The UEFA Pro Course for ex-professional players
Every year some coaches get accepted to the UEFA Pro course and a lot of coaches don’t come into the course. Every year the same discussion comes up about, who deserves it, and who should be allowed yes or no. Every country has different rules and the discussion that most flares up is about, why do ex-professional players that played an X amount of games get selected before coaches with a lot of years of coaching experience.
A lot of former professional players who are now coaches mean this is the right way to go.
Why do they mean this?
It’s because of the experience they have in professional football. They’ve been through the situations that happen as a professional player. In the dressing room, in training, tactically in games, winning and losing, and all other things that come with playing professional football.
This experience makes them better suited for coaching professional players. While I do understand their argument, I think there are a lot of other factors that are important for a coach as well. For example the pedagogy side of coaching,
So yes, I think experience is real and of high value for coaches, but it should be used in the right way, without this experience is not useful. This is what some ex-professional players overestimate, that merely having played a lot of matches as a professional player will make you better than a coach who hasn’t played at a high level. Of course, the experience as a professional player can be beneficial in a coaching career. But only if the coach is able to coach the what, why, and how to their players. There are a lot of other factors going into this than football experience, pedagogy, for example, long-term planning, and managing of a team to just name a few.
The coach who doesn’t have experience in professional football doesn’t have these experiences. But he already has more experience coaching a team, planning training, and managing staff.
So I think we’re actually dealing with two different needs. The ex-professional players need to learn the pedagogy of coaching, the planning of training, managing staff, and all the things they didn’t experience while being professional players. While the coaches who haven’t played professional football should learn more about what the ex-professional players already know. What happens in a dressing room, how do you experience tactical game situations, and what does winning and losing games mean.
Because a good coach needs to possess so many different aspects, I was thinking, maybe we should have two separate courses. The ex-professional player has different needs than the coach who hasn’t played professionally. So one course for the ex-professional player and one for the people who haven’t been professional players. In this way, you make sure the coaches need to deal with all aspects to become a top coach.