Sunday, 30 December 2012

Manisha Tailor - Teacher & Football Coach.

Our first "guest" contribution to the No Clash Of Colours site.

Manisha Tailor is a 32 yr old Primary School Teacher and Part-Time Football Coach from London. A volunteer with the London FA, Middlesex FA and the LPFF (London Playing Fields Foundation). She is also an Ambassador for the FA's "Football Needs You" campaign.

Manisha is an Arsenal supporter and her footballing hero/heroine are Cesc Fabregas and Rachel Yankey, MBE.

Teacher and Football Coach : Different or the Same?

Philosophy and Ethos :

My coaching philosophy and methodology is deeply rooted from my background in education and teaching ideology.  Some may question and debate the differences the role of a ‘teacher’ and a ‘coach’ may have – but for me, the fundamental skill set that each brings to the forecourt are transferable.  It is the interlocking of these skills that have aided my personal and professional development in the world of football coaching, both within a youth and an adult set up.

As an educator, my ethos and belief is focused around the ‘Every Child Matters Outcomes’.  

How I then link this to a football environment is outlined below: 

Staying safe – ensuring all safeguarding regulations and practice are adhered to so that each and every player/pupil feels safe within the football/school setting.

Being healthy – ensuring more time is spent where players/pupils are actively engaged and practising physical education, as oppose to watching and listening.

Making a positive contribution – both pupils/players are confident and able to make their own decisions independently and understand their right and responsibility in doing so.

Enjoy and achieve – learning both in the classroom and at football training sessions is fun, exciting and purposeful.
Economic-well being – pupils/players from a young age learn and develop social and life skills that they can then transcend to our everyday world. These would include: communication, fair-play, respect, working in different teams and with different people, punctuality and time-keeping, self-organisation etc..)     

Teaching and Coaching Ideology: How They Interlink

My teaching ideology is linked directly with what is termed ‘The 5 R’s of Learning’ (Resilient, Responsible, Reasoning, Resourceful and Reflective).  From my perspective, in the world of football, this translates to ‘The 4 Corner Model’ (Technical, Psychological, Physical and Social).  Both have been interwoven into how I coach youth and adult players alike, encouraging them to develop both ‘The 5 R’s of Learning’ and ‘The 4 Corners’.  For me, how a player/pupil (learner) develops and learns holistically is fundamental and at the core of everything that I do.

I will explain how I suggest that both have strong association: 

Resilient – is a learner who is able to persevere and stick at something, no matter how challenging the task may be.  In football, through persistence and determination, players will increase their practise and learning experience (psychological corner).  These pupils also have a positive attitude and find interest in what they are doing. Thus, through enjoyment in football, and players having a direct involvement in their learning process, there will be positive impact on their social development.
Responsible – is a learner who is able to work effectively within a team situation and able to plan ahead.  Someone who is independent and can use initiative, as well as know right from wrong.  Football players will develop socially when given ownership, trust and responsibility within any given task or situation. If in the technical and physical practise they are given plenty of opportunity to work with different players and within varied group size, literacy required for effective communication and teamwork will be developed.  Developing footballers who have vision and awareness, those that can think ahead, can result from careful planning of the technical practise.

Reasoning – is a learner who is able to choose which method is best for them and explain why. They are patient and take time in doing something properly.  At training, players should be involved in practise that constantly involves decision-making and evaluation of learning.  They would then ensure that they are able to decide upon which strategy is best for them to use as football players – being exposed to a varied technical and physical practise would impact how much a player can ‘reason’.  Using varied approaches to cater for differing learning styles would mean all players needs are being met, whilst players make the decision on what impacts their learning the most (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic).   

Resourceful – is a learner who learns in different ways and is able to use their imagination.  They are willing to take risks and not afraid to ask questions.  In football, through open, varied and challenging practise (technical and physical) players will learn to develop creativity and imagination.  Risk-takers and those who question, develop socially and psychologically through opportunities given to discover, explore and experiment.  At training, a culture of developing ‘trial and error’ would be important in building such inquisitive players.
Reflective – is a learner who learns from mistakes and listens to different opinions.  These pupils ask ‘why’ and remain calm.  In football, the coach would know how to manage the mistakes of individual players.  Treating them as developmental, and through careful questioning, encouraging players to self-evaluate and identify what they need to further improve, in addition to what they are good at, is a great building block for social skills and nurturing positive psychology amongst players.    

Transition from Youth to Adult Coaching

My expertise and experience lie in primary education, working with 5 – 11 year olds.  In school terms there are three phases pupils go through until they reach the end of their primary education: Foundation Stage (Nursery/Reception), Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) and Key Stage 2 (Years 3 – 6).  In football terminology, this age group (5-11) has been named the ‘Foundation’ years – with the coaching pathway now age-appropriate.  

When working with young children, a fundamental understanding of how pupils learn is imperative.  It is the knowing of the ‘how’ that will ultimately impact the amount of progress made by individuals.  In my opinion, this is equally important when working with youth players in a football setting.  The recent age-appropriate coaching courses (Youth modules) place emphasis on this and provide strategies that coaches can adopt into their own practise.  

Although the development of technique and physical practise is important, I place significant emphasis on the social and psychological development of my young players (especially those who are within my Under 7 age group).  My young players are exposed to a range of constant technique practise and ball mastery – with progression to varied and random practise (which is more game related).  However, tactical learning is generic, where I simply use the terms ‘attackers’ and ‘defenders’ when discussing roles and responsiility, and players will not be involved in matches larger than a 4v4, as for me, the more touches of the football they have, the better footballers they will become.

But, when I am coaching my adult men’s team, although I do take into account their social and psychological needs, more weight is placed on the development of technique and physical development (agility/fitness).  The content of the training session is therefore different – practise begins with technique then skill, however there is a quicker transition to ‘random’ and ‘game-related’.  This would also be tactical and quite specific in terms of their roles and responsibilities on the pitch.

From my experience of what I have learnt in being able to coach a 5 year old to a 25 year old+, is the importance of understanding how players learn (socially, psychologically, technically and physically) and then being adaptable in your approach to suit the needs and age-group that you are working with.  Knowledge and understanding of the 4-Corner model alone is not enough – its how this relates to the practise and players that is fundamental.  Lastly, of course for me, it is the Football Association’s 4-Corner Model intertwined with the 5 R’s of learning that makes me the coach that I am – and shapes the learning of my players.   


Many Thanks to Manisha for contributing the feature. We look forward to hearing more of and from Manisha in 2013.

You can follow Manisha via her twitter feed which is 


  1. "Very insightful...must be interesting going from coaching kids to adults.."

    (The League Magazine)

  2. "Nicely thought out piece. I look forward to seeing more of your writing"

    (Robbie George, PE teacher & Sports Coach)

  3. "Love it! I have passed it on...."

    (Lee Merricks, UEFA A License coach, Como Soccer Academy, Toronto)

  4. "Just read the article. You have a book or three in you and a lecture series! Congrats!"

    (Joy Francis, Fair Share Brent & Founder of Words of Colour)

  5. "I came across your piece on teaching and coaching..its great!"

    (Jim Dees, Deputy Headteacher, Brent)

  6. "I have just been shown a piece on Manisha Tailor who is mixing education with coaching...a very interesting read"

    (David Hunt, Crawley Town FC)

  7. "It is a great article on management n general. Good tips for anyone in sport of business"

    (Emily, Media)

  8. "A very interesting read indeed"

    (Leon Mann, BBC Sports journalist)

  9. "An interesting read, passed on from Leon Mann"

    (David James, Former England GK now at AFC Bournemouth)

  10. "Good stuff, I like your adaptation and application of the Every Child Matters agenda. Keep up the great work as our children and young people need you..and more people like you.."

    (Shaun Campbell, Arthur Wharton Foundation)

  11. "The article is brilliant in execution as it clearly explains the transfer between teachers and coaches"

    (Gobinder Gill, Sports and Exercise Lecturer, Birmingham)

  12. "Really enjoyed reading the feature on teaching and coaching"

    (Ikram Bhutt, former English professional rugby league player & founder of British Asian Rugby Association)

  13. "Really good and informative"

    (Suz Member, professional boxer, Lancs)

  14. "It was really good. Very well written and easy to understand. Suddenly feeling the urge to go kick a ball again!"

    (Bobbie Chahal, Soccer AM)

  15. A really good read. Very thoughtful and definitely got me thinking about things I could introduce myself.

    Rich Williams (Retford United FC U19 Coach)
    via twitter

  16. "Loving this piece from Manisha, doing a lot of great stuff in the game in and around football. If you like football its worth a read."

    (Pitch Talk - Football YouTube Channel)

  17. "Manisha is a role model for Asian women wanting to pursue careers in football.. great stuff"

    Raj Sahota

  18. "Totally agree, it is where kids are shaped into people who are fearless, creative and resilient. How impoRtant is that!"

    Peter Sturgess
    (England Futsal Head Coach)

  19. Dear Mark,

    To be honest, I am really overwhelmed and didn't anticipate so many people reading it. But, having said that I am so pleased that it has been well received by people inside and outside of football. Both football and education mean a lot to me, and it was important for me to get across the message that both are interchangeable and imperative if we are to develop well-rounded players. In this case, I am pleased that it has had some impact on how people perceive both football and coaching, and I hope that it is now thought upon as a powerful mechanism for educating life long learners.

    Manisha Tailor
    Teacher, Women's Footballer, Coach, Author.

  20. "What a great read!"

    Asians UK
    (via twitter)

  21. "Great article, no doubt many teachers and coaches can identify with your approach. We've posted it up on our face book page!"

    Teachers Who Coach

  22. "Really liked the article!"

    Kalam Mooniaruck, FA Tesco Skills Manager, Cambridge
    via email

  23. "Thanks, that was brilliant. as Manisha knows its all about designing and delivering a scheme of work that's fun. Has clear objectives and encourages enthusiasm, imagination and enjoyment of the game. And...shes a Gooner!!"

    Tony Grewcock, Football coach)

  24. "Keep up the great work - fascinating stuff!"

    Jose Figueira
    (Football coach)