This week we chatted to LLS tutor and Liverpool FC Academy coach John Thompson. Talking about his coaching experiences at home and abroad the lifelong LFC fan explained how his ‘love of football’ led him down the coaching route and into a role with his favourite club.
‘Coaching came calling when I was 17. I enrolled onto an FA Level 1 course and instantly liked the thought of coaching young players. I got involved with as many teams as I could gaining experience all the way through college and University.’
Upon graduation John stayed involved with coaching and gained his own career linking the sports industry with education. John is a full time tutor based at Flint High School, North Wales delivering the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport, Development, Coaching and Fitness. He teaches the next generation of sports industry professionals every day transferring his knowledge and sharing his experiences. For the past four years, three evenings per week and most weekends he turns his attentions to the talented youngsters who train at the Liverpool FC Academy.
‘I am really proud to work at the Academy. Every time I get to the gates I realise that I am in a very fortunate position to represent the club that I have supported since I was a young boy. The under 7’s are just at the beginning of their journey. The main objective of the coaches at this age group is to improve the players technically and also ensure that they fall in love with the game’.
John explained why coaching players of such a young age is exciting,
‘Watching them learn and develop each week is unbelievably rewarding. They have tons of energy and want to play every second of every game whether it is in training or during matches.’
Speaking of his many experiences with the club John explained how he has visited top academies such as Arsenal and Tottenham FC as well as representing Liverpool FC International Soccer Schools across Scandinavia.
‘It was an amazing experience to coach in Norway. Liverpool are huge out there. Looking back I feel as though it gave me a lot of confidence coaching foreign players. I learned a lot about demonstrations, giving clear instructions and building relationships.’
John is passionate about coaching and dedicates his spare time assisting his aspiring coaches to gain unique experiences. John has set up voluntary placements in primary schools across North Wales for his learners who are keen to follow in his footsteps.
‘My highlight so far has got to be coaching sessions at Anfield. It might not have been in front of 45,000 fans but it certainly felt as though it was. Liverpool FC have given me some fantastic experiences and I am proud to be involved with their Academy.
John’s coaching tips
- Never turn down a coaching session. You never know what you will learn and who you will meet.
- Work with and learn from as many experienced coaches as possible.