'Because, every instruction took twice as long, as the translator would have to repeat in Chinese. I found that the best way to coach was to demonstrate everything and try to set up sessions where the players could play continuously...'
Name, age, where are you based?
Andrew Glossop, 25, Chesterfield, England.
Current and past Roles:
Current Roles: Assistant Manager at Barnsley Women Football Club
Past Roles: Qualitas Sport U14/15 Head coach
Tranmere Rovers International Football Coach – Hainan, China
Y7 Football Manager at All Saints’ Catholic Voluntary Academy
The FA Level 3 (UEFA B) in Coaching Football
The FA Youth Award
FA Level 2 in Coaching Football
FA Futsal Level 2
FA Futsal Level 1
FA Level 1 in Coaching Goalkeepers
FA Level 1 in Talent Identification
FA Level 1 Psychology Award
How did you get into coaching and what has your path been like?
Despite playing football the majority of my life, and completing my FA Level 2 in Coaching Football at the age of 16, I really started coaching when I was 22. I was working as a PE Teacher at a secondary school in Mansfield and coached the Year 7 team.
I found a real joy for coaching and found it both rewarding and fun. I soon joined Qualitas Sport as the U14/15 head coach, coaching on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Qualitas is for players wanting to increase their participation and experience playing in friendlies against Catergory 1, 2 & 3 academies. I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed it is because the children coming to training, wanted to be there as they had chosen to attend training as extra to try and improve.
From these experiences I decided that coaching football was something I wanted to pursue as a career. So, I looked around and came across a job advert with Tranmere Rovers in China. I spent 6 months coaching school teams in Hainan, a small island south of China and after a stint in a hugely different environment with some great experiences combined with some challenges, I returned to England to complete more coaching qualifications.
It was then that I found Barnsley Women FC, who compete in the FA Womens National League, and after a successful interview process, I was appointed the assistant manager of the women’s 1st team.
Any Major achievements?
I’d say my biggest achievement to date is winning the Sheffield County Cup with Barnsley Women FC in our first season in charge. We had a successful first campaign overall, finishing 4th in the league and went on to beat higher division teams in Sheffield FC and Huddersfield to claim the cup win. The final against Huddersfield was hosted at Rotherham’s New York Stadium which was an experience in itself.
The whole day was an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, 2-0 up to then being level 2-2. Then the joy of what we thought was a last-minute winner making it 3-2, to the despair of conceding a penalty late on making it 3-3. Penalities followed Extra-time, where we managed to convert 4 penalties, and save 2 meaning we lifted the cup.
The cup itself may not seem the ‘biggest’ achievement on paper, but it was what it represented which makes it my biggest achievement. The girls deserved the win for the effort and engagement levels throughout the season and I felt the club has a whole deserved it. It was the best way to finish our first season, a sign of progression by everyone.
As a qualified P.E Teacher, what transferable skills have been best used in your coaching and in your opinion, why have some teachers gone on to do well in coaching?
As a teacher you have to differentiate within your lessons to accommodate different learning needs and styles. I think this the most transferable skill and the reason why teachers have gone on to do well in coaching. However, even though it is transferable, it will need to be adapted by coaches as they need to recognise different approaches within the coaching system, sometimes within the same session. For example, some players need a kick up the backside, whereas others need an arm around them.
Other teaching skills that are transferable are assessment and progression. In education, you are continually assessing the current ability, with a view to putting a plan in place to ensure they progress. This is exactly the same in football, you assess players strengths and weaknesses and potential, and make appropriate plans to effect progression.
You spent a year in China with the Tranmere Rovers project. How was your experience, what were the main things you had to adapt quickly to, and did it make you adjust your coaching methods in any way?
The main thing I had to adjust to, was the culture. Some of the main barriers being the food and language. Rice was breakfast, dinner and tea!
Whilst I was there, I mainly worked with 13-16 year old boys and girls. I found them to be very physical but lacked the technical skills and tactical understanding that we may find in England at that age. So straight away sessions had to be amended to ensure they were progressing and learning. The biggest barrier was the language, and when we coached, we’d coach with a translator. It really made you think about what you said, how you said it and how many instructions you gave at once.
Because, every instruction took twice as long, as the translator would have to repeat in Chinese. I found that the best way to coach was to demonstrate everything and try to set up sessions where the players could play continuously, this then allowed myself to coach smaller groups or individuals. I also decided to try to talk/coach the translator, so they understood what I was saying, rather than just repeating my words.
In England you may stop a practice and discuss with players movement, ask questions, get feedback from them, I found this to be successful in China too, however it had to be shorter so that they weren’t stood still for too long and so that no information was lost in translation. I also learned the Chinese translation for pass, dribble, space etc… so I could shout these during the session to try and get my message across without having to use the translator.
I’d say that this experience has massively improved me as a coach and made me more adaptable.
Have your experiences in China added any value to you as a person and a coach, and do you have any advice for other coaches looking to gain some experience out there?
Coaching in China was a fantastic experience, I’d recommend coaching abroad to anyone, even if it’s only for a short time as it makes you makes you a more adaptable coach and opens you up to different challenges. It definitely added value to me as a person and a coach, it gives you an insight to how different cultures operate, helps you understand individuals and develops the way you communicate with players and people.
This is something that is vital to my coaching, and still is an area of development for me. Everyone is different, and it’s not just how you incorporate them into your session it’s how you interact with them and spending time to get to know them. China was brilliant for this, you’d sit with players and try and communicate by playing games, trying to learn Chinese, teach them ‘heads and volley’ by demonstration only. It really opened your eyes to how you can interact with players.
My advice for any coaches wanting to game experience is simply…go and try it! Go and put yourself out of your comfort zone that tests you as a coach, whether it be in a different culture or closer to home.
How’s it going at Barnsley Women FC and what are the main roles and responsibilities as an Assistant Manager?
I absolutely love it at Barnsley Women FC, it has been and still is one of the best experiences of my life. When I was appointed, Barnsley had just finished 2nd bottom in the league, avoiding relegation by 1 goal. So, my job was to support the new Manager, Chris Hamilton, in providing structure and stability, and to build a squad, already full of talent, that could challenge for promotion within 3 years.
Chris and I get along very well, and we discuss football, tactics, training daily, we’re both addicted to it. One of my main responsibilities is to provide Chris with my thoughts and opinions and from this Chris would finalise a plan for training and team selection. We are fortunate that our beliefs are very similar, so we don’t differ too often, but once a decision is made it’s my responsibility to back the decision and do whatever possible to ensure we reach our target.
Our relationship works very well where we share the coaching responsibilities. Chris trusts me to plan and deliver sessions. Often, we coach together, for example if Chris leads, I’ll coach the opposition team, specific unit or individuals, and vice versa. The same could be said on match days, we both have our contribution to communicate, and naturally one of us will provide the motivational part and the other will give more tactical instructions to try and focus the girls on the task on hand.
What’s been best for your development so far?
Watching other experienced coaches, and actually being in the field coaching. I have kept up with my CPD training, read books, listened to coaching podcasts etc, and as much as these give you ideas, the best form of development is learning from my own coaching sessions. I’ve found keeping a coaching log/journal has been incredibly valuable, as I’m able to plan and review my sessions, as well as log training plans from experienced coaches.
What have been the biggest challenges faced so far and is there anything you needed to improve on or develop in terms of skills, for your current role?
I still consider myself a young, inexperienced coach. I’m my own biggest critic, but I do trust my ability as a coach and work hard to ensure I’m progressing and improving. My biggest challenge was taking the role at Barnsley Women.
I’d never coached adults at this level and I put pressure on myself to ensure that sessions were at a sufficient standard to match the ambitions of the players and board. I’ve stopped beating myself up if a session doesn’t turn out as expected or hoped, because sometimes you can you learn more from these sessions as you do from the ones that go really well.
How’s the future looking, what’s next?
In terms of the future, I would like to complete more of qualifications such as The FA Level 2s in Coaching Goalkeepers and Talent Identification. I am also really keen to further my development by getting on The FA Level 4 (UEFA A) in Coaching Football, and I’ll keep working towards that goal.
I also believe that I’m in a very good position at Barnsley Women and in the women’s game. I am keen to continue the work with Chris at Barnsley as I feel I am in a really good position to further develop my planning and coaching delivery, in place where we have a fantastic group of girls.
Management? Some day maybe. However I currently enjoy the role as the assistant with Chris, and have learned, and will continue to learn a lot.
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