10 coaching quotes to reflect on during lockdown

Guide All Ages

Use lockdown to reflect on the 10 quotes below and how they might shape your own coaching approach. There are prompts and further reading under each quote to help guide your thinking.

1. Graham Potter

Brighton head coach, Graham Potter, puts his thumb up high into the air whilst watching his team play.
Brighton head coach, Graham Potter, adopts a consistent approach to working with players. Image: Ian Tuttle/BPI/REX. 

When you’re in a leadership role people need to know that win, lose or draw, there has to be a consistency in how you act and behave. Rather than you win and everything is good and then you lose and everything is bad. There has to be a consistency in what you’re doing and how you do it.

Reflection point:

An effective coaching philosophy should consider your own values and beliefs and how you want to act in victory and defeat. How would you define your own coaching philosophy or approach?

To learn more, click the links below.

2. Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers, Leicester City manager, looks towards the pitch.
Leicester City manager, Brendan Rodgers, demands intensity and realism in his training sessions. Image: Andrew Fosker/BPI/REX.

I place a big demand on players and a big intensity. It’s something that is very important. A lot of my work is related to the real game: the intensity and the level at which the players play. Training is very important to me. It has to be like game-day and that stretches players to be at their very best.

Reflection point:

Game-like practice involves opposition, goals, goalkeepers and transition occurring naturally. How many of these do you regularly include in your practice?

To learn more, click the links below.

3. Emma Hayes

Chelsea manager, Emma Hayes, celebrates with the players in a team huddle.
Chelsea Women’s manager, Emma Hayes, believes regular communication is key to developing team culture.

As coaching staff it is important to ask the players: “What do you think? How much more work do we need this week? Do we need more information tactically? Are we prepared at the level you need?”. Therefore, if you do lose games, you don’t have players saying: “I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know what my role was.” 

Reflection point:

Communicating with individual players needs to be planned for. How often do you make time to check-in with members of your squad? How can you do more of this with the time available to you?

To learn more, click the links below.

4. Gareth Southgate

England manager, Gareth Southgate, talks to Marcus Rashford during a training session.
England manger, Gareth Southgate, believes players need reassurance when being asked to play in a different way.

I don't think there is a player, an artist or actor, who doesn't have a little bit of doubt in their mind - so as the coach you have to constantly provide reassurance. If you are asking a player to play with freedom and things go wrong you can’t criticise them for doing the things you asked them to.

Reflection point:

Players look to their coach for reassurance in many different ways. Consider how your body language on the touchline sends a message during the game. On matchday, what message are the players receiving from you?

To learn more, click the links below.

5. Rehanne Skinner

England Women’s U19 head coach Rehanne Skinner, high fives a player during training.
Rehanne Skinner, England women’s national coach (U18 – U21), works with individuals to understand their motivation.

If you don’t know how players tick, what their motivations are and the point and stages that they’re at - and what they’re trying to get out of the game - then I think it’s hard to progress them as quickly as maybe you’d like to.

Reflection point:

When was the last time you asked one of your players what motivates them to play football? How could you use this information to work more effectively with individuals during training and games?

To learn more, click the links below.

6. Sean Dyche

Burnley manager, Sean Dyche, claps from the dugout to encourage his players.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche believes players need a clear tactical framework to guide them through games. Image: Ryan Browne/BPI/REX.

You have to have a tactical framework – it gives everyone a base position to go to. So, if it’s not your day and the game’s getting away from you, you know there are certain requirements to make the team work. That has to be backed up with good fitness, work rate, desire and passion.

Reflection point:

Do your players have a tactical framework to work to? Do they know how to adapt to different scenarios during the game –such as going two goals down in the first half? How can you work on this during training?

To learn more, click the links below.

7. Paul Clement

Head coach Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid shakes hands with assistant coach Paul Clement
Clement worked alongside Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane during his time at Madrid. Image: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images.

The dividing element between the very top coaches in the world is not knowledge. The thing that takes them to another level is personality and charisma. It is that ability to communicate, to get on a personal level and get the best out of players.

Reflection point:

Who is the most influential and impactful coach you have played for or worked with? Why? How do you think your players would describe your personality?

To learn more, click the links below.

8. Scott Parker

Fulham manager, Scott Parker, crouches and watches four of his players in a small-sided training game.
Fulham manager, Scott Parker, encourages players to take ownership of training standards. Image: Javier Garcia/BPI/REX.

The best sessions happen when you have a group of players who want to go out onto the training field and want to be successful. Certainly the really good teams I have been in were player driven. The players drive the session and don’t accept things that aren’t right and don’t accept individuals who aren’t doing things right.

Reflection point:

Asking your players to outline their standards for training and on matchday is an important task. By establishing some non-negotiables you will have a behavioural framework to continually refer back to as a group.

To learn more, click the links below.

9. Vicky Jepson

Liverpool Women manager, Vicky Jepson, in a team huddle with her staff and players on the Anfield pitch
Liverpool Women’s manager, Vicky Jepson, shapes her team’s approach on the strengths of the players.

I think before you start saying how you want to play, you need to look at your personnel and how they can play and what are their strengths. Then we look at how we can get the best out of the players that we’ve got.

Reflection point:

Understanding individual player strengths requires effective observation. How much time do you give yourself to stand back and observe during each session or game? What can you do to ensure you stand back and observe more?

To learn more, click the links below.

10. Kevin Betsy

England U17s head coach, Kevin Betsy, watches on from the touchline.
England U17 head coach, Kevin Betsy, believes winning is a result of playing style.

We play to win but not at the expense of our core values. We won’t accept winning at the expense of players behaving inappropriately, not living the behaviours of an England player or not believing in or applying the playing principles. The most important thing is the style of play.

Reflection point:

What does ‘success’ mean to you and your team? Do you define it and review it at different points during the course of the season? It is important to ask your players to input into this task as well.

To learn more, click the links below.

Peter Glynn is the content editor for FA Education and has coaching experience in the professional and grassroots game.

Visit the interview section of The Boot Room to read over 50 exclusive interviews with managers, coaches and players.

Article image courtesy of Jed Leicester/BPI/REX.

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