Why Andre Thomas Is Proud To Be A Coach Educator
For the last week of Black History Month, we are catching up with London FA coach educators about what makes them proud to be part of the coaching community and what advice they would give to aspiring coaches.
When did you first start coaching? What were your goals at that time?
In 2014 properly, I had a stint in 2012 when I did my Level 2 but I was still playing in that time, (or should I say trying to play in that time) so was not fully dedicated to it as I was in 2014. I started coaching a grassroots team in East London and the goals were simply to give the young people in East London a place where they can develop as players but also develop and people.
What is your current coaching role?
AFC Wimbledon U13's Head Coach.
From the start of your journey to your current role, can you state the length of time it took to attain your highest qualification and how have the qualifications helped you?
It took me 10 Years. I completed my FA Level 1 in 2009 and completed my UEFA B Licence in 2019. In that time, I also completed my Goalkeeping & Youth Module qualifications. Some may feel that this is a long time but I’m a firm believer of Process over Prize because when you fall in love with the process, you can have any prize that you want. For many the certificate which has the Coaching Level written on it, is more important than being able to confidently and competently coach at that said level. Coaches don’t have their certificate around their neck when delivering a practice, they usually have their whistle, their watch and their session plan in hand observing knowing the right time to stop the practice, coach, and correct giving detail in a concise and precise manner, recreate the picture, allow players to imitate and then go live again.
If it takes you 21 years to 21 years old, it will take you however long to be a Level 1, Level 2, UEFA B, UEFA A or UEFA Pro Licence level coach. Embrace the journey, don’t rush it as you may miss and forget things you’ll need on the way to these personal milestones. Every qualification has its place and that should not be overlooked. Remember to get on to one course you would’ve needed to complete the level prior to it, so never discredit what has been the foundation to your new challenge.
Who are your coaching role models?
As an FA affiliated tutor, what advice would you give to grassroots coaches?
Be authentic, work hard, be humble enough to learn from others and confident enough to try things yourself. Your individuality is your superpower, no one in the world has the same fingerprint as you so make sure you leave your fingerprint all over the world.
What are your coaching aspirations for the future?
To gain additional qualifications and continue my formal learning. To connect and experience football with individuals and groups from different backgrounds & Network with people who can provide beneficial advice and offer mentorship as I aspire to become an established Head Coach within the professional game.
If you are interested in getting your coaching qualifications, you can check out the coaching pathway here. If you have any questions, please get in touch at email@example.com.