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The job can be highly rewarding, giving you the opportunity to stamp your unique imprint and approach to the game on a generation of young players and talented coaches. But it’s certainly not without its stresses. Your best coaches might leave; results on the field can fluctuate; you may struggle to get the buy-in you need from key members of staff.

The Coaching Manual is here to make your life easier. We’ve developed a suite of tools to assist with some of the key aspects of the DOC role, as well as compiling a bank of invaluable resources to guide you when it comes to making key decisions.

For more about the Director of Coaching role and how it fits into the hierarchy of a modern soccer club or academy, check out our article: “What Is a Director of Coaching and What Are Their Responsibilities?”

How do you manage all of those challenges - not to mention countless others - while also keeping a close eye on club finances, overseeing the culture of your playing squad, and managing the career progression of your coaching team?

Don’t worry, The Coaching Manual is here to help!

Our Soccer Coaching Tools

Soccer coaches used to rely on little more than a pen and clipboard, some balls, and a set of bibs and cones. Or to illustrate particularly complex points, they might bring their players into the changing room to scrawl in marker pen on a whiteboard.

That simply won’t cut it anymore. Players are better educated than ever and want to understand the reasons behind tactical decisions; oppositions are better prepared; and gameplans have evolved from the days when every team automatically played 4-4-2.

Fortunately, there are a vast range of tools designed to help you and your coaching team. From desktop software and companion apps to physical hardware, these technologies and innovations can streamline and improve an array of critical - and often time-consuming - tasks.

The Coaching Manual is a whole suite of tools, providing invaluable support to Directors of Coaching and soccer coaches, providing:

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Access to hundreds of professional-standard coaching sessions, created and led by some of the world’s most experienced and talented coaches - including former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes.

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The ability to plan individual training sessions, or build an entire customised Season Plan

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Session Planning tools that allow coaches to create diagrams, practices and full sessions

content-sharing

Content-sharing capabilities to easily disseminate plans to individual coaches and players, or across a whole club

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Tools to help you define and implement your club's sporting philosophy

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Apps for both Android and iOS devices

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A choice of packages - from our entry-level FREE tool to our tailored club toolkit - to suit the needs of every coach, club, academy, or governing body

For more detail on how The Coaching Manual can help you improve player development and spend more of your time on the things that really matter, read our article: “How Digital Software Can Help Soccer Clubs”.

Looking for more ways to support your coaches?

Find out about our eight favourite soccer coaching technologies and innovations.

Coaching evaluation

In the same way that professional clubs should always seek to develop their own players rather than relying solely on buying established stars from other clubs, every DOC should strive to develop their coaching team instead of hiring external talent.

As a Director of Coaching, it’s up to you to help your existing coaches become the best they can be. Whether they want to acquire new skills, specialise in working with a specific set of players, or gain a new qualification, it’s your job to support their ambitions and create a pathway for achieving them.

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Evaluations play a key role in helping your coaches fulfil their career goals. Having agreed upon a set of clearly defined goals with each individual coach, it’s vital that you regularly measure their performance through dedicated evaluations. If they meet their objectives, it’s time to set them something more challenging; if they fall short, you need to find out why and do something about it.

For some DOCs, evaluating coaches is their favourite part of the job. For others, it comes far less naturally. There are certainly plenty of pitfalls, from damaging relationships with your coaching staff to hampering their ongoing development through poorly thought-out objectives.

As ever, we’re here to help. Before you hold your next evaluation, read our article “Tips for Evaluating Soccer Coaches Strengths and Weaknesses”, and download our FREE evaluation template.

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Playing philosophy

Defining a playing philosophy is your opportunity to imprint your approach to the beautiful game on your club or academy.

  • Perhaps you want your coaches to implement a system that involves playing through the thirds?
  • Maybe you’d prefer your players to shift the ball to the flanks as quickly as possible and hit opponents on the break?
  • Do you want a disciplined defensive system based on sitting off the opposition and maintaining structure?
  • Or would you rather encourage players to leave the line and press the ball aggressively?

Without a clearly defined philosophy, all of these questions - and many more besides - will be left up to individual coaches to resolve. This invariably leads to each team within your club playing in a different way.

However subtle or noticeable these differences, they create significant problems for player progression. When a player moves to an older age group, you want them to be able to fit in seamlessly, already understanding exactly how the new team plays.

If they spend half the season adapting to a new system, your coaches are losing out on valuable time that could be better spent helping them develop and improve as a player.

While it can be extremely rewarding, developing a new playing philosophy isn’t always easy. Even when you’ve taken the time to define your philosophy, it can be challenging to communicate it effectively with your coaches. Give your playing philosophy the best chance of long-term success by downloading our ultimate guide.

Recruitment

Every Director of Coaching wants to work with the best coaches. But while it’s often preferable to build a stable coaching team with few changes in personnel, this isn’t always possible. Talented coaches can be headhunted by rival clubs; others may leave due to a change in their personal circumstances; you might identify a key area of weakness in your coaching team that can only be resolved by bringing in someone from outside the organisation.

Whatever the reason for hiring new coaches, it’s vital that you get your recruitment right. Recruiting coaches isn’t just about finding someone affordable and available; there are several factors to consider, including:

  • Do they have the necessary qualifications?
  • Do they have a proven track record of nurturing talent?
  • Do they share your coaching philosophy?
  • Are they a good cultural fit?
  • Are their personal objectives aligned with your needs?

Fail to consider any of these criteria and you can easily end up hiring a gifted coach who simply doesn’t fit within your organisation. This can be damaging to your players and the rest of your coaching team.

To make your working life a little easier, we've compiled an eBook to help you find the best coaches for your club or organisation. Download it for free here.

Mentoring

You’ll have gleaned plenty of experience, insights and key skills over your years working up to becoming a DOC. Chances are that much of what you’ve learned along the way would be invaluable to your coaching staff too. That’s where mentoring comes in.

It may have become something of a corporate buzzword, but mentoring has been proven to yield wide-ranging benefits in both business and soccer-specific settings. A survey from the English Football Association discovered that more than two-thirds of coaches feel more motivated after being mentored.

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Mentoring is particularly effective when the person being mentored is either new to the role or your organisation; ambitious; or a high achiever. However, regardless of a coach’s career level or personality, it’s important to remember that mentoring only ever works when both parties - mentor and mentee - are bought into the process. It should never be forced on anyone.

Are you new to the mentoring role? Perhaps you’ve done it before but are looking to hone your methods, or are facing a particularly challenging mentor-mentee relationship? Whatever the situation, find out more in our article “How to Be a Better Mentor to Soccer Coaches”.

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Club culture

Win-loss ratios. Finances. Player development. All are tangible factors that you need to manage.

But not every element of your job is so concrete. Club culture, while hard to measure or put a numerical value on, can be every bit as important to your success.

There are many examples of culture - whether positive or negative - having a significant impact on a team’s success. This is something we have discussed at length in our article “Tips for Introducing and Maintaining a Positive Club Culture”.

Building a positive club culture brings big benefits, from better teamwork to more accountability. Club culture should be a major focus for any DOC. Read our article “How to Define 'Club Culture' and Why It Is so Important” to find out more.

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