What’s it like to coach a team at 15 years old? Robert Pike gives his views

ARTICLE by Robert Pike


When you think of a football coach/manager you don’t often think of a young adult never mind a fifteen-year-old. If somebody told you that your son/daughters football coach was only fifteen what would your first thoughts be? I am sure you would think “Why would you put a fifteen-year-old in charge of a team?” or “Is my child really going to improve there football ability with a 15 year old teaching them?”. This may have been a lot of parents thoughts when I got given the chance to start my coaching path with ‘Bodedern Juniors’ but they soon realised what I could do as a coach.

At fifteen, I decided that I was going to go down the path of coaching football as soon as I could. One of the main reasons I decided to get into coaching is because early in the year I had broke my foot and I couldn’t play football for what should’ve been a month, but it ended up being three months.

At the time, I was in Year 10 in school and I had decided that, after Year 11, I was going to start a course in Holyhead High School called ‘LLS’. To help me get onto this course I thought I should help with some football camps during school holidays so I could get some experience coaching. I helped out with football camps which a man called Johnny Rowlands was running in Bodedern.

From here, I got asked if I wanted to coach a Bodedern Juniors team for the coming season. At the time, I was a bit cautious whether to say yes but, in the end, I thought that I should give it a shot and it would be a huge experience for me.

My first training with the Bodedern Juniors was nervy because it was the first time I had taken a training session myself. This Bodedern team was a new team and after the first few training sessions I had major doubts about winning games in the season and I thought this was just going to be a season where we try to improve for our second season together.

But, as we started playing the league games, I could see a huge improvement from their first few training sessions. We started our season with four or five losses in a row but then the boys started playing well together and we even started scoring seven or eight goals a game. Considering they were only seven years old, the boys were playing very quick passing football which a few managers after games had came up to me and said, “The way these boys play football is an absolute joy to watch”. This made me realise they were all talented footballers.

Our first big achievement as a team was a tournament on the Bangor 3G. This was our first ever tournament and the players who were there showed everyone how good they really are. At first, we had a slow start to the tournament but as soon as we got to the knockout stage, we didn’t concede a single goal until we reached the final. By the time the boys got to the final they were all tired but still put up a fight before ultimately losing 4-0 to an extremely talented Bryn Rhosyr team. Even though we had lost the final this was a huge achievement for all the players who played in the tournament that day.

One of the people who’s helped me the most with coaching is Justin Gallagher (above, who has just been appointed first team coach at Gaerwen). Justin was my football coach when I played for Gaerwen Under 16’s for three years. A lot of his drills he had used when I was a player had helped improve the way my own team play. I learned a lot from him when I was a player and it has helped me a lot as a coach.

Overall, my experience coaching so far has been brilliant. A lot of people don’t like my coaching methods because I tend to shout a lot and anyone who has seen my team play will know that my methods of coaching are not popular with parents but it works and in my opinion it works very well. In the coming future I am planning to get involved with managing or being an assistant manager for a men’s team to gain experience.

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