Hodgson Resigns

In the aftermath of Roy Hodgson’s ignominious resignation from the Head Coach role for the England Football team, the British fascination with post-mortem has scaled new heights.

As one of the wealthiest football nations on the planet England have, once again, failed to achieve anything of note at a major tournament – apart from defeat at the hands of a nation whose population is that of one of our minor cities (journalists love making this comparison). Much of the attention of the post-mortems has focused on coaching and England’s apparent inability to produce world-class coaches.

I suspect it’s an ideal topic of conversation for Toni so I ask the question,

“Why is it we seem to struggle as a country to produce world class coaches?”

“The reason we’re shit at coaching is because every government plan, Sport England or otherwise is volunteer coach based. You get what you pay for”.

I suspect right. Toni doesn’t hold back,

“The reason we’re shit at coaching is because every government plan, Sport England or otherwise is volunteer coach based. You get what you pay for”.

“And when you pay nothing…”

“Nothing is what you get. People are expected to coach for free and the emphasis is on affordability of coaching courses and increasing the coaching numbers. Coaching programmes are built to be cheap not to provide quality. Most of the courses teach you how to be safe not particularly how to coach. Coaching should be about quality”.

“What’s the solution?”

“We need to make coaching professional. I was speaking to the German Head Coach last weekend in Ratingen. All his coaches are university educated in coaching. They see coaching as a profession.

Look at the status of the coach in America. Over there you’re not called ‘Mr Minichiello’ or ‘Toni’, you’re called ‘Coach Minichiello’. Coach is a respectful term.

“…We need to change the attitude towards sport and coaching in this country….We love a ‘plucky amateur’ but demand results in a professional environment”.

We need to provide a professional career path but that means we need to change the attitude towards sport and coaching in this country. I believe we see ourselves as a nation of not trying too hard. We still view it as ‘fun’. There’s a contradiction at play here. We love a ‘plucky amateur’ but demand results in a professional environment”.

Toni and Jess In Ratingen

Jess rests. Toni Builds on the Basics

“It doesn’t seem to be a shortage of money at the top end”.

“We set too much store by scientists over coaches. We’ve become obsessed with the world of marginal gains and lost the ability to do the basics well.

“All too often sports science is trying to put the cherry on a non-existent cake – everyone looking for one percent instead of addressing the basics of fitness, skills and attitude…”

There are not enough coaches siting at the top of organisations and that’s why the situation is so poor. Scientists are leading the way when they should be supporting coaches. Remember, coaching is really about relationships.”

“Why are they looking in the wrong place?”

“All too often sports science is trying to put the cherry on a non-existent cake – everyone looking for one percent instead of addressing the basics of fitness, skills and attitude. All of this needs to be underpinned by the people, the athletes. A great coach gets the most out of their players and gets them to take responsibility for themselves.”

Any successful team has a good coach, good players and a good plan. And the buck always stops at coach.”

“Like with Roy Hodgson?”

“That’s another story”

And it’s one we’ll pick up on tomorrow.