Where next? - Martin Lee Herdman

Martin is a coach from England, with experience in Canada and New Zealand. He has a UEFA A Licence and a UEFA Elite Youth A Licence. Martin is looking for a new opportunity. Perhaps your club could benefit from such coaching experience and knowledge.

What were your first steps into coaching?

It all started when I was 11 and I would help my brother at a local team. I remember coaching people older than me who were at the same school, which was a little strange and nerve wracking.


When did you know you wanted to coach as a career?

I have always coached in football in some capacity but it wasn’t until my mid to late 20s that I wanted to do it full-time. I really wanted to gain valuable life experiences away from the field in other walks of life first to hone my skills.

Which location has been the best for living and working?

I’ve loved every experience I’ve had so far. Most recently I spent time in Canada going from +40 degree temperatures in Vancouver to -20 degrees in New Brunswick. Both equally enjoyable that brought their own challenges and rewards. Football is a growing and developing sport there and the players are so eager to learn and improve.


Which course has had the most benefit to your development as a coach?

I must say the FA Youth Licenses really opened my mind and shaped the way I coach. They dig into the social and emotional aspect of the player which is a crucial part of coaching now. I also thoroughly enjoyed doing the elite UEFA A License with the FAI.

Which people or environment have you learned the most from?

There are too many to mention. I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside some top coaches at Hartlepool, Newcastle, Durham, and there are some extremely talented coaches in Canada that I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from.


What are your ambitions as a coach?

I just want to keep driving the standards of my coaching and those around me. The ambition is always to be part of or helping to create high performance environments, where as a coach you can learn and develop, whilst supporting players to become great humans and then great players.

What is something you know now that you wish you had learned sooner?

To relax, it’s not a race. It’s good to have a plan but sometimes it doesn’t always happen on your timeline. Stay positive in these moments, the ones that stay on course and true to their values are the ones that usually shine through and achieve their dreams and goals.


How do you adapt to new roles in new locations?

It’s always key to do your research before entering a new environment. From there, I follow an approach of ‘Listen, learn and modify’. I always spend time listening and asking questions first to understand the environment and learn as much as I can about it, the people and the culture. It’s important to be open to new experiences and surround yourself with likeminded people who will help you settle and grow. Then it’s up to me to adapt and evolve as a person.

Are there any areas outside of football that you have developed that have benefited your coaching?

I attribute a lot of what I have done in my life to the time I spent as a Support Worker, supporting people with various physical and cognitive disabilities. This was the most humbling and enriching experience I have ever had. Every day was so different, on a morning I could be working with someone with Down Syndrome and in the afternoon I could be supporting someone with high functioning Autism, Visual Impairments or Epilepsy. You are constantly adapting to the person but also aware emotionally and socially what is happening in each moment. I truly believe that these day to day interactions have shaped me as a person and as a coach on the field and off the field.


What are some of the biggest influences on your coaching style?

Obviously being a Geordie in the 90s I was spoilt with the Kevin Keegan era. The style of play had me hooked and still to this day crave that wonderful attacking football! Sir Bobby Robson is another huge influence, it almost felt like he was a second grandad for everyone in Newcastle, a wonderful man that taught me there is more than just being a football coach. I have become more intrigued in the tactical side of the game studying the top teams around the world and how they create high performing environments. I think you can do a lot of work from your laptop, but the greatest influence is ‘doing’, getting out of your comfort zone and ‘getting your hands dirty’. Leaving my hometown and travelling to Canada was an important step in my career as a person and a coach.


Find Martin on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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