1footinthegame interview 

See below for a brief interview with Laurie McGinley of 1footinthegame blog 

Name – Michael Beale

Job Title – First Team Coach 

Club – Rangers FC 

Country – Scotland 

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m 38 years old, father of two boys and a football obsessive. I have been coaching professionally for 18 years now and have been extremely fortunate to work across all ages of player development from u6 to adults. In addition, I have been very lucky to travel extensively with my job either as a coach or course presenter.

What are your qualifications?

I value experience over qualifications and would encourage coaches to go out and coach as much as possible with various age groups to master their delivery and communication. Having an experience of coaching abroad either on a temporary basis or via tournaments is also hugely valuable due to seeing new ideas and other cultural styles.

That said, I respect the need for having qualifications in order to open a door and give you a pathway.

Recently – I passed my UEFA pro licence with the Irish FA after originally completing the UEFA A licence in 2005 with the FA of Wales.

What has been your highlight of your coaching career?

I have had many highlights. Working for the team I supported as a boy, Chelsea was huge at the time. Moving to work at Liverpool and becoming u23 coach gave me both a great confidence and also a challenge. Working in Brazil was a dream come true and my current position at Rangers is again, one that I feel extremely privileged to hold.

Highlights have also been seen in experiences within the jobs. The big ones are when a young player makes his debut. On a personal note, playing and winning a São Paulo derby (against Palmeiras and Santos) and the recent old firm derby are huge moments due to the amount of history in the games and the build-up prior to them.

What has been your most challenging and how did you manage to solve it?

I have left different jobs due to needing to challenge myself and push on to the next level. These have been very difficult moments due to the relationships you build and the time/dedication you have given to the job. But at each moment of resigning from Chelsea, Liverpool and São Paulo it was for the right reasoning both to push on to the next level of learning or in the São Paulo case – because the situation I was working in did not sit with my core values as a person.

So, in solving it – it was due to a vision I gave myself as a coach starting out at 20 on what I wanted to achieve and what core values I wanted to work/live by.

Who is your sporting Hero/Influence and why?

In life – my grandfathers, my parents and my wife have had a huge influence on me in regards to my self-belief and the confidence to pursue my career.

In football – I love Johan Cryuff and he is the lighthouse to my football thinking. I also have a huge respect for Carlo Ancellotti. The English coaches that inspire me are Bobby Robson and Terry Venables for working in Europe and being respected outside the UK.

What is your greatest sporting moment and why?

Not the greatest sporting moment, but definitely my best day working in football:

15th February 2017
Santos 1 – 3 São Paulo

The day my family arrived in Brazil after not seeing them for two months and also the day we played at Pele’s old stadium and won 3-1. That was a day I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. It made what I was doing with my life all make sense and worth it.

What advice would you give to coaches who are starting off in the game?

  • Treat each kid like they are your own
  • Teach the game, don’t coach practices
  • Plan sessions you would love to play in
  • Inspire with your personality
  • Be parent friendly
  • Build relationships (show you care).
  • Be positive and smile a lot.

These are simple things but they go a long way

How do you deal with failure in coaching?

I always try to ask myself “was I true to myself and did I make the best decision for the players / club”

If I can answer yes to that, then I am fine.
We are in a game where you are trying to win, more than you draw and draw more than you lose.

But if you are following a process, then you can see you are winning – regardless of a small loss or failure today. So, I try to use failure as feedback and I also see each game as a different problem to solve. So, I don’t dwell on this too much.

How would you define success in your coaching?

The strength of relationships and the independence of the players after they leave you. I think this is the goal of coaching, to make people more independent and to give them a clear identity / self-awareness of what makes them unique.

What is your long-term goal? Coaching and in life?

To manage outside of The UK at some stage of my career. This can be at first team level or as a head of youth. It’s been my goal since I was 20 and it will always be there until I achieve it one day. At this moment, I am not in a rush and I see it as a natural progression for me at some point.

In life – to see my children speak a second language fluently and for them to travel and explore. This for me would be the greatest thing.


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