Ipswich Town academy coach launches new innovative training manual

Ipswich Town academy coach Steve Foley is launching an interactive football coaching manual.

Ipswich Town academy coach Steve Foley is launching an interactive football coaching manual. - Credit: Su Anderson

Steve Foley is turning the art of coaching into a whole new ball game.

The Ipswich Town academy coach has launched an innovative coaching manual that allows users to watch certain training drills come to life, via their smart phone or tablet.

Using a barcode app which can be downloaded on most devices, ‘Coach Your Way To The Premiership’ includes videos which can be viewed by users by simply scanning their screen over a QR (Quick Response) code on the page.

With over 30 years’ experience in coaching, following his retirement as a player through injury, ex-Norwich City coach Foley’s pedigree is highly-respected, having worked successfully with the likes of Craig Bellamy, Peter Crouch and Scott Parker, and teamed up with boss Nigel Worthington as Norwich reached the top-flight in 2004.

One of the videos, “The Italian Square” is a Foley original – a four-a-side game that sees one team try to get past their opposition, and to the other side of a square, using one-touch football only.

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Sometimes, presenting a coaching drill in the correct manner is just as important as how you implement it, according to the affable coach.

“I came up with the Italian Square when I was at Norwich,” recalled Foley, who also worked at Ipswich as part of Jim Magilton’s first-team coaching set-up.

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“I used to ask myself how could I keep training interesting and how, if they needed it, could I keep the players motivated.

“So I told the boys one day that we were going to do the Italian Square – a method I had picked up on my coaching travels, and instantly this got their attention as it was a bit different.

“The funny thing is, I had never been to Italy, but they liked the idea of it and it kept their interest!

“Another one I came up with was the Brazilian Square. If you can get players to buy into what you’re teaching a little, then that’s always positive.”

Owning several ring binders jam-packed full with training drills, either devised by himself or by his peers over the years, Manningtree-based Foley set himself the task of putting a few of his methods into his first book.

“I think the reason I have so many drills is that I am always willing to learn,” said the 62-year-old.

“The ones that feature in the book are a mix of skills and hopefully, if it goes well, I can produce a dedicated attacking book, or one dedicated to defending.”

Foley coaches all age groups at Town’s Playford Road training complex, as well as assessing the club’s staff, and is also first-team coach at Needham Market, where he helped the Marketmen clinch the Ryman North title last season.

“I’m not being big-headed but because I am quite good at what I do, I get people asking me for advice,” explained the former Colchester United midfielder. “Someone I know helps out with a youth team and will often come to me and ask me to put together a couple of drills for the kids. After a while, I thought ‘why don’t I do a book?’

“At the grand old age of 62, I look back and wish I had someone to help me when I was starting out and it’s nice to be able to point people in the right direction.”

Foley called time on his playing career in 1982, as a result of injury, and was urged to move on and earn his FA coaching badges as he aproached his thirties.

Despite learning much of his trade on the job, Foley singles out ex-Colchester United boss Bobby Roberts as an inspiration.

“Bobby took over from Jim Smith as manager,” recalled Foley.

“When he got the job, one of the first things he did was take me to one side and ask me what I could have done different in a certain situation.

“Before that, the managers just used to scare you, but he allowed me to think for myself and gave you freedom. If you got it wrong however, you got a rollicking!

“Bobby got me into coaching and there is nothing wrong with taking the best qualities from other coaches. I am now hoping to give something back.”

Foley has to be flexible in his profession, a reason he has stayed the course and earned glowing endorsements from the likes of Bellamy (pictured) and Darren Eadie. “You have to be able to adapt, from talking to senior professionals to under-12s, you can’t treat them in the same manner and you can’t expect them to be able to do the same things,” said Foley.

The Clacton-born coach has also had five separate stints as caretaker boss at Colchester, but getting his boots dirty is his real passion.

“As a coach you are right in amongst the players whereas as a manager, I think you have to keep your distance a little,” he explained.

“Maybe that’s why management has never really appealed to me in the same way. I enjoyed being caretaker but I always knew I would be going back to being a coach again.”

He added: “It’s (coaching) is a bit like driving a car, you pass your test then you develop your own methods and it’s the same when it comes to earning your coaching badges, there will be things you disagree with.

“You have got to stick to your beliefs and be yourself.”

“Coach Your Way To The Premiership” is priced at £9.99 and can be purchased from Media:cpm, 11 Park Lane Business Centre, Park Lane, Langham, Essex, CO4 5WR. Contact: 01206 230007.

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