Non League Daily

Young coach doing things by the book

A young coach has decided to put pen to paper to help him get his coaching philosophy out to the football community.

Twenty five year old Gerard Jones manages Toolstation Northern Counties East Football League side Eccleshill United and also works at the academy of SkyBet League One side Rochdale. Despite his relatively young age Jones is currently completing his FA UEFA 'A' Licence and he explained that a frustration at seeing home-grown players displaying several inadequacies led to him putting his thoughts down on paper as he put together 'Let's talk Soccer'.

"I originally wanted to put my thoughts and philosophy on coaching down on paper, especially how I have developed grassroots and elite players other the years and as I started writing I realised that their was a great opportunity to share this knowledge and framework with other coaches around the world.

At present we're not seeing enough quality home-grown players demonstrate excellence in communication, decision making and skill across all levels, and for me communication is the single most important aspect of coaching alongside planning of sessions in terms of practice design, the recovery and assessment of players and so on.

Many coaches struggle with their technical detail to players and often use words that don't fit in with their philosophy of how they want to play. Let's Talk Soccer became the answer to this, by sharing some examples of how to develop a clear coaching vocabulary that is designed to enhance decision making on and off the ball whilst encouraging player-ownership"

Despite the books title Jones is keen to see it have benefits for a wide range of sports, not just the one he has become part of with his promising coaching career.

"I want the book to offer a framework for other coaches to use and create their own coaching vocabulary, specific to their playing philosophy that get's coaches and players to think deeper about the words they use and why.

I also want to see the book grow into something more, whereby players are communicating more on the pitch to their teammates not just in football but across all team sports. I believe the book will eventually grow into offering a frame-work for the use of what I call "Game-calls" in all sports"

As one of the youngest first team managers in the country Jones admitted that he has had to overcome a number of challenges but is also happy to use these circumstances as an opportunity to learn.

"I have enjoyed the experience as their has been times where I've been challenged and I've had to demonstrate my knowledge and their has been easier times where players accept what you say as correct. It's a great learning opportunity and one that will stand me in good stead as I progress further in the game"

So what of the future for the coach? He revealed his ambitions for the near future and explained that his plans lie at both home and abroad.

"To become a first-team coach and eventually a manager of a professional football club in the long-term. At present I work as an academy coach at Rochdale AFC and as a First-team Manager of Eccleshill United FC, alongside coaching student-athletes at RIASA, which is a private university soccer and education academy.

So the experiences I'm getting now help me short term to be the best U14s academy coach or the best non-league manager I can be! Medium term, it's about gaining more and more experience working internationally and with a range of playing abilities at the pro level"

More information on Gerard's book 'Let's talk Soccer' can be found here

Interview: Mark Carruthers
Photo: Gerard Jones

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