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Football philosophy - Take it on the chin, learn and move on

Welcome everyone to the first article in my new coaching series for Total Football. I'm Anthony Hudson, a UEFA A Licenced coach and until recently I was manager at Newport County.

I want to keep this series of writing tailored toward coaches and coach education; and I’m sure along the way it will prove interesting reading for many others.

There are so many good coaches around and the one thing in common is we all want to improve. For me, putting things in writing and looking at experiences as objectively as possible pays huge dividends.

A painful experience - but a positive one 

Having recently been sacked from my post at Newport County, I went away, thoroughly reflected and most important of all – learnt from the experience.

One thing I hope I never lose is my enthusiasm to keep learning and developing!

I now know what it’s like to get the sack and as painful an experience it was, I have come away from it making sure that I identify exactly what it was that I could have done better and to make sure I put it right for my next role.

I also believe this experience will be the best thing that could have happened to me as a young manager, for many reasons.

But three key lessons that I came away with are:

1. Know the league and know the players.

2. Be more clinical with decision making.

3. Manage upwards.

The last thing I ever expected was getting sacked in the manner that I did, but what an advantage I now have after learning what I've learnt.

So, what do I know now?

1. Knowing the league and knowing the players - I've been out watching as many games as possible, League 1 and 2, Blue Square Premier, BSSouth and Ryman League. I will not be in a position again where I sign players without having seen them play.

2. Be more clinical with decision making - when I see it and feel something needs to change - do it immediately!

3. Manage upwards - the most important relationship I have is with the Chairman of the football club.

These are just some key lessons amongst many others, that I've learnt. However, the biggest question that I come away with is about my philosophy.

Ever-evolving process

It's an ever evolving process, but when a sharp experience like this takes place, refining and searching for what works and why, becomes even heavier.

Firstly - Style of Play. What wins? What works? And what do you want to be remembered for as a manager or coach?

There's so many managers doing the same things and playing the same way! Since leaving Newport, along with going to games,

I've been out to as many clubs as possible to meet with managers, watch training sessions and see different environments - Swansea City, Notts County, West Brom, Tottenham, Dagenham, Stevenage, Ajax and next month in Spain with several LaLiga clubs.

I also spent time in Holland at a sports psychology conference with Steve McLaren, Bill Beswick, Gus Hiddink, Ronald Koeman and Raymond Veheijen.

The purpose? To learn!

But there's certain reasons why I've gone to the places I have and to look for certain things, curious about - a superb style of football, bravery with a philosophy, great man-management, getting success with low resources, superb tactical awareness and of course, European experience.

Next month I go to Spain. About four years ago I started learning the language for moments like this.

What works?

So before I get into the meat of my interpretation of what I've seen abroad, I want to pose a few questions to readers, and I hope that we start some type of debate and reaction.

- What wins at your level (or any level)?

- Can you have a philosophy or do you need to 'fit in' with your club's way?

- What factors do you have to take into account when imparting your philosophy on your club?

- Fans - how much do you need to take into account what the fans want, if anything at all?

More determined

The recent 'jolt' in my career has turned out to be the best thing because I've turned it into the most positive experience possible.

Now, even more determined, it's time to learn, eagerly find out what works and what works for me.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I look forward to hearing from you!

By Anthony Hudson

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthony_hudson

For more information, or to contact Anthony, visit his website: www.anthonyhudson.com


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