Last week, Steven Gerrard and the Glasgow Rangers won their 55th league title, interrupting the 9-year winning streak of city rival Celtic.
The coach led his team unbeaten to the title and developed his coaching skills away from huge media attention. Besides his great achievements on the field, Steven Gerrard is committed to leadership and founded the Steven Gerard Academy in 2011, an institution that combines football, education and social responsibility.
We spoke with the academy’s International Football Lead, Chris Anderson, who told us more about the academy and how they use coachbetter for talent development, performance tracking and communication.
CB: What does the Steven Gerrard academy stand for?
CA: Our mission says, “achieving excellence together”, and that is exactly what the academy strives for by delivering an outstanding experience. We offer young players a great chance to develop in football but also provide them a solid education, academically and socially, to become great, well-rounded people after their time at the academy. We are always happy if we see our players proceeding careers with sport scholarships in the United States or in the semi-pro environment (for example Paul Mullin signed with Cambridge FC), but our main goal is to deliver the unique experience.
CB: How is the influence and involvement of Steven Gerrard on the academy?
CA: “Obsessed to be the best” – this is Steven Gerrard and that is what he represents. Of course, our academy lives with the same spirit. Steven is an icon of the city of Liverpool, an icon of the country and he loves to have people coming to Liverpool. He has a great interest in players development and wants to ensure a great experience for everyone in the academy.
He follows our activities and is really involved, either via personal meetings, social media or calls with all participants. The last call we organised, Steven spoke to more than 1000 young players and the inspiration and pride could be felt in the online environment. That was a great moment.
CB: As International Football Lead, what are your tasks and why did you join the academy?
CA: I joined the academy to work with young, talented players, who love football, want to play and be educated. At the same time, I wanted to develop myself and work with coaches that have great knowledge and experience and played themselves. With this combination, I aim at giving them an unforgettable experience and make them better players and better people.
My specific tasks as International Football lead is to recruit young and talented players from all over the world and give them a second home and family here in Liverpool. The personal relationship to the players is key in our academy. Of course, my tasks also include building relationships and the establishment of a strong international network.
CB: Why and how do you use coachbetter?
CA: We really use coachbetter in many ways. It is a great holistic tool. Our Director of Football uses the tool especially for tracking and comparing the players and the progress they make. We have 8 teams in the academy, and it is impossible to attend all games, but thanks to coachbetter, we are always well aware of the situation of each team, each coach and each player.
Our coaches use the tool especially for session planning and the individual feedback with our players. With the tool, they can really go into in-depth analysis showing reports and video sequences directly in their profile. This really helps to close the gap between the self-perception of the players compared to the statistics. It helps the players to understand where they are and where we want them to be.
Our staff uses coachbetter internally for efficient communication by sending training sessions, correspondence, drill ideas directly from the platform to each other. We have all information at one place.