Coaches Corner - Gary Forde

We caught up with Chesham United academy coach Gary Forde to discuss how he got into coaching, how he tries to get the best out of his players and who his favourite managers in the world are.

Q: How did You get involved with the SLFA?

A: I first saw the coaching application and I’ve worked at the community trust at Watford,

pretty much doing a similar thing so I was doing that prior. I thought it’s an environment

that I know and I thought yeah it sounds right, I’ve read some of the literature for the league

and It looked good so I decided to get involved.

Q: What previous experience do you have as a coach?

A: I’ve coached for about 16 years and my passion is youth football, I really like the

development phase so between the ages of 12-16. I’ve done that and worked at non-

league level with those sort of players in the allied counties leagues and other floodlit

leagues. Going into the college environment it’s something I’m used to in terms of working

with those types of players. I’m also a qualified youth worker so it sorts of sits in perfect

tandem with my background.

Q: What made you want to become a coach when you first started out?

A:I sort of just fell into it, then I took the local grass roots side. Many dads will tell you when

your sons playing football and someone says can you help out, and then it just snowballed

from there really. I love having young people fall in love with the game and for me the

reason why I perhaps love working with younger age groups is I treat the game really like a

subject, it’s not just win win win. I fell in love with coach educating, player educating and for

me what you teach a player now, he can take that and use it for the rest of his career.

Q: What was your first coaching job and what was it like?

A: My first sort of coaching experience was as a youth worker, I had a young family and I went in there teaching Music and Technology, that’s how I got involved. It was sort of the

emergence of electronic music was coming in, so I was teaching kids how to produce music

on PCs and while I was there they said If we had a qualified coach, the kids could start going

to tournaments. I put my hand up and said I’ll do it and I’d have to have a look at my paper

work to see how long ago that was. From there I really liked it and I thought I’d jump on my

level two and really from there I didn’t look back and It became more and more of a

passion, to the point in the last two years that I’ve actually now taken it as my full time

position, whereas before I had an office job and would coach in the evenings so it has

definitely become my passion.

Q: How would you describe your coaching style?

A: One of the things I say to players, particularly being mindful of the age groups that I work

with, is that I treat it like learning to read and write. When you look at a drill in its simplest

form, when you started learning to read and write you’d just work on letters and you simply

develop the skill and the technique to write that letter. Then that letter becomes a word

and the word becomes the sentence and then the game is the essay. For me it’s about

having players that can understand how to connect the dots. I think because I work in youth

football the results aren’t the be all and end all. Depending on my environment obviously, I

work more around objectives then results because you can play badly, get a result and learn

nothing so definitely for me, my philosophy would be understanding the game I think it’s

vital that my players understand the game

Q: What made you want to become a coach for the SLFA?

A: I thought their philosophy was right, I liked the fact that the league was widespread,

because I think it’s really important, particularly boys who want to develop as players, that

they play as wide of a variety of players possible because I think different regions play

different types of football. I also think, my link with Chesham is an absolutely brilliant link

between a non-league club and young men who would like to consider football, or consider

the football industry and that’s what I say to my players all the time. You’re involved in an

industry, players are only one aspect of the industry but out of a course like the one they

are studying, you may have physios come out of that, you may have chiropractors come out

of that or strength and conditioning coaches, so I think it’s a brilliant platform for the

industry as a whole and not just about being a player.

Q: How does the SLFA help the students involved in the programme?

A: One thing that I really like on the managerial side of things is they are in contact with the

players. For me the likes of Max, Simon and Ross are really involved, they’re not just a face

in the distance, I think that is brilliant. I also think a really good selling point and I use it as

part of my coaching methods is the recording of the games, and it’s recording of the games

done well with FilmMyMatch. It’s clear, it’s precise, we can pause things and have a look at

it, for me that is another element of playing.

Q: Who do you think the best three managers in the world are? (past and present)

A:I’ve got to say Mr (Nigel) Pearson haven’t I, the gaffer! I love Klopps man management, I

think that’s wonderful, I love his man management methods, I think that’s really good. Out

of respect I think I’d have to say Alex Ferguson, what he has done time, and time and time

again, you’ve got to take your hat off to the man, some of the little methods I’ve read about

in his books has made me go, ‘wow!’ it’s not just about the 11 men on the pitch. I’m very

much into psychology and he was very clever in terms of his psych manner. So top three I

would have to say, I think Fergie is a really influential manager, I’ve taken lots of things from

him, I’ve got to put my gaffer in there, Nigel Pearson, and having the opportunity at a club

like Watford to be able to see some of the sessions is absolutely brilliant and that is priceless

for me as a developing coach and then I would say I do like Klopp for his man management

but I think next year will be a big test for him.



The Southern League Football Academy in conjunction with the Southern League. We are the second (after the NPL Football Academy) in English football to launch a youth league and academy combining football with further education.

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