Marc Campbell – Wolves Assistant Academy ManagerDalton Harris
go Always learn from any negatives or setbacks that you may have had, sometimes something better is waiting just around the corner
Marc, could you tell us about yourself?
“I have been involved in football since a very young age playing grassroots and schools football etc. At the age of 18 whilst starting to study for my degree at the University of Birmingham I began to volunteer as a football coach, initially in a local primary school and then for a local grassroots team. This ignited my passion for coaching (my mom is from a teaching background so perhaps working with kids was always ingrained in me somewhere). I then began to do part time coaching work as well as studying, I believe this is really where I got my foundations for becoming a good coach. I would seriously recommend any aspiring coach to work in grassroots and schools when possible to give them a broad range of dealing with a variety of players/abilities/personalities”.
“At 21 I joined Wolves Community Trust as a part time coach and progressed quickly to a full time role. Alongside this I also coached district and county teams, and also a Youth team in the West Midlands floodlit league”.
“At 24 I joined the Wolves Academy, initially as a part time coach and then progressed to a full time role as technical development officer 8-12’s (modern day foundation phase lead). 9 years on I am the Assistant Academy Manager, with the responsibility of developing the coaching curriculum for our younger players but also working closely with the coaching staff and players to develop them into well-rounded young men”.
“I currently lead the under 15’s and support the u16’s, also working a lot with Foundation Phase players with experience of working with our u18’s. I am fortunate to have a great team of staff around me from Pre-academy up to u23’s and first team which clearly helps the progression of players through the football club into the first team.
“We have recently been again given Category one status, which is great recognition for everyone’s hard work at the football club, from coaches to players, to education and recruitment officers also the other backroom staff that help make the academy as successful as it has been”.
We also asked Marc what his favourite and hardest part of the job?
Favourite part of the job: “Definitely seeing player’s progress from under 7/8’s into our u18’s and our first team. Players like Niall Ennis and Morgan Gibbs-White that I remember from a very early age, developing into players that are now in and around our first team is a great achievement for everyone involved at the club and for the players themselves”.
Hardest part: “Tough one…… Possibly balancing my coaching (on the grass) time with the other aspects of my role. It’s important that I still get my coaching ‘fix’ as that’s where I am happiest, but I understand the importance of my role when I’m not with the players”.
In your opinion what areas are most important in a player for them to progress?
“Creativity is a massive value that I think players should have and I believe that its our responsibility as coaches to encourage this as much as we can. The environment that we create has to allow them to be creative and not let them be fearful of making mistakes, for me the very best players in the world are the ones that are creative and have had the opportunity to thrive.
I also think that dedication and intelligence are important as well, players need to understand that to be successful (on or off the pitch) they need to work hard and have some aspects of brightness and intelligence”.
How would you recommend a young player to improve these areas?
“Ask questions of your coaches”!!
“We coaches work hard at creating practices that will help develop players and we try our best to cater for all types of learning styles, but if players don’t understand something- don’t be afraid to ask”.
“I would also say that to improve in these areas, you have to enjoy the game…. It’s important that players love football and have a passion to be exciting and to work hard at developing their strengths as well as the areas that they are not so good at”.
Who’s the best player you’ve coached?
“Another tough question… Morgan (Gibbs-White) and Niall (Ennis) are definitely up there. I coached Zeli Ismail once or twice, he’s now at Bury but what an amazing talent and always exciting when he’s on the ball”.
What is Wolves philosophy on developing players?
“We like our players to develop themselves based on the WOLVES way. They must Work Hard, be Organised (on and off the pitch), show Leadership qualities, have personal Values that are important to themselves, be well Educated and ultimately that should bring Success”.
How can a young player be scouted into the Wolves set-up?
“We have a team of local and national scouts that are always looking for the best players that will fit into our Wolves philosophy”.
“Best thing to do is make sure you are playing football and enjoying it as much as you can- the scouts will always be at local games and district games etc and its surprising how quickly we hear about players that are playing well”.
“Another bit of advice, always learn from any negatives or setbacks that you may have had, sometimes something better is waiting just around the corner”.
What facilities do you have at Wolves and what technology/sports performance are provided for the players?
“The facilities at Wolves are amazing and up there with some of the best in the country. We have full size indoor and outdoor astro’s and a state of the art gym for our academy players, education suites and everything that players will need to develop them holistically into become a professional”.
“We have a strong sports science team that work with specific phases and it’s their job to develop them physically so they are ready for their next phase of development (for example our team will work with the very young players on their movements, jumps, rolling with lots of evasion games and fun at least twice a week- we have even built Karate into our multi-sports programme”).
“Our older players will do more strength and conditioning work depending on where they are at physically (we know that each player is different so our team work hard to make sure that individuals get exactly what they need”).
“All this coupled with GPS and heart rate monitors for the boys, video analysis and stats for players post-match really allows us coaches to interact with players and cater for their development”.
From your experience, what words of advice do you have for young players hoping to be scouted?
“Work hard, enjoy your football, don’t get disappointed with setbacks” (It’s not where you are at now, its where you finish!!!)
Anything else you’d like to add?
“I think it’s important for coaches and players to get as many experiences as they can to give themselves a solid foundation to work and develop from”.
“I see some coaches come into the game and quickly want to get into academy football but I believe that coaching grassroots, schools and district football gave me a massive base to my knowledge that I have now” (once I passed my level 1 at 18 I thought I needed to go straight in and get Academy work).
“I think personally it’s important that I continue to work and develop myself and continue to want to develop and become the best coach/mentor I can be”.