Usman Malik, Coach of Luton All-Stars Jaguars Under 10’s: “Winning Luton Town FC Hatters cup 2017/2018 was a huge confidence boost for the boys” Having spent 5 years with the boys, he was fortunate enough to witness their growth on the pitch. Luton all Stars Jaguars recently won the final of the Under 10’s league of Luton Town FC Hatters Cup 2017/2018.
Usman shares with AUK Radio his recent achievement as a coach and the future of the Luton All-Star Jaguars under 10’s
How did you get into coaching?
I’ve always had a passion for football, representing teams and clubs at an amateur and professional level. Due to a serious knee injury, I can no longer actively play football, so to stay engaged I started coaching. A family friend set up All-stars and asked me to coach Jaguars when they were U7’s, it was midway through the season and the team already had 2 coaches leave them, the players were lacking confidence and guidance, I saw this as a challenge to use my practical experience to develop the team.
Who were your mentors?
I’m very self-motivated, you have to be to a degree to coach kids as a volunteer, to commit time to prepare session plans, running training sessions and running match days – watching the players develop is the ultimate reward, working on something in training and seeing the boys implement it on a match day is the best feeling.
You witnessed the boy’s growth from starter to confident under 10’s player. How challenging was it to build up such a team?
I’ve been very lucky, my parents have been hugely engaged, the biggest challenge is making sure the boys are coming to training and match days regularly so that we as coaches can work with them and develop their footballing brains, if a child misses a training session they take a huge backward step in their development. Due to this commitment from the parents, the core of the team has remained the same with players being added to the group as the team went up the age groups. The team has boys at different footballing levels so managing the training sessions and match days to make sure everyone is developing is always a challenge, this has developed me as a coach which I appreciate.
Winning Luton Town FC Hatters Cup 2017/2018 is an incredible experience. How has this influenced you?
Winning the tournament was a great experience for the team, I always knew the team had the ability to win major titles, the challenge has always been to make them believe they can do it! We have been unlucky this season with the league cups, we were in 2 of the 3 cup finals losing both – the boy’s confidence took a huge knock, however, winning the Hatters cup and beating the teams that beat us in the league cup finals on the way was a huge confidence boost.
What’s next for Luton All-Stars Jaguars under 10’s?
The Jaguars will go on, we are currently in the off-season, with pre-season starting in the end of June. Seeing the boys develop under my stewardship has given me the confidence to set up my own club, so I will be coaching at Athletico Luton next season, the aim is to develop as many players as possible, not only in footballing terms but as human beings, molding outstanding members of the community and society with lots of self-belief is the dream – if some of the boys win trophies and medals that’s a bonus. We will be holding trials on 23/06/18 at Lea Manor, we’ll be building teams for all age groups from U6 – U16 – feel free to come on down.
What is your philosophy in developing kids’ football skills?
The number one thing is the kids need to have fun!! All the best players in the world play with a smile on their face! Training enthusiastic kids that are engaged improves their development hugely. Creating training sessions that are fun and game related is the key.