Craig Robinson – NEXT GEN SERIES INTERVIEW by Dylan O’Connell

With four teams under his watch and over one hundred individual clients, Craig Robinson of CR Coaching is a busy man.

The UEFA B Licence and FAI Goalkeeper C License holder is currently Head Coach for the Mayfield United senior team, Park United youth team, and CIT senior men and women teams. He also runs individual coaching sessions for players, as well as match analysis and session plans for clubs all across Cork.

Craig: “I started coaching when I was twelve years old,” Craig told PRO-SCOUT 3, “I first started working with schoolboy teams. When I went to college in CIT I got really interested COACHING. There I got very involved with the women’s team and from that I went on to work with the Cork Gaynor Cup team, COBH RAMBLERS Under 19s and CORK CITY WOMEN’S FC.”

Craig: “I’ve done all the badges up until the UEFA B LICENSE and I have done some FA PSYCHOLOGY courses. The psychology courses were very interesting to me because they allowed me get into the background of a player. I’m a big believer in having a good relationship with a player and to have them enjoy being coached. Psychology is very important for this.”

Craig: “I’m constantly LEARNING. I want to pick up something new off of everything. If I am running or walking and see a team playing, I stop and watch. It doesn’t matter what age group is playing. I might learn something new watching them. I always keep my ears open for new ideas to improve as a COACH.”

So far in 2020, Robinson has led Mayfield United to second place in the Munster Senior League First Division and to the quarter finals of the Munster Senior Cup. He also enjoyed success in the FAI Youths Cup, as his Park United side reached the quarter finals. All of these successes are rooted in his COACHING PHILOSOPHY.

Craig: “My PHILOSOPHY is rooted in playing possession based FOOTBALL and having the players enjoy what they are doing. I want to see players comfortable on the ball and playing nice FOOTBALL with good passing and a high tempo to it. If this is done right, the players really enjoy doing it.”

Craig: “I’m a big believer in letting the players make mistakes and learning from them. It allows the player to get comfortable with themselves on the pitch. It is a lot better than roaring the head off a player because that does nothing but hurt their overall development and damage your relationship with them.”

Craig: “A lot of methods like shouting and roaring are old school. Sport psychology is slowly coming onto the scene and it strongly goes against this. Having an understanding of the player’s mindset has allowed me to understand the player and to build a relationship with them. This creates a mutual respect and as a result the players will want to play for you.”

Craig: “Something I love doing is getting a player to set their own goals. By a player having their own goals they will try that little bit harder. It also gives me a very strong understanding of the player’s perspective and outlook on the game.”

Craig: “Some MANAGERS come in and say this is how I want to do it and that is it. Players aren’t being taken into consideration when that happens. You need to build an understanding and relationship with the players. Ultimately it is the players on the pitch who will be playing the game.”

To Robinson, coaching isn’t all about winning league titles and trophies but seeing a player’s own personal development.

Craig: “What I enjoy the most from COACHING is seeing a player’s development. I like seeing a player progress across a season. You can talk about cups and leagues, but to see someone from the first game to the last and really come on in their own personal development is really nice to see.”