There are many roles that coaches play in the development of footballers and there are a fair few qualities that coaches need to be successful. But there are some attributes that truly separate the best from the rest, and one such attribute is eloquence.

The ability to pick the right words, say them in the right way, deliver them at the right time, and, most importantly, to the right people sets a coach apart. There are times when players need a bit of tough lovin’, others when we need to go easy on the lads and still others when they need a bit of fun! Knowing what to say, when to say it, how to say it and whom to say it to makes all the difference.

One man who was capably eloquent was Sir Alex Ferguson. There’s a brilliant story that popped up on Reddit about how the great man, during his time at Aberdeen FC, disciplined the squad in a way that only he could.


During Aberdeen’s preseason trip to Benidorm, a couple of players sharing an idle moment thought it would be ‘fun’ to drop a football from their hotel room and see how far it would bounce back up. *slow clap for the lads* As luck had it, Neale Cooper and John Hewitt who embarked on this wonderful plan, dropped the ball only to see it hit the edge of the hotel swimming pool and fly high over the fence. Worse still for them, Sir Alex and his assistant, Archie Knox, who had been sitting by the pool unnoticed, witnessed the entire episode!

When the players received their payslips at the end of the week, every player had been docked 3 pounds without warning, a tidy sum at the time, mind – along with this little treasure written by the Master himself:

And there you have it. News of a fine delivered to the players, without warning. Yet, not a single player would grudge the man because of the way he went about it. Glorious!

As you can see, eloquence enables coaches to drive the message home in the best possible way and evoke the response that they want from players. Dealing with children at a grassroots level needs even more care than dealing with adults. So it’s important for us to develop this invaluable quality of eloquence that equips us to handle the delicate situations, which we will inevitably face during our careers, better.

Three words to sum up this post – What. A. Man.