“Just because you haven’t played at a good level it doesn’t mean you can’t be a good coach” – Oswestry’s Nathan Leonard on why there is room for all types of coaches in football

How many times have people heard, “Ah, they don’t know nothing about football, they’ve never even kicked a ball.”

But sometimes the person who has limited experience as a player, talks a lot more sense than someone who has played at a good level.

The phrase gets drafted into the same folder as the likes of ‘laptop managers’, or ‘clip board managers’.

But as experienced coach and former semi-professional footballer Nathan Leonard explains, you don’t have to have played at a good level to be able to coach at a good level.

Leonard, who currently manages Welsh second tier side Guilsfield is going through his coaching badges while also coaching in The New Saints’ academy.

“There is no right or wrong way to coach,” insisted Leonard.

“What we sometimes hear a lot of is the words ‘laptop managers’, and for me that is direspectful.

“You don’t have to have played at a high level to be able to coach.

“At TNS we have people at different ends. You’ve got someone like Chris Seargeant who has been a professional footballer.

“Then you’ve got Jason Brindley who has played recreationally, but he puts on some top, top session and is a top coach.

“They are so detailed and some of the best sessions I’ve seen.

“So them phrases you hear are disrespectful I believe.”

Leonard has been in management and player-management for a number of years, and that came on the back of a successful playing career.

One thing he does think sways in the former player’s favour more is the art of man management, something a young coach might not have been exposed to.

“That is one thing that comes from experience of being in that environment I would say,” added Leonard.

“If you’ve played at a higher level and you’ve been around it, you know how to handle it.

“I’ve walked into a dressing room at half time before now where two players have been arguing, and I’ve just walked out and left them for five minutes.

“A young coach might not know what to do and might get in the middle of them to try and split them up.

“But that just comes with experience and that is probably what the former player has compared to a young coach.”

More and more across football we are saying coaches progress to a very high level having never really played the game at a good standard.

The art of coaching can sometimes be taught in the classroom. For some it doesn’t work, but for others they succeed and go on to surpass what a former player might be able to do in the dugout.

Leonard himself has been doing his B licence qualification with the FAW, a course he can’t praise highly enough.

But what he does believe is that some courses hamper young coaches who want to stay coaching youngsters, rather than progressing to senior level.

“Some courses say that you need to be working in a senior environment or above under 16s,” added Leonard.

“But there are coaches who will be brilliant with a younger age group, but the higher they go they may not do as well.

“However at that level, they are great at developing kids and developing their skills.

“That might be what they want to do, but because the haven’t worked over a certain age group, they are hampered some what.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: