iCanCoach: Asad Qureshi

Tell us about how and why you got involved in coaching?

Me and my friends did the Level 1 when we were 18, just because we were all keen footballers and we thought becoming a football coach would be a great job. We did some part time coaching at various places, but all stopped doing at some point and didn’t take it any further. Then at 25, my nephew who was 15 at the time pestered me to run his football team. I didn’t want to do it, because I’d lost interest in coaching at that point, but he convinced me to do it and once I started to run the team, I really enjoyed it and became determined to get better. Since then I have coached various teams including local junior teams, college teams and even adult teams in non-league.


What do you enjoy about coaching football?

I enjoy working with the different kinds of people you meet and trying to make them better at something. When working with young kids especially, I see it as trying to develop good people as well as good footballers. I enjoy trying to solve puzzles and football is all about creating solutions to problems and there’s no better feeling when you get something right having practiced it. I think football is endless as well, you can’t complete it, there’s always a new idea or concept and that’s why the game keeps evolving and its good to be a part of that process.


What are your greatest achievements in coaching and why?

I would say it was working with that first U16 team that my nephew was a part of. I still see a lot of those young guys now and we still talk about some of the memories from when the team was together. Its great walking down the street and bumping into someone you have coached and then chatting to them about what they have gone on to achieve.


What is your best memory of coaching?

I coached an Under 21 team once and we were playing in a cup game against a team that was supposed to be a lot better. I watched the team play and then asked my players to play in a certain way and do certain things they might not normally do in order to try beat the team. Everything worked out perfectly and we ended up beating them and I believe, the tactical information I gave before the game had a big part in this. On the night, I think it’s probably where I won the trust of the players in the team and they recognised my ability to solve the problem which set me apart from the old school coaches who just shout at players and give them generic football information and cliches.


What are your goals in the sport?

I’d love to eventually be involved with professional football but this might not necessarily be as a coach. I like to know more about the support staff around teams aside from the manager and coach. I have a Degree in Sports Science and hope to do a Masters in Psychology so maybe offering psychology support to teams and players could be a route I go down.


What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in football?

I think it’s probably trying to get the right kind of experience. There are lots of places to go get experience, but some of these might not be what they look like from the outside and might not provide the kind of experience you actually need. There’s also a juggling act in terms of managing time, because football usually takes place in unsociable hours such as weekends or late evenings so balancing that with work and family is a trick in itself. As I’ve got more experienced, I’ve probably got better at this and probably got better at saying no to things if they don’t fully maximise my time. By being able to do that I enjoy my work in football more.


Who’s had the biggest influence in your coaching career and why?

I reckon it’s probably the players that I’ve worked with as they are the ones who have ultimately help develop my coaching. Players generally also give honest feedback, if they don't tell you verbally, then their body language or attitude will act as feedback and you can learn from this as a coach. I’ve also worked with and been around lots of coaches so you always take bits away from the coaches you have been around. I've been on courses before where the tutors have been quite inspiring so you always end up looking up to them and trying to copy some of the  things they do. I'm a tutor now so am aware of this when working with coaches who are doing their courses.


What advice would you give to people wishing to get involved in coaching football?

Don’t think you know it all! Football is a sport where everybody thinks they know it all and their way is the best. Good coaches are open minded and will always adapt and the first part of this is being honest with yourself and where you are at on your journey. Also remember its always about the players so they've got to be central to whatever you do!


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