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Life Lessons

Hollywood Coaching

Today we have a guest blogger discussing the subject of motivation. Anthony Hanson is the former director of the English professional soccer club Wolverhampton Wanderers‘ Youth Centre of Excellence. He moved to New Jersey, USA, in 2005, then became head coach of the Montclair Thunderbolts.

Being Coach Hollywood

By Anthony Hanson

I have had the good fortune of coaching soccer in both the United Kingdom and the United States, teaching boys and girls at all different levels, from recreational to professional. The common denominator in everyone, however, is that without inspiration success is non-existent.

The difference comes in how you motivate and inspire certain cultures to success.

In the United Kingdom, youth players have an abundance of professional soccer superstars to look up to. For a young soccer player, the dream of becoming that next superstar is a more effective motivational tool than any coach could be. The coach must merely facilitate that motivation and channel it correctly.

In the United States, however, soccer for most is a means to an end, a way into college or merely a way of keeping fit. Unlike his English youth counterpart, who undoubtedly will keep playing at some level until he is 50 years old, most American youth soccer players will never kick a ball again after college (or maybe after high school).

It is because the youth of America do not have the professional icons to inspire them in soccer that the job of the coach becomes as much about inspiration and motivation as it does about technique and tactics.

Al Pacino in ‘Any Given Sunday;’ Samuel L. Jackson in “Coach Carter” and Denzel Washington in “Remember The Titans” are all movies and roles I have quoted from or used as a basis to create my own locker room talks.


The idealistic American dream, or the “reach for the stars and believe in tomorrow” pep talk, is something that America as a nation grabs hold of with both hands. As a coach in America you would be stupid not use it as a tool for success.

An English coach working in America must understand and learn that you cannot base your teachings on technique and tactics alone like you can in the United Kingdom. Kids in America want to be inspired and they look to you to do it!


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