This weeks Q+A comes with GK Coach, Dease Kerrison, now combining teaching with his coaching in the UK but with experiences in Kuwait.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
So I think my coaching journey started fairly similar to a lot of aspiring coaches at 16 with holiday camps, after school clubs and helping out with grassroots teams. I think I was doing this most nights during the week whilst completing my college program before heading off to Uni to take on a sports coaching degree in Southampton.
I had a really broad range of experiences whilst doing my undergraduate, in my 2nd year, I was fortunate to complete my FA level 2 goalkeeping qualification and due to a lack of opportunities available to go and coach within an academy or RTC, I offered my coaching services to a number of grassroots clubs which was really well received and sparked the origins of my coaching school DK1 Goalkeeping.
In my 3rd year I was incredibly grateful to be offered the goalkeeper coaching role with Portsmouth women’s. This was brilliant for me as a young (ish) coach at the time learning from the coaching staff at the club, just trying to be a sponge and take in as much information as I could.
Fast forward a few years and a stint coaching in Kuwait and the National League, I now find myself teaching full time, still running my GK centres and holding 2 UEFA B awards and an MSc.
What is it about your role that you love?
It probably is a cliche at this point but I just love seeing people develop and become more confident. Sports can often be incredibly competitive and anxiety inducing for young people, when it becomes more accessible and you create an environment where it just ‘clicks’ for them, you see them buy in and have fun, it’s an unrivalled moment.
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 think the footballing (and probably sports as a whole) culture was a massive shock to the system when I went out to Kuwait. The kids themselves were great and as happy as you like, the vast majority of them just loved being active and having a laugh with their friends.
But having such a broad range in abilities was entirely new. You were ranging from the competent players to those who literally couldn’t run or tie their laces in the same session.
With the expectation to differentiate a session for abilities worlds apart, combined with the language barriers for the very young players and a fairly restrictive club coaching model/methodology, it was definitely an interesting experience.
Are there any countries that you would love to coach in? If so, why?
Spain for the football and culture, some of the best goalkeepers have come from Spain and Spanish academies so to have a deep dive into how and why they produce so many would be a massive opportunity.
Australia/New Zealand simply because the places are stunning and there’s a real opportunity to be a part of the growth a football there.
Anywhere in Scandinavia, a number of mates from uni have been coaching there and haven’t come back since so it cant be all that bad there.
Do you have a preferred style to coaching?
I’m a massive advocate for small sided and conditioned games. You really get to see the penny drop when you’re coaching them within a context and they then take it into a match day. Whilst I’m also a big fan of technical practices, it’s great to have a mixture of both and you can really see the progression the goalies make each week.
What is your next step? What is your long term aim?
Who knows, football is a cut throat industry where things move and change very quickly. I’d love to be back working in a full time environment but happy with how things are currently.
Any tips for other coaches out there in regards to coaching? What about tips for coaching abroad?
Immerse yourself in coaching, get a wide range of experiences, build a portfolio and reflect on every session.
A lot of the guys who went straight from uni into full time football had documented all of their work, their projects on a team and club level, employers were looking to get people in who had got results beyond just winning on a match day. One of the guys developed a club coaching model for a grassroots club, so there was consistency in the language being used by coaches. Another went a create a sport psychology workshop, teaching youth players and women’s players the benefits of taking the psych side of the game more seriously, introducing things like imagery and self-talk and as a consequence they made less mistakes and got better results.
For coaching abroad; do your research on where you’re applying and looking to go, make sure the club or companies ethos matches up with yours. If they do, then take risks and go.