This interview comes with Billy Ready, currently based in UAE.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My journey within football began before I was born, as my dad was a professional footballer, playing in the Premier League and internationally, so I have been around football all my life. I began playing grassroots football at 9 years old, and after realising I was never going to make it as a pro, I needed to find the next best thing.
I began coaching at 16 years old through 6th form. Gaining my FA Level 1 and Level 2 without having a real passion for coaching. I was afforded the opportunity to coach in California, USA for 6 months in 2015, from this point on I was hooked. Coaching was all I wanted to do.
Since then, I worked for Wycombe Wanderers within the community for 6.5 years, progressing from a casual coach, into a full time delivery role, before becoming Premier League Primary Stars Manager. I also gained my UEFA B licence and coached at non league step 5 in this period.
I currently work as U9/U10 Lead Coach with PASS Abu Dhabi, in United Arab Emirates.
What is it about your role that you love?
I love connecting with people, I love seeing the enthusiasm children have for them laying sport, connecting with each other and enjoying learning. I have really enjoyed challenging myself in this new environment by exploring the different ways I can create effective learning environments, as well as learning from experienced colleagues every day, in the sunshine too which helps!
What have you found different from coaching in the UK? Are there any challenges that you currently face or have previously faced from coaching abroad?
I have found I have refined my coaching language since I have worked in Abu Dhabi. This is because English isn’t the first language for a lot of the children we come in contact with, we work with children from all over the world! I have also found the weather makes a huge difference as I don’t miss the cold wet December nights, and coach behaviour out here in some grassroots games can only be described as… interesting!
Are there any countries that you would love to coach in? If so, why?
I would love to coach in Spain or Germany. Spain because I have been learning Spanish and would love to challenge myself in an environment where I would need to use a second language, plus for both the rich footballing history of both countries. I have kept an open mind as to where football takes me next so I am happy for the journey to take me anywhere!
Do you have a preferred style to coaching?
My preferred style of coaching has recently been to allow for more exploration through questioning. I enjoy creating settings where players are faced with problems and are able to collaborate to find solutions. I like to use effective questioning to further understand what the player is thinking and see why they make certain decisions, as well as encouraging the search for positive actions with and without the ball.
What is your next step? What is your long term aim?
My next step would be to attain a place on the UEFA A Licence. I am currently competing a child psychology course which should give me further understanding of the players I work with, but the UEFA A would be where my progression naturally leans towards.
My long term aim is to progress up the age groups and work within the professional game/ U18 game. Gaining these experiences with different age groups and different cultures will set me up with a good platform to achieve my goals (hopefully!).
In the meantime, I am looking to connect with other coaches and build my knowledge of the game, I would also love to begin visiting other countries/academies to see how they put their values and methodologies into practice.
Any tips for other coaches out there in regards to coaching?
What about tips for coaching abroad?
I would suggest that coaches go with an open mind. The challenges that occur when living abroad aren’t often on the coaching field, the new lifestyle and the new cultures you will come across will grow you so much as a person. Which will in turn help you grow as a coach.