I think the best place to start when talking about my new book: Modern Soccer Coach: DETAIL, is about the inspiration behind it. In 2013 I wrote my first Modern Soccer Coach book called ‘A Four Dimensional Approach’, which was written around where I thought the game was going in the future. I felt that the speed of the game and the tactical revolution that we were undergoing at the time was going to change how we could maximize the time on the training pitch with our teams. Since releasing that book I have written passionately about aspects such as Pre-Season Training, Position-Specific Training, Pressing and systems of play. These were specific areas of the game where I felt that a change was necessary in how we worked around it. The objective of Modern Soccer Coach books have always been to add elements to your coaching armory and present new ideas on coaches who are leading the way in those fields. “You need to keep up with a changing game” is something that I’ve always encouraged coaches to do. However, in 2022 I think we have reached somewhat of a crossroads, primarily because of how the world has changed. With vast amounts of information arriving at us on a daily basis, I think it’s more important today to slow down with our coaching. With technology and social media creating more information for coaches to access around development, tactics, science, psychology, I feel that the biggest skill required today is the ability to piece it all together. The Modern Soccer Coach Podcast has been a huge driver when putting this book together. Having the fortune to interview World Cup winners, Champions League coaches, and some of the brightest and diverse minds in the game, has allowed me to challenge my own thought process and question what and how we are learning.
One of the biggest sources of inspiration when writing Modern Soccer Coach: DETAIL was looking at the current coaching landscape and seeing that much of the it seems to be so misaligned. As coaches, we talk about development being such a key part of the game, yet so often we overlook our own. We pride ourselves in being more about the result, but yet everything seems to hinge on an outcome based lens. We tell everyone that it’s about relationships, yet it feels like often we are so unwilling to seek, build, or commit to new friendships within the coaching community. I’ve never been a great ‘networker’ myself and rarely would I ever put myself out there when in a group of people, but doing a podcast changed that unexpectedly. The first two months were pretty easy. I targeted my initial network of people in the game and recorded an interview with each one. The feedback was good on those episodes and momentum started to take place as I grew in confidence. Around the third month however, I had a huge challenge. People wanted more episodes but I had run out of contacts, so I had to put myself out there and connect with people immediately. The next challenge arose when the topics became pretty similar, so know I needed to connect with experts in other fields. Then, I realized that the guests were pretty consistent to my own beliefs, so I looked to branch out and interview people who held different views, many of whom did not even follow me online. With evolution of the podcast moving towards different coaches at different levels with different views on different topics, I began to notice that my perception of coaching was also changing.
Instead of perfect practice and theory, I wanted this book to be about reality. My goal is to take the reader on a journey that discusses the real challenges of the game and the difficulty in being a coach in 2022. Sometimes I think coaching has moved away from getting the best out of people and more towards getting players to do a job or getting your boss to keep you in a job. So much messaging around coaching and culture today is not only flawed in my opinion, it will hold us back. We are being conditioned to think that “if it worked for Coach X, it will work for me”. In doing so, we lose the ability to judge context, appreciate complexity, and see the detail in environments. I want this book to bring back the joy of searching for coaching. In the book I share stories, insights, and perspectives from coaches who not only challenged me to think about the game differently, but also inspired me to keep looking. The journey of self-discovery is a painful one. There are some days where we love where the game takes us. Being around players with so much energy and excitement, and playing a role in helping them either understand the game or get a result, is such a great feeling. Not far away however, that feeling is replaced by self-loathing for spending valuable time with family and thinking of some small detail in the game. The highs and lows of the game for me is not about wins and losses, it’s about dealing with the stresses and anxieties of the game. Some days it’s a great distraction from the ‘real world’ while other days it distracts you when you just want to play with your kids or talk to your wife and be present, physically and emotionally.
Modern Soccer Coach: DETAIL offers a unique insight into the many levels of depth and perspective that currently exist for coaches of the beautiful game. With almost 2 million listens to the Modern Soccer Coach Podcast, I have been studying the game and, at the same time, working at the professional level and pursuing my own coaching journey. This book takes the life of a coach and goes deeper to question certain facets and separate theory from practice. From development to results and family to career advice, this book has everything for a coach who wants to explore coaching much deeper than sessions and games. In a tough profession, I aim to deliver a perspective that can help coaches navigate through the tough times and enjoy the good times. This book is more of a personal perspective of how I have viewed the game, my experiences on why I have changed (both good and bad), and what I feel lies ahead for the coaching community. I hope that the book gives the reader an insight into the many variables that go into coaching and how important our ability to look forwards, backwards, and inside ourselves to see how we can improve alongside our players.