Why Coaching Is About Mindset, Not Just Technique

Coaches have a responsibility to look after their athletes' mental well-being, not just their physical well-being



When you think about ethical coaching, what values and philosophies do you attach to it? Many coaches will have their own ideas about what it should look like, along with a number of irritations firmly placed under the umbrella of ‘bad coaching practice.’

New coaches often begin filled with a sense of power and authority over the young athletes they are coaching. If there is one thing Spiderman taught us it is that “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

This responsibility doesn’t just apply to the physical aspects of coaching, but emotional well-being too.

Coaching Advice: Challenging the Weakest Link Theory

From Our Resident International Coach, Nick Ruddock

Membership Management Software

There are many things in this life that seem to exist only to annoy us – the proverbial lost sock, never being able to find a pen when you want one and packaging rage (yes, apparently that is a thing)! In the context of coaching, however, nothing upsets us more than coaches talking badly about their students and others they work with. This is especially upsetting when said coach knows nothing of the individual’s personal story and struggles.

Such behaviour can often be seen as insecurity on the part of the coach. Telling other coaches and colleagues about a ‘difficult’ student and discussing why they may be underperforming, somehow makes them feel more comfortable.

The reality is different – all athletes and coaches will have their struggles. Regardless of who we are, we all have a story, we are all facing different challenges on a daily basis, and more importantly, none of us are perfect.

Performance sport is never easy – that’s what makes it so attractive.

Progress Is Relative When It Comes To Coaching

Even the best coaches will have been down this road, feeling these same insecurities and having these same conversations with their peers.

Few will disagree that coaching in a club environment is a steep learning curve. But it is the way you approach it that will help you be the coach that makes a difference – becoming the coach that enjoys sharing in a student’s struggles and helping them overcome them.

Progress should be seen as relative to the ability of the athlete with the end goals set accordingly: international representation may be out of the question but qualifying for national competitions would be achievable.

You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link

How do you determine your weakest link? Most would say it is the pupil with the lowest level of ability, the one deemed to have the least talent for the sport. Yet if we flip this and consider that that person may have overcome significant personal challenges just to train or even compete, then you should consider them your strongest link.

As a coach, your role is to help your pupils achieve their full potential, not for them to fulfil your own coaching aspirations. To make significant progress after overcoming adversity and battling the odds should surely be seen as a triumph.

Being The Best We Know How To Be

It’s a human trait to be the best we know how to be. Whether we are athletes or bricklayers, we are never intentionally bad at what we do. All of us want to improve and progress at some level.

Performances can go disastrously wrong. athletes of all ages and skill levels will find some skills harder to learn than others. This means performances may lack the quality you had hoped for. It is these challenging moments that need to be accepted as part of the journey, not gossiped about behind the scenes with colleagues.

Remember, the quality of the performance is not always a reflection of the quality of your coaching. It IS coaching.

Being a coach means your first priority is to give support to your students through times of adversity, overcome hurdles and deal with the challenges the sport throws their way. This support is key to forming a good relationship.

Not every budding athlete will make it to the Olympics. The sooner coaches accept this, the sooner they will enjoy the process of teaching and the achievements made at all levels. Every pupil will face challenges, it is just part of the journey you go on.


Here at Pay Subs Online, we want to help you succeed with your coaching by spending less time on administration and more time coaching the athletes in your charge. To help you do this, we’ve created a free and incredibly handy PDF on ‘Which Admin Tasks Can Be Done Quicker and Easier Online‘ – to download it for free, click here!

Contributor – Nick Ruddock, Pay Subs Online’s resident coaching expert and ex GB National Coach.

The RFL Parents Handbook

Offering the latest advice on a whole range of important issues.

RFL Parents Handbook

The popularity of Rugby League in the UK continues to soar as more and more people enjoy the modern game. The Super League, of course, is leading the way with competition between clubs getting more intense with each passing season. As a result, the grassroots are getting stronger enabling youngsters to get a feel for the sport at a very young age. In truth, Junior Rugby League is blossoming, paving the way not only for the stars of the future but also for the introduction of vital life skills.

Every well-known club now has a community department, charged with involving people of all ages in a range of fantastic events aimed at bringing individuals together. However, it’s the children who stand to benefit most from the games’ infrastructure. Seeing as we live in a more demanding world where the safety of youngsters is paramount, a special handbook aimed at all parents and guardians has been produced. This handbook covers children and young people playing Club Rugby League at all levels – from Primary to the Academy level upwards.

Successful Wimbledon, Successful Growth in Tennis

How arguably the greatest Tennis Championship in the world helps to promote a growth in Tennis

growth in tennis

It doesn’t matter what initiatives you bring into any level of sport, in any country, there is one thing that will always have a bigger impact than anything that can be put together by governing sporting bodies – the competitions themselves.

Tennis is no different and the LTA has introduced countless initiatives which have seen a rise in participation levels across the board – BUT – there is something which trumps these every year in the growth of tennis. The Wimbledon Championships (especially, when British players perform well and go far in the competition).

So, this year, we have to thank Andy Murray (yet again!) and Johanna Konta for doing so well in this year’s Championships in SW19. The fact that the pair also made history by becoming the first British pair to get through to the Semi-Finals since 1973 was also something which helped to spur on enthusiasm for the sport unsurprisingly.

Updates to our Membership Software, October 2017

Improvements and Optimisation

Whilst you have been working hard to maintain your organisation run’s smoothly, we have been doing the same behind the scenes at Pay Subs Online to add some new swanky features to our membership software (many of which were requested by you and we have delivered!) Here’s what we have added;

Mobile responsive member login pages

You asked for it – you got it!  The members’ online account is now mobile ‘responsive’, making navigation when accessed via a mobile phone more user-friendly.  Here’s how it looks:

Members detail page (this is where they keep their info up-to-date)

Young Lions’ Success

Looking Ahead to a Bright Future

Young Lions' Success

As any long-term England supporter is painfully aware, following the national side in major tournaments is never a pleasurable experience. An inability to make it out the group in Brazil three years ago was followed up by that infamous afternoon in Nice last summer where a nation the size of Cardiff sent us packing. Even the relatively smooth qualification for Russia 2018 was uninspiring – suffice to say, there is an inherent gloom that surrounds the England national football team.

But there shouldn’t be. Despite the unwanted talent of the senior team to stumble from one disaster to the next, England youth teams have dazzled all year. Last night England reached the final of the U17 World Cup in India, beating pre-tournament favourites Brazil 3-1 in the semi-final thanks to the second hattrick in as many matches from Rhian Brewster. Chile, Mexico, Iraq, Japan and the USA have all been dispatched by a bold England side that has averaged three goals a game. They seek revenge in the final on a Spanish team that beat them (on penalties, of course) in the final of the European championships earlier this year in Croatia. England boasted six of the eleven players featured in the ‘Team of the Tournament’ there, along with player of the tournament, Jadon Sancho.

Transforming British Tennis – LTA Grassoots Investment

Is it possible to think of a more aptly named initiative from the Lawn Tennis Association than, ‘Transforming British Tennis Together’? Nope, me neither.

LTA Invests In Grassroots Tennis Facilities

The LTA has announced it will be investing £250 million into grassroots tennis facilities across the country to help grow the sport. How? Well, this level of investment at a grassroots level will make the sport instantly more accessible, dependent on how the money is put to use.

More Tennis Courts, Greater Accessibility

The LTA is going to use the money to increase the number of courts which are both covered and floodlit by 50% – a huge increase. This in itself will make tennis an awful lot more accessible. How many times have you wanted to play tennis, yet the Great British summer doesn’t share your enthusiasm? This will no longer be a worry.

The money will also be invested into refurbishing tennis facilities up and down the country, meaning that courts are first and foremost playable, then nice enough to entice people into wanting to play on them.

This leads to the discussion of one way in which tennis has suffered compared to the accessibility of other sports – they’re much easier to play when you aren’t required to find a court.

However, the LTA has launched a website ‘www.gohitit.com’ which will act as your middleman. Not sure where your local court is? Need the contact number? Need to find out how to get there? It ticks all the boxes, which takes an awful lot of the ‘hassle’ out of it. Much like our club admin management system.

Investment Aims To Get More Children Into Tennis

Making it fundamentally easier to find a court and play tennis is a brilliant place to start – especially as the LTA is specifically aiming to double the number of children playing tennis, and double the number of times ‘infrequent’ adults play too. It’s a bold move, but the level of investment should aid the cause substantially.

The investment itself will be broken down as such: £125million coming straight from the LTA with the other half coming from those community networks who partner with the LTA to deliver on their initiatives, pledges, and aims.

You only have to look at one of the first trial areas, Sheffield, to see the success that Transforming British Tennis Together can bring to the sport. In Sheffield, they have seen a huge increase in participation of 53% since a £1.5 million investment was made across six specific tennis venues across the city.

A Community manager at one of these venues was keen to sing the praises of the initiative, saying, “The improved facilities mean I’ve seen more people playing and interested in taking lessons in our clubs, our parks, and at the university and college. I’ve particularly loved seeing more kids asking to play – and not just in the summer.”

If those results are possible in one city, imagine what this initiative could achieve when rolled out across the country. With any luck, the increase in participation will still be around the 50% mark which has been pinpointed by the LTA. If so, this will mark a massive success and could well lead to a budding future for the sport.


At PaySubsOnline, we realise that nightmarish admin is the bane of many club administrators lives. In order to give you a quick win, we’ve compiled a list of simple Admin Tasks Which Can Be Done Quicker and Easier Online to download for free.

Confidence and Coaching

Creating a positive coaching environment is a great motivator for both coaches and students alike

Confidence and Coaching

Coaches who approach training through military style ‘shout and command’ tactics will quickly find their students demoralised and motivated only by a fear of failure.

Let’s look at this from another perspective.

Imagine sitting in your workplace each day, with your boss shouting at you for the entire day? How long could you last? How long before your motivation wanes and resentment towards your employer builds?

In such an environment it doesn’t take long before your performance levels drop as your self-esteem hits rock bottom. The same is true of the coach/student relationship.

Remember Who You Are Coaching

The big problem here is that the students in your charge are children, not adults. As adults, we are able to express ourselves, communicate discontent and take action to remedy the situation.

Children, however, are not as adept at communicating their feelings. They arrive at each training session with a desire to learn and trust in your coaching methods. They have no flexibility in the training provided and no ability to defend themselves.

Are You Pulling In Opposite Directions?

This kind of ‘yelling and telling’ environment is a slippery slope. The more demands placed on them, the greater the chances they will not want to perform. At this point, a tug-of-war then develops between unhappy children and an aggravated coach.

Within any high performing culture, morale is an important asset – the rapport between coaches and their students must take precedence over the potential rewards.

Rapport Must Come First

Building rapport is easy. Truly, it is. The first thing to remember is that you should treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself. Be courteous and respectful. They are children first, your student, second. This is the secret to long-term morale.

Often coaches become immune to the emotions of their students, developing instead an inferior, sterile form of teaching.

The coach who invests in the emotional well-being of their pupils and takes the time to build a rapport with them will discover they then perform better.

Rapport Building Coaching Tips

Where many coaches come unstuck is in failing to get to know the people they teach. Find out more about them and their life – Do they enjoy school? What did they do last weekend? What are their favourite things?

The most important element in building rapport is trust. Make sure you build it, not break it.

Being approachable and showing empathy will make it easier for your students to share their concerns with you too. Children will not communicate if they feel intimidated or fear consequences.

Show you can cater to the needs of individuals as well as the group, and treat everyone equally. When it comes to giving feedback, make it positive and authentic – they need to feel it is genuine.

The Best Coaches….

Are those who have the best understanding of their pupils. As Tony Robbins said –

“Most teachers know their subject, but they don’t know their students.”

While it may be easier to build rapport with the parents than the children themselves, shifting your focus to the child is essential if you are to develop a deeper understanding of them.

Why? Because this is the only way you can hope to discover what drives them, what motivates them, their inspiration, their goals. More than this, you will learn how to read their emotions, feelings, their body language….

The time you spend developing a great coach/student relationship is an investment. One which will save you time, and make your time coaching much more fulfilling.


In order to be an outstanding coach, you also need time to plan lessons and reflect on your methods. One way to save time is by cutting your boring and time-consuming admin. Luckily for you, our Pay Subs Online software can reduce your admin by 80%. Visit here for a free demo today.

Article by Nick Ruddock, resident Coaching Expert, and Consultant.

Youth Football Futsal

The Football Association and Football Foundation have finally seen the light and launched a £300,000 fund to develop the sport of Futsal in England

Youth Football Futsal

Having attempted to replicate the youth structure commonly found in some of the footballing-great countries dotted around the continent, it’s refreshing to see that the FA have looked at Futsal as a way of improving the sport of football. This isn’t the first time the two governing bodies have looked to invest in Futsal – back in 2013, the Football Association pledged over £150million towards Futsal facilities around the country.

This time though, they are targeting younger participants in the sport. This is brilliant news for Futsal clubs around the country. Unfortunately, it has been a sub-sport of Football which has been looked down on in this country for some years. If it had been properly embraced years ago, we may already have had England internationals with the same level of technique as their continental counterparts. Much like we’ve been clamouring for over a decade.

Futsal is played on an indoor pitch, with both smaller goals and a smaller ball which is less bouncy. This fast-paced five-a-side version of the beautiful game has been played across the world – specifically South America and mainland Europe for years, and as such, is recognised by EUFA and FIFA.

Implementing and pushing Futsal as a sport will help those in the, younger, target area to go on to be better-rounded footballers. It would be foolish to doubt it as a small-balled version of five-a-side football, with many of the world’s past, and, current greats all putting their respective successes down to their learning of the beautiful game…via Futsal.

Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robinho, Neymar, and Hulk are just some of the top players around the globe who all put their success at the top level of football down to Futsal. The game teaches; dealing with the ball in tight spaces, spatial awareness, able to cope with less time on the ball, no breaks in play and making sure players are balanced in terms of both defence and attack.

Futsal clubs will undoubtedly benefit from this and could go on to build a strong position in the sports clubs market across the country. With the help of funding from The Football Association and Football Foundation, hopefully, this can become a reality much quicker.

The £300,000 fund will look to target specifically;

  • Youth Futsal from the age of 14+
  • Female Futsal from the ages of 12 to 18 years old.
  • Youth Futsal Leagues for clubs from U14’s to U18’s.
  • As well as select schools who offer community usage for their facilities.

If you run or coach a Futsal club, you should consider making contact to see if you can benefit from the funding. Furthermore, consider contacting us to see how our Football Club Manager software can help you.

We can provide you with means to cut out the tedious tasks that come with the role. All of those boring admin tasks will be a thing of the past.

Whether you hope to free up more time to spend on the running of the club, or, just to enjoy your life away from the club – it doesn’t matter. If you aren’t convinced already, try it for yourself here with a free trial to see first-hand just how much of a difference it can make.

Charismatic Colebrook Royals

Putting the fun back into football (and it's management!)


Helping to run one of the UK’s leading male and female youth and adult football clubs carrying 32 teams can be quite a challenge. This is why Colebrook Royals Secretary Derringer Clarke is singing the praises of the life-changing PaySubsOnline, Football Management Software.

She told us: “When you have so many teams to manage time really is of the essence, and I can honestly say this software has been a Godsend. There’s no bank now in our immediate area so this not only saves long trips to manage monies, it can also help cut the paperwork down. I’d say it really does save us a lot of time, certainly cutting the job down by at least 50 per cent. There are only three of us on the Committee here, so everyone shares a number of tasks. Being able to rely on such a well-designed system can make all the difference. We are volunteers of course, and life can get very busy here, so being able to streamline our system is great.”

“It’s not about finding future footballers, though we have had a couple of players go on to the professional game. This is a club ready to help young people in terms of creating an environment where life skills and confidence can be taught in safety. It doesn’t matter to us if you aren’t a particularly gifted player. When you play for one of our teams you need to turn up on time, be disciplined, learn how to become a team player and work closely with others. Conduct yourself with respect for others and set a good example to those around you. All of this can be character forming and help those involved lead fulfilling lives.”

The teams range from those involving seven-year-olds right up to nineteen-year-old youth sides and seniors. Given the club was founded in 1997 with just two teams, their achievements are quite extraordinary. As kids playing football we all dreamed of running out at Wembley or playing in a cup final at some point. We fantasised about what it was like to be a professional footballer playing in front of thousands of people. Well, they can certainly live the dream and feel just like professionals given the facilities here. The Grange is a Football Foundation funded facility with drained professional grass playing surfaces, so fewer games are called off in bad conditions. A player’s tunnel provides access to spacious comfortable changing facilities with heated floors and showers. In fact, the ground really does offer a feeling of coming out at The Emirates or The Etihad. In this sense, no wonder everyone feels inspired. Derringer added: “It’s almost like a mini Wembley, and we also have a snack bar serving hot drinks and food on match days. We keep our football subs down as best as we possibly can to make football accessible to everyone no matter what background they come from. We also employ a strict code of conduct for both players, officials and parents. But in truth, the great thing about this club is there’s a real family atmosphere – we are one big family.”

Back in 2015, now Chairman John Eagleton, was presented with a Daily Mirror Pride of Sport Award for his work in youth football. Former Leyton Orient Manager Martin Ling has been a priceless coach here. And yet despite troubles encountered by one of football’s most famous professional clubs, he carries on with his labour of love at Colebrook (another reason why everyone is proud to wear those Royal Blue shirts). The Colebrook football clubs vision is to continue to grow, develop and through sporting opportunities, have a real impact on the young people in their local Essex community.

If you want to follow the success of Colebrook Royals, book a free online demo with PaySubsOnline.com’s football club software.