Southampton WFC appoint new Head of Coach Development

Chris Hicks (R) and Dan Piper (L)

Southampton Women’s FC have announced the appointment of Chris Hicks as their new Head of Coach Development, writes Ethan Evans.

Hicks will oversee the development of all the promising coaches at the club and will be tasked with unearthing the potential that every coach at the club has within them. He will also be tasked with ensuring a similar coaching philosophy and play style throughout all age groups.

Chris brings along his passion for both coaching and coach mentoring. He currently coaches U17 and university sides as well as being involved in local league management.

The new position will allow him to take a step back and reflect on the overall direction of the club and how he can use his skills to pull everything together and really improve the set up at Southampton Women’s FC.

The club’s FA-appointed coach mentor, Daniel Piper, mentioned that he ‘can’t wait to work’ with Hicks and has labelled the appointment as ‘integral’ to the club. Piper also says that he’s looking forward to developing coaches alongside him.

Goalmouth action from the local derby with Southampton Saints.

Here are some Q&A from Hicks’ interview with the club’s Media Team:

What attracted you to Southampton Women’s Football Club?

I was immediately attracted to the club after going to a few games of the Development, Reserves and the First team. Especially after talking to a few of the spectators, coaches and Amanda [Burroughs], there is clear passion top to bottom to give players the best long-term development they can throughout all age groups. The club are in line with one of my key values in developing players to become the best they can possibly be. I was also attracted to the club through their focus on developing the coaches by embedding them in the club’s values, philosophy and playing styles throughout all age groups and it’s a perfect fit for my development.

What experiences do you bring to the club in terms of aligning playing philosophy and coaching style?

The club will have a playing philosophy for the players across all the age groups. Linking this to our core values, the FA 4 Corner Model will see the coaches aligning their skills, creativity and ownership of the philosophy to the development of the players. This should see players progress from the entry level to the first team.

How important is the development of grassroots coaches as well as players?

If we develop our coaches at grassroots to be the best they can be, we give the players at grassroots a bigger opportunity to play at a higher quality and level. We, as coaches, teach important life skills used in football that can be used in every aspect of life such as education. Coaches are and have always been so much more. We are role models.

What do you hope to achieve during your time at the club?

I just want to develop the coaches to be the best they can be and understand the effect that they have on players in and out of football in their long-term development plan.

What can you learn from this experience?

Loads! We are always learning as coaches and the observation of my peers will make me a better coach myself. By being exposed to different styles, techniques and interpersonal skills will help me develop my own skills as a coach and hopefully a coach educator later in life.

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