Transitioning from playing a sport to coaching is not easy. Some people do it well, just look at what Pep Guardiola did with Barcelona at the Camp Nou, for example. He did inherit a great team of players to work with, including the legendary Lionel Messi, but he took to it like a duck to water.
All too often though, players think they can make the transition with no issues, especially when they are leaders on the field. It doesn’t always work out that way.
Sports associations often demand that former players take their coaching courses, even if they have had a glittering career. They often come up short when they have to cope with tactics, rotation and man management skills.
One of the first examples that comes to mind is Bryan Robson, of England and Manchester United fame. He was a brilliant player and a brilliant team captain, but he struggled when pitched into coaching and management. What he failed to realize when he took over at Middlesbrough, was that his on pitch leadership skills did not necessarily translate into coaching and management skills. So much so, that he had to enlist the help of former England manager Terry Venables to stave off relegation. He eventually bowed out and after a stint at West Bromwich, he disappeared. The same happened to Paul Ince, another Manchester United legend. He too was an on pitch general, but he couldn’t quite translate that into managerial form.
Gareth Southgate, who was promoted from playing ranks to management at Middlesbrough – a Premiership team – was roundly scolded by the Football Association for not having the necessary qualifications. He was eventually dismissed, having not performed too well. He subsequently got his badges and has since become the under 21 coach for England and has appeared better for it.
You must study to become a coach: just because you were good at sports, it does not mean you are good at managing people in sports.