Leading From The Front - Rob Jones

'...input some of what the player wants, add what I believe the player needs and incorporate what the player needs to have accomplished at the end of the session'.

Name, age, where are you based?

Rob Jones, aged 40 Yarm County Durham

Current and past roles:

Head Coach American Academy

Cat 1 Academy Coach Middlesbrough fc

U12s coach Grimsby Town

U14s coach Sheffield Wednesday

U15s coach Hartlepool United

U17s coach Hibernian Fc

Player/ manager Doncaster Rovers

U23 Head coach Doncaster Rovers






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

I started my coaching pathway at a very early stage in professional football. In early 2004 I started in the academy at Grimsby Town u12s, coaching alongside playing.

In every club from then on, I coached within the academy at various age levels until I played at Doncaster rovers, where I firstly became the joint player manager and then whilst still playing took over the clubs u23s squad This is where my philosophy and coaching style began to become much more structured and driven. Throughout it all there was no doubt in my mind that coaching was going to be my career after playing.

I have now since retired and have been a head coach to over 80 players per season for the last three years, where I have been able to collate a coaching syllabus of session plans of which I know work.

Any Major achievements?

Whilst player manager at Doncaster we won League one on the final day of the season.

U23 runners up in the final third development league.

Two league titles as Head Coach in Lancashire league semi-professional status.

And along with this i'm proud to have been involved in running a grass roots team every season, for the last 7 years coaching my oldest son in the TJFA league.

Can you share more about your role with RIASA, what is the playing level like and are there any major adaptions needed to make as a coach, as opposed to when coaching British based players?

Coaching American players is very different to British, many times I have seen how American based players are quite a way behind the British and European players in terms of Tactical understanding and physical presence. As a result, my coaching style needed to be stripped back and become much clearer, focusing on specific traits as we progressed through the seasons.

The style that I have taught is a passing, flowing and controlled way. Very different to the way grass roots is coached in America.

How would you say this compares in terms of player development with British professional academies and what opportunities does it provide for coaches to develop?

Having been in the professional academy environment most of my playing career, it teaches you the simple traits which positively affects how you coach as time progresses. The introduction of the premier league PMA has been an invalid tool in being organised, disciplined and much more computer literate in reference to correlating player performance. It also gives you the coach a focus on the specific task/theme needed to be coached in a given session.