How to develop your coaching philosophy
Inspired by Chris Morris, FA coach developer and ex-professional footballer, we explain how to develop a coaching approach that’s personal to you.
1. Think beyond tactics
What is a coaching philosophy? Ask this question, and most people will jump straight to tactics, formations and practice design. But a coaching philosophy is more than just how your team plays. It should also include the values and beliefs that guide your interactions, relationships and decision-making.
2. Know what you stand for
Your behaviour and actions should reflect your coaching philosophy. This means it's vital to work out what matters to you. Are you after holistic player development? Or are you more motivated by results?
3. Consider these questions
- What are my objectives?
- What do my players need, and how can I help them?
- What represents my moral standards and integrity?
- What would be my personal and team mission statement(s)?
- What ethical and inclusive framework underpins my coaching philosophy?
4. Take responsibility
Answering the questions above will outline your values, belief system and mission statement. But it's up to you to put them into action. Take responsibility and prove that your philosophy is authentic and robust.
5. Stay consistent
Don't switch your philosophy on and off – it can get confusing. If you're working on something in training, continue this messaging on matchday.
6. Communicate your philosophy
By declaring your intentions, you assume responsibility for your actions. This is really helpful for parents, players and other coaches.
7. Write your philosophy down, but live it every day
Keeping a record of your philosophy can help you reflect on your approach. However, to make an impact on your team, you need to 'walk the walk'. Try to make sure those around you know what you stand for – without you having to explain.
8. Don't be afraid to tweak
Research has shown that 'expert' coaches recognise how different contexts influence their philosophy. The same is true of your environment. From a new committee member to a big life event, lots of things can alter your perspective. So, make sure your philosophy is an ever-evolving framework.