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Why You Need A Performance Coach

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

Your regular coach in soccer is not necessarily there for your success!

If you’re injured or just not performing well, their job is to find solutions for the greater good of the team. In the professional game that may entail buying or loaning new players in your position, sending you our on loan to get match fit, selling you or letting your contract run down and not offering you new terms.

You can look at Liverpool FC as an example. Jurgen Klopp sanctioned the deal to bring Karius to the club. In the 2018 Champions League final, Karius made 2 errors that led to Liverpool losing their 3rd final in a row under Klopp. That summer he brought in Allison Becker for a world record fee for a goalkeeper at that time. Jurgen Klopp is one of those coaches who is famous for developing young players into world class players.

This happens at all levels of soccer.

At some point all of the above happened in my career. In fact, it happened all within 1 year at a particular club I played for. Firstly, they wanted to sell me at the beginning of my second season, they had told me and my agent to look for another club. However, the first game I came off the bench and scored with practically my first touch. The second game I started and scored again and played well. All of a sudden with other clubs interested in signing me I wasn’t for sale anymore or available for loan. Now I was an integral part of the team and squad and one the manager was relying on.

Then I picked up an unfortunate injury just when I was performing great. Now I’m back on the market with the club offering to pay me up a portion of what my contract was and make me a free agent. Coming back from injury with new management as results suffered, I was back playing again and scoring goals and creating a great partnership with my strike partner and the team are back to winning ways. A few weeks down the line, I am available for loan again and this time I decided to leave as I was in my final 2 months of my contract and wanted to play regularly.

As you can see, you have to be pretty thick-skinned, mentally strong to deal with the crazy ins and outs and the way clubs are run. Now there is a lesson to learn here; managers are human and they are worried about their jobs. When I retired in 2015 the average length of a manager’s job was in the Premier League: 2.36 years; Championship: 1.14 years; League One: 1.44 years. League Two: 1.67 years.

My career for over 12 years was exclusively played in Championship and League One. Some years I had 3 managers within a year at clubs I had signed for. So, imagine the pressure managers felt to get things right on the pitch. They don’t have the time to make sure individuals are in the right frame of mind to perform. They are the head coach of teams and not an individual coach – unless they have taken a shine to a particular player but that unfortunately is the exception and not the rule.

So, regardless of what is happening in your life, personal and professional it is up to you the player to perform at any given point whether you are overcoming an injury, a personal setback or mental breakdown. During my time it was more the case of ‘man up’ and deal with it by yourself, but make sure that on the pitch you are performing week in, week out. Nowadays, you will see big initiatives about mental health and players speaking out now about depression, about addiction and about struggles that everybody deals with that can of course affect performances. There is no sentimentality or patience in the game and given the numbers of the length of time that managers get in their roles there is usually no time for them to implement everything. So, everything is about short-termism.

These are the many instances that having a performance coach can really benefit a player. Sometimes, you are too deep in the situation yourself to get yourself out of it or to see the bigger picture for your own career. There are times that you will feel low in confidence and need guides in how to get that back. There are times that you will feel down about yourself because the manager chooses to overlook you. It doesn’t make you a bad player overnight, it just means that you will have to look at ways to overcome your funk and get back to playing regularly.

A performance coach can look at problem-solving whatever situation that you may be in. The focus is not on the problem but on solutions that will enable you to fulfill your potential and/or get back to previous levels of performance or higher. The general nature of the head coach’s role means that attention you may need to produce your best may never be forthcoming as they will be more focused on the team objective and they may have difficulty in finding the time and will to devote to any particular player. While a performance coach can provide a holistic picture of the things that are affecting your performances and can bring different aspects to the table that may not even be related to soccer.

Performance coach can work on plans that are tailored to your needs as a person and a player, specific to what you want to achieve and get out of the game. The top people in every industry all have coaches that keeps them on the right path. If you look at self-help gurus like Tony Robbins, even he has a coach and he preaches about self-help. Sometimes, you can’t see the forest for the trees in situations and it is always best to have second eyes that is looking out for you and putting you back on path. Inevitably, it is also better to have someone who has generally been there and done that and can understand the different emotions that you are going through.

It may also be difficult for you to share certain things with your coach and as a player you have to work things out for yourself. If you struggle with preparation of big games or just games in general. You find that you are performing great in training, but something is lacking in the games. While certain things are noticeable it may not need to be discussed with the coach as this can be used as an excuse just to drop you anyway. So, working with a performance coach you can iron out these issues and work on ways to overcome any anxiety and mental blocks that you may have in this regard.

Another aspect that is good to work with a performance coach is that the things you learn goes beyond sport, it makes you a better individual in society. To be able to master emotions and have goal setting programs and to be disciplined enough to work towards an end outcome. It provides you with tools that you can transfer to any goal and setting in business and life.

Most of all a Performance Coach can help those on the path to becoming the best they can be by helping you to avoid mistakes, focus on what matters in your development and speed up the entire process of trying to get from A to B by truly understanding what it takes to become a professional soccer player.

Having a performance coach can provide the impetus needed to take your game to a higher level and maintain your career in one of the most competitive industries globally. You must be prepared to go the extra mile to sustain yourself and not have a fleeting career.

If you want to know more about having a performance coach please email to discuss options of working with a seasoned professional soccer player.

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