As part of #MFACoach month this September, we spoke to Droylsden JFC coach Pete Connolly about his coaching journey so far!
1) What is your current coaching role? I’m a trainee UEFA B coach, coaching an under-16s boys’ team at Droylsden JFC.
2) Can you tell us a bit about your coaching journey so far? I started as a player/coach of an open age team when I was 22. From there, I continued coaching several local open age teams and pub teams in and around Manchester and then I took over an under-12s grassroots team at Droylsden JFC in 2016.
3) Have there been any obstacles you’ve had to overcome to this point and how have you dealt with them as a coach? Game time has been my biggest challenge and I think this is the same for most coaches especially when they coach the youth development phase, as the players become competitive and want to win games and don’t see the importance of development as clear as a coach does.
To make this clear, I hold a player/parent meeting before every season to explain that game time will be monitored every game and will equal out for everybody across the length of the season.
4) What kind of support have you had with your journey from Manchester FA? I’ve been lucky to go through my qualifications with some really good tutors and have attended some really good CPD’s over the past few years. The standout tutors for me, with regards to help and support, have been Chuks and Bex and I’ve built a really good tutor/student relationship with both.
Whether it’s using the UEFA B WhatsApp group Bex created for the students, or texting Chuks for supporting with coach mentoring at the Club, both have always been happy to help and provide clear and simple advice and guidance.
5) What would be your top tips to fellow coaches looking to create a positive coaching environment? Firstly, having player and parent engagement has been my biggest golden nugget! Getting them all involved has helped create a real honest and positive environment. Whether it be talking about what tactics to play against certain teams in our league or what formations to play in certain scenarios, doing this gives everyone the opportunity to express their insight and ideas. This not only galvanises the team and gives everyone involved that sense of value and family feel, but it also checks the players’ understanding of the game and helps the coach to identify his/her player development areas.
Secondly, and most importantly, keep it fun! Remember why players play football. Remember why you originally got in coaching. And try to send everyone home from training or match day with a smile on their face!
To see more of the coverage from our first ever #MFACoach spotlight month, take a look on our social media channels, here.