Alex began his coaching journey many moons ago and in 2019 has taken on football full time. His journey is eye-opening, insightful and interesting. Take a read and find out what makes someone step into full time football.
Alex, you have recently undergone a career change to focus on football, how have you found this transition and what were your reasons for doing so?
I arrived at a stage in life where I felt I needed a change from working in law; searching for a healthier work/life balance so I decided to direct my energy towards my passion for football. I was always playing, watching, reading, discussing – analysing football in my spare time. When my sons were old enough to start playing I would try and help them as best I could. At the end of each season I would attend the various coaching courses on offer from the NSFA as I was not only interested in assisting my boys but coaching in general. This is now my twelfth year coaching in some capacity.
My main reason to transition full time into football was to try and make a positive impact to the lives of players, both children and adults.
To help them grow both as footbalIers as well as people; assist their technical development, help them find or increase their passion for the game, teach them skills on and off the pitch to get them into better habits not only in preparing themselves mentally and physically for football – but for life in general.
I have enjoyed the transition to coaching. There are many skills from my previous career that are easily transferable and useful to coaching.
It hasn’t been easy with my coaching workload but I continue to look for ways to manage the workload and be more effective.
How does West Pymble FC align to your values as a coach?
West Pymble fits in perfectly with my values as a coach. We have a fantastic President, Kevin Johnson, and Technical Director, Cam Jones, as well as a wonderful coaching staff, managers and many others that work behind the scenes to ensure we provide as great a football experience to our players as possible.
Players and coaches displaying respect towards each other; their opposition and officials on and off the pitch are core values that I bring to every team and are both encouraged and supported by the club.
The club’s football philosophy also reflects what I try to bring as a coach. In addition, being forward thinking and taking steps to grow the club in every way, are values we both share.
Have you learnt something that stands out most this year?
I continue to learn many things each year in coaching/life generally. There are several things that have stood out for me this year. Being more flexible and patient are two.
Most importantly however – to trust my gut instinct more on and off the pitch!
What would be your main advice for coaches looking to get involved?
My main advice for coaches looking to get involved is to play, watch, read, and absorb yourself into as much football as possible before/while getting involved in the coaching process. It’s such a wonderful game that’s always evolving. It is possible to make a significant difference to a players’ life but there are reminders that we can have a negative influence too; so my advice is to give thought to your actions and words, look to make a difference, bring your passion, develop your own style of coaching and be prepared to develop a thicker skin…
Your pick, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger?
Not an easy pick – I think Wenger did a great job in the early days at Arsenal changing not only their playing style but culture including better eating/drinking habits etc, although in later years resisted change and kept picking the same types of players to come to the club.
Ferguson’s leadership style was very successful and while maybe not up there in the early days as a tactician; in later years he started appreciating the use of different tactics to play against teams in Europe.
I didn’t mind Mourinho’s psychological warfare. He had that charismatic authority, almost a cult like figure getting his teams to play out of their skin.
However, I have to go with Guardiola. He’s always looked to dominate the ball and play football the way it was ”intended”. He clearly has developed many individuals and teams whose progress is evident throughout the course of every season.