Sowing the Seed
It all started in the kitchen of our home in Ambleside in the English Lake District over 30 years ago. Three football mad sons of an equally football mad Dad - who happened to be a decent player - were regularly treated to exhibitions of ball control and skill. We were challenged to emulate what our Dad could do; balancing the ball on our head, catching it with either foot or flicking it into the air from between our shoulder blades. The seed was sown and a genuine lifelong passion for football was sparked into life.
Great Minds Think Alike
Wind the clock forward 25 years and the passion for the beautiful game is undiminished. Chris got closest to being the footballer we all dreamed of as kids and actually served as an apprentice at Carlisle United FC before injury prematurely ended his career. However, he had subsequently managed to forge a career in Sports technology. This led to a chance meeting with Les Reed and the pathway for developing The Coaching Manual started to materialise.
The Plans Take Root
In mid 2010 Les Reed joined Southampton Football Club as the head of football development and the conversations about creating a digital coaching tool which would allow all coaches to get under the skin of the coaching process started to gather pace. The concept was developed throughout the year and Southampton Football Club came on board as the coaching partner.
The Coaching Manual goes 'Live'
In early 2011, we were able to create and launch the first version of The Coaching Manual, which was launched at Grassroots Football Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. We formed content partnerships with EA Sports to create and promote skills videos with some of their pro footballer assets.
Growth and a new Platform
The platform began to grow and we recruited in-house staff. We also created our first technology partnership with TactX to provide our users with a session planning tool. Our growth in credibility led to our first major partnership with the English Schools' Football Association and a push into Primary and Secondary schools in the Autumn term.
Partners and PR
We implemented our first version of 'Freemium' users. A partnership with Puma was launched, which allowed us to create and share skills content with some of their UK based ambassadors. A launch of the ESFA partnership was achieved in the Spring.
A Proper Business
Agreements were completed with the NSCAA and Massachusetts Youth Soccer association in early 2014. The Coaching Manual opened its head office in the centre of Manchester.
A redevelopment of the site was started in early 2015. In mid 2015 we also started to film and edit more coaching content and individual skills content. A new vision was set out for The Coaching Manual from 2016 onwards. Marketing and customer service staff were added to The Coaching Manual's team.
The Coaching Manual Hits its Stride
The new re-designed The Coaching Manual was launched in early 2016, with a host of new features and a completely re-purposed customer experience. More new staff were added and feature development was accelerated.
2017 and Onwards?
Coaching Tools to Help Everyone get Better at Football
From the beginning of our journey with The Coaching Manual we have always firmly believed that great coaching for young players should not be dependant on players ability or where they live in the world. It's why we set out to show coaches and players everywhere, what great coaching looks like and sounds like. As we continue, we will always endeavour to ensure that we create innovative tools, great content and a superb platform to help coaches, teams and players - everywhere in the world - get better at football.