

As far as club football goes I won’t be back involved until the end of this current season which hasn’t even begun yet, so anyone who had money on me being back involved anytime soon hand over the cash you’ve just lost your bet ha-ha!

I have spoken with some clubs and have agreed to join one at the end of the season, starting fresh for next season. Who? I can’t tell you that but I look forward to it and hope to see some familiar faces when I’m back involved. It will be a new challenge for me but for now my focus is fully on developing 6, 8 or 10.

Westerlands LFC

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.

QA with Dougie

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…


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

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.

Interview – Eastfield Star

Good evening folks, The point of today’s broadcast is just a bit of fun, to make public the efforts of the modern amateur team, and their ongoing mission to progress and develop into the ultimate football club. For todays interview we have gaffer wullie mclaren eastfield star with me to answer a few questions.

G So Wullie did you and your boys have a good Christmas and new year?

W Yes Christmas was great and the players enjoyed the break after 16 games in first half of season

G So how have you been getting on in the league then?

W We have been progressing we’ll thanks and sitting 3rd and unbeated in our division

G Favourite part of the season so far?

W This is a tricky 1 but I would say finishing top of the group stage to qualify for division 2a and scoring over 26 goals in 6 games Bit of an obvious answer but whats your aim for the season? Promotion is the key for us to be honest but the league there for the taking and if I get the commitment and hard work we can win it no doubt !

G Always made famous are how problematic funding can be for today’s clubs, any new and innovative ideas that you have in place to solve that problem?

W Yes I do basically charge players on a game day for the week commencing training so when your games finished. Your park/referee is paid and you have your funds for training that week. And if anyone fails to show the club isn’t losing. It’s a great way to keep funds and club alive

G How is your training set out? What is it you usually do?

W We maintain a high volume of fitness and passing drills and some set pieces but we always aim to try scenarios and look into our weak spots n take it from there

G You reckon you could use some of the stuff published on this fine detailed and generally wonderful blog?

W Certainly there is a lot of good standard information that can help clubs pick up the hidden basics that we forget about at times but a great aspect of the game to look at

G Who is the one most notorious for turning up hungover?

W Got to be Antz penderleith as he’s the only guy that turns up totally burst and looks like a bag a washing lol least make an effort n don’t get caught lol sorry Antz haha :-))

G Did you ever do a harlem shake? Did it with 1 of my friends and my left back Boab from the team great shake lol ma forward roll was class thanks for having me on your blog cheers

Cheers to wullie, he’s off to give the new episode of the Voice a watch, he couldn’t watch it before because of the blinding tears…

Personally i hope you have enjoyed this idea, lemme know if you fancy a crack at it yourself email me @ admin(at)thecoachingcolumn.net – maybe you can send me some questions to ask instead of my very own wooden variety.