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Shelley Kerr – Football Philosophy

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Football Philosophy

Featuring Scotland Women’s Team Head Coach, Shelley Kerr

Shelley Kerr has been the Head of Women’s Performance Coaching and National Team Head Coach for the Scotland Women’s Team since September 2017. The team have enjoyed historic success in reaching their first ever Women’s World Cup in France 2019, recording record attendances at home games (18,000 at Hampden Park, Glasgow) and progressing up the FIFA and UEFA World Rankings.

This success, as Shelley describes, has only formed part of her journey as her own personal philosophy on the game has evolved over decades of time spent playing, coaching and working both within and outside of the game.

“I think I have a duty to allow my players to play the game in a way that entertains”

Shelley is a UEFA Pro Licence holder and spent time managing in the 5th tier of the Scottish Men’s leagues with Stirling University as well as a successful period as manager of Arsenal FCs women’s team. How that statement of ‘entertaining’ soccer translates practically into action is a complex area. Shelley spends time on the components of that ‘philosophy’ such as a blueprint for National Team Development and counts benchmarking as a vital indicator of standards both qualitative and quantitative:

“If you are going to be able to mix it with the best female players in the world, you need to know what they are doing, how well they are doing it, and is it a trend. This may not be how your own team will play, but it is your responsibility to give your players the knowledge and understanding of what the opposition is doing, and provide a plan for success in our environment.”

Shelley took time to speak about the reflection process on her own performance and how the outcomes reflected these benchmarks too:

  • Performance and Result
  • Team and Staff Selection and Analysis
  • Game Plan and Tactics
  • Logistics
  • Learning Objectives
  • Learning Outcomes

Understanding this process and how it relates to the environment you create as a coach as well as the global trends was crucial for her in understanding the translation of philosophy in action relative to each individual scenario.

The session with Shelley was interesting to hear the approach to National Team management and coaches should take various lessons away relevant to their own environment. Everyone can have the perfect image of how their team wants to play, however if you don’t have the personnel to achieve that ‘style’, then knowing what you can do is imperative. 

As a youth club providing opportunities for participation, development and excellence, we must be very cognizant of the fine balance between imparting our own thoughts and personalities of player development along with a consistent and well supported Long Term Player Development model. Giving our players the best platform and foundation to learn and develop is a top priority and ensuring we don’t sacrifice that responsibility to fulfill our own ideologies as a coach is undisputable.