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What Makes Great Coaches Great – The Story of Graham Potter and Rob Clark

That’s not a quote about Rob Clark, but by Rob Clark about the current head coach of Brighton, Graham Potter, and in the case of Rob, his former coach. But if we were to make a quote about Rob, “working with people as human beings” is what we would say.

Rob Clark? At the time of wrtiting, he’s the U19 Coach of Piteå IF Dam. Rob himself also features in our North of Sweden edition of Football is Everywhere, which is shipping now (until we sell out) and which you can order below to read Rob’s full football story.

Rob Clark first came to Sweden as part of the LFE program. The LFE is a program that allows you to go abroad to play football for 3 months, while covering your expenses. As Graham Potter was to leave to Sweden to become the head coach of the division 2 Östersund, he asked Rob if he would want to try out coming to Sweden.

That 3 months then turned into a 2-year contract, and many years later, Rob is still in Sweden, although now a coach, but that’s exactly why we wrote this short piece. As a guide to coaches.

This Football Trait Will Separate You From Others

“Obviously I had problems moving away from England. He looked after me, he did that with a lot of the English guys that were there at the time.”

Perhaps you are a football coach that wants to get ahead of the others or that wants to take their team to the next step next season.

Focus on the Human Side

One of the things that Rob Clark learned from Graham Potter was how important the relationship with the player is.

“My coaches, all they did was scream at me. They would stop the session every single session just on me. ‘Why should you be passing the ball there?!? You are not doing this!!!’ So I’m thinking that these coaches absolutely hate me and I’ve got no chance getting a contract. They did it in a way that didn’t suit me. It worked but it didn’t suit me. It affected me at night.”

That’s why Rob Found the coaching of Graham Potter so influential.

“When we are training we are training, we’re giving everything. But when it’s done, we want to build the relationship because if the players don’t like you as a person, they aren’t going to give everything for you. I did that as a player too if I didn’t like the manger. I wouldn’t take that run. I wouldn’t probably listen to that tactical information. But if you know the manager is there for you. And that he believes in you, then it can help a lot.”

The lesson? If a player believes in and considers you as a guide, you will get out of them what otherwise simply would not be accessible.

“He [Potter] was there anytime of the day. And that’s what I’ve tried to do.”

Today Rob finds himself being there for the players as a guide, stating that his doors are always open for the players to talk, and stating that a lot of girls do call him to talk about problems they don’t feel comfortable speaking about with anyone.

This small story is simply a combination of a few small extracts we took out of out Football is Everywhere North of Sweden edition magazine, with this story being aroung the team of Piteå. To read the full story, including Rob’s football story from England to Sweden, along with the story of the Piteå’s women’s team who against all the odds won the Swedish Damallsvenskan in 2018.

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