If you want to produce good, creative footballers, don’t act like a know-it-all. The best coaches are the most humble: the ones who know they aren’t perfect, and are always keen to learn more. As they get better and better at coaching, so their young players get better and better at football. Being around a coach who is keen to learn, open to new ideas, willing to try something fresh, young players pick up the learning spirit. It rubs off – just as being cocky, dogmatic or impatient rubs off. A good coach wants to become a great coach, for two reasons: because knowledge is changing fast and they need to keep up, and because their attitudes influence, for better or worse, the developing learning attitudes and skills of the players. This paper was jointly written with John Allpress who was at the time Head Youth Development Coach at the England Football Association.
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