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A Young Coach With Dreams of Coaching Abroad - Lewis Crane

Name, age, and where are you based?

Lewis Crane, 21 Years old, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Qualifications: FA Level 1 in Football Coaching, PFSA Level 1 in Talent identification, Technical Scouting and Opposition Analysis

How did you get into coaching and what has your path been like?

I turned to coaching when I got injured at an early age and was told I could no longer play competitive football and I wanted to stay in the game, so reached out to my local club to see if I could volunteer for them and within months I joined Newcastle United Foundation as a volunteer and progressed from there into a coach for Newcastle United Foundation.

What do you do within your role as a community coach for the Newcastle United Foundation?

Deliver on Summer camps to a whole range of abilities and ages of children. Help on the advanced programme which is a programme designed for talented kids to help them take their next step in their football lives. I also assisted with the Newcastle BTEC programme which is a programme for players aged 16-20 who are currently in college or university and still want to continue playing football alongside their studies.

What have you learned from the experience at Newcastle? I have learnt so much from the coaches at Newcastle United Foundation everything from how to structure, plan and deliver sessions in an effective way to challenge your players to the psychology of kids football and how and when to say things to kids who are in different situations during the session. Furthermore, I have learnt how to challenge kids and how to make it harder or easier and give players who are exceeding individual tasks. Lastly, I have learnt about different coaching styles and philosophies and they have helped me adapt and improve my style of coaching.

What has some of the mentoring been like that you have received from the Newcastle academy coaches?

Absolutely incredible, I can not speak highly enough about the coaches that have helped me to understand more about football but life in general. They have had such a massive impact on me personally and have helped me see things from a different perspective and guided me through challenging times. Working with coaches like Terry Mitchell who got to the FA Vase final in 2020 with Consett AFC, Paul Robinson and Angelos Eleftheriadis who have all played and coached at the top levels of the game has been a phenomenal and eye opening experience and I continue to learn from them everyday. I can not thank them enough for what they have done for me.

How did you get involved at Wallsend Boys Club?

I was searching online for grassroots club to join as a volunteer coach and I seen Wallsend Boys Club were recruiting. I immediately got in contact with them through their website as I knew I couldn’t miss the chance to join such a legendary grassroots club. A few days later I was invited in for a chat and a tour of the training facility where they explained what was expected from me and how they could help me with qualifications and help me gain experience as a coach. 1 week later I started as a coach at Wallsend Boys Club and my coaching journey began. Without them none of these experiences or people I have met would of been possible.

What have been some of your favourite experiences so far at Wallsend?

There’s been quite a few, and not all on the pitch. Parents thanking me for helping there children rediscover their passion for the game after having bad experiences at other clubs. Winning a League title in my first season as Under 10 Coach I know it’s not all about winning but we had been overlooked by so many coaches and teams and with all the added difficulties of COVID 19 to finish in 1st place was a massive achievement and every single one of those players should be really round of themselves. Also one game in particular where we were 2-0 down against top of the league and it would of been easy go give and let their heads drop but they didn’t and in the second half they got it back to 2-2 and almost won it in the final minutes. Just to see the players have so much resilience and desire to keep going despite the circumstances will always be a favourite moment of mine.

What are some of your biggest takeaways from the FA Level 1 in coaching and the FA Talent ID course?

It helps you understand the English DNA and the principle we should incorporate when in different phases of the game. It allows you to think more about the training aspect and how to become adapt and think on your feet when the session is not going as planned. It helps you think of alternatives solutions to problems you may face in training but also makes you think about the type of training you put on as a coach. Talent ID courses is great for coaches wanting to know more about scouting and how to get into scouting as well as the ethics of scouting. Furthermore it helps you to understand more about player development. Both courses are great for coaches who are just starting off and looking to further their coach education.

How have the PFSA scouting and analysis courses helped you as a coach?

Massively, it helps you understand so much more about player development and goes into details that other courses do not. All factors to scouting are including such as body types and how this effects players development and performance when they grow up. PFSA courses also explores biases in talent identification and how best to approach scouting when looking at players. Analysis courses such as the opposition analysis courses provide great insight into how to structure reports on the opposition to best suit the preferences of the manager it also goes into detail about opposition tactics and systems of play and also the role of an analyst and how they fit into the structure of the club. Finally, it’s filled with questions which challenges your learning and helps you further understand analysis work in football.

Do you have plans or ambitions to do more courses in the near future?

Yes, however with COVID 19 everything has been on hold but once the courses are back up and running I will certainly be looking to continue my coach education through the FA and PFSA respectively this will hopefully lead to be becoming an overall better coach and also open up more opportunities at home and abroad.

What are you motivated by as a coach? The development of players not only as players hit as people as well and to see them grow into better players and people in front of your eyes is a great feeling. Also when a parent of a player comes up to you and thanks you for all that you have done for them or their child then there’s not better feeling in the world in my opinion. That serves as great motivation and helps me to carry on becoming a better coach to further improve players not only on the pitch but off it as well.

You have tried to go abroad to coach. Why does that interest you?

For years I have had an interest in different countries and cultures and their perceptions/ views on football. Especially, their development of players and how the local grassroots clubs and professional clubs create pathways for their talent also from a personal standpoint I think it would provide a great challenge not only personally but professionally as well to move to a different country and be immersed in a new country, a new culture and a new language. This helps massively when networking with coaches from the countries/continents that you wish to work and live in and I’ve been very fortunate that every coach I’ve contacted so far has been great in providing an insight and information into what life is like and how football is perceived in these countries/ continents.

Which countries and cultures appeal to you the most?

Most countries in Asia and the Middle East as I have had an interest on those parts of the world for sometime now. I have researched these continents for a few years now and learnt about their culture and lifestyle but also their language as well. I was so close to a dream move a few months ago unfortunately that move didn’t come off however I would love an opportunity to work and live in these parts of the world.

What role would you like to have in ten years?

A range of roles I would like to have or experience. I would love to be the head coach of an professional team and/or a head or director of coaching at a club I would love for this job to be abroad. I would be a great pleasure to pass on my knowledge to younger coaches and help them grow and improve as coaches and potentially open up more opportunities for progression in their careers with the guidance I could be available to provide. Head Coach of a professional team would be great as well however I know football is a journey and this may take longer but I am ready to go whatever it takes to accomplish my goals.

You can follow Lewis' journey on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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