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ACADEMY: Introducing Rob Williams

26 September 2019

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Shrewsbury Town's Academy have appointed Rob Williams as their new Head of Academy Coach Development.

The position has been vacant since Dan Copnall moved to work in the Premier League. Rob has been doing a similar Head of Coaching role at Walsall FC and brings a wealth of experience with him.

Rob has been in the job for a couple of weeks and has been busy getting to see how things work at Shrewsbury Town and seeing how he can support the Academy coaches.

"I've been in the post for a couple of weeks now and have joined as Head of Academy Coach Development, having done exactly the same role at Walsall for the last two years", said Rob.

"This was a really fantastic opportunity to come to Shrewsbury, a well-resourced club and a job that will help me develop.

"The role is Premier League funded, and our job is to primarily to support staff within the Academy whether that be newly qualified coaches or experienced coaches.

"Both of those may need different types of support depending on where they are in their journey, but the role is predominantly about how I can support the coaches.

"The theory is that the better the coaches we have then, the better the players we can bring through the academy."

The Shrewsbury Town Academy has coaches working with players from U7s right up to the U18s. Rob's role is to help support and develop the coaches to help them improve.

"The role is very much about embedding the philosophy and the model that the Academy works to", said Rob.

"The coaches are working in a structured manner, working around the same principles and themes, but the support can be tailored because what one coach needs might be different from what another needs.

"I'm in the process at the moment of meeting with coaches and seeing where they are at, seeing what they think they need and how we are going to put that into place to support them."

David Longwell has been in the role of Academy Manager for since early February. He has been looking at ways of continuing the improvement of the Academy and Rob believes his role will help David achieve that.

"David is very driven and has a clear idea of what he wants and how he wants the Academy to look", said Rob.

"That in itself has brought about a lot of change since he's been in the post.

"My job is also to support David and make sure those changes are happening.

"It's a challenge for him and with Dan moving on from this position a while ago, and now with me joining I feel that will give him the ability offload some thins to me so he can get back to focusing on the bigger picture."

Another of Rob's aims is to continue to improve the relationship between the Academy and Grassroots coaches in Shropshire. The link between the club and these coaches is vital, and Rob is looking to help these coaches develop as well.

"I think there is a real opportunity or us on how we link and support with grassroots coaches", said Rob.

"They are our lifeblood as that is where the players come from, they are the coaches who do the first work on players who may come to work with us in the Academy.

"The more we can support them will help us break down some barriers to help players come, but also help us to recruit new coaches.

"The challenge is to build those relationships and work with coaches, whether than be them coming to observe what we are doing or us doing workshops to help them at their clubs.

"Hopefully it will mean that in a year we will have a succession plan should coaches move then we have got other coaches who can potentially come into the programme and take on those opportunities."

The first Coach Development Workshop will take place on Tuesday 22nd October at the Shrewsbury Sports Village. The event starts at 6:30 pm and runs until 7:45 pm, contact to book or for more information.


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