Youth Development Phase Lead Coach, Matt Whitehouse, discusses his role at the Academy, as he begins his doctorate.
Matt, who joined the Academy just under four years ago, has taken the role of leading the output for the Under-16s to Under-13s age groups.
During his time at the club, Matt has gone on to coach the likes of Ryan Howley, who have gone on to make first team appearances.
Now, Whitehouse is looking to continue to improve the coaching for the Academy, as he begins his doctorate to continue to develop.
The YD Phase Coach sat down with us and explained his role at the Academy…
An introduction to Matt…
“I am Youth Development Phase Lead. I oversee the under-13s to under-16s and I am mainly with the under-15s and under-16s and leading those groups.
“I take the games and sessions and work with the players and oversee the program as a whole and making sure the structure of the sessions are in line and working with the coaches and players in that.”
Matt’s experiences so far…
“I’ve been at various academies in my career. I left the role of Academy Manager at Chesterfield before I came to Coventry.
“I was looking to get back into coaching and then this role came up, which was great for me to get back out on the grass and work with the players, because that’s where my passion is, getting the most out of their development and taking real ownership on that side.
“I see myself as a coach and someone who works with the players predominantly and that’s what I’ve really enjoyed.
“I’ve been here three-and-a-half years now and had a real impact and influence and it’s great to see some of the players coming through the system and doing really well.”
Why Matt beginning a doctorate is important…
“Ultimately, I’m here to try and get the best out of our players. So, if this doctorate can help that and the program can help improve the players we’ve got, then that’s fantastic, because we want to get the best out of the players that we have and want to put on the best programs for them.
“This doctorate will allow us to evaluate it throughout the year and see how we can improve it, instead of saying ‘this is what we have got from day one’, we’re going to continue it on and continually reflect and review it to improve it.
“We’re going to talk to the staff and the players and see how we can do that, so by the end of the 12-month intervention, we should have a program that we’re really pleased with, that we know we’re getting the maximum out of it.
“We want to get the players as ready as they can for that scholarship and professional game as possible. So, we want them to have a strong skill set and understanding of their role and hopefully this program can do that.”
How the Under-16s season has gone…
“It’s been a really good season in truth. Our under-16s have had a great season. We’ve done really well in games. It’s not so much about results, because the performances have been really positive.
“We’ve been able to get nine scholars out of the group we had, and we’ve added a couple of other players from outside.
“We feel like we have a really strong group to go into the under-17s next year and we think it will really help the group who have just gone through from last year.
“Last year there were eleven players from under-16s who pushed on, so we’ve got a real core group of players who have come through our program.
“They understand the culture and values and are of a top level.”
And the Under-15s…
“The under-15s have done really well. They came top of their qualifier group which was hosted here (Alan Higgs Centre) and we’ve been in the Premier League Cup and we’ve had Arsenal, Norwich and Watford and we’ve competed strongly.
“We’ve won a few games and we’ve had a couple of defeats, but we’ve been brilliant in regards to how the lads have applied themselves to Category One opposition.
“They’ve learned a lot and they’ve had some great experiences that they can look back on and learn from.”