Coaching in the Premier League on matchday
Although Reid says the whole game is a process of identifying problems and finding solutions the opening period of any contest is crucial.
“In that first five or ten minutes it’s very much about getting your ‘eye in’; it’s about getting an idea of the opposition’s shape both in and out of possession, their pressing positions and where we might find a bit of space.
“Also, it’s important to see how we’re shaped up and if we’re doing the things that we’ve been working on all week. It might mean a tweak to the system or a substitution despite how early it is in the game,” explains Reid.
Crystal Palace’s first-team coach recalls his time at Ewood Park where Sam Allardyce would start the game in the stand before coming down to the touchline for the second period. Could watching from a higher vantage point help coaches improve their observation?
“I don’t think it would be for me, to be honest. I always feel like I want to be ‘in it’ and be pitch-side and part of the atmosphere. I also think it’s important to be close to the players – which is something I liked as a player. From a player’s point of view I liked to see the manager there on the touchline.”
Few understand the pressures elite managers and coaches face on game day and Reid says it can be a demanding experience.
“As a coach, I feel more controlled than I did as a player. Having said that, during the game itself, I feel a lot more tense - especially if we’re holding on to a lead. Because you can’t actually take part in the game it seems to mentally drain you even more.
“There are different pressures as well. As a player you might have a three, four or five-year contract and it’s honoured - but your job on the coaching staff is a lot more precarious. Who knows how long you will get? So there’s added pressure that comes with that as well.”
Steven Reid left his role with Crystal Palace in September 2018.