iCoachKids: Innovative Education & Training for a Specialist Children & Youth Coaching Workforce.

Coaching Spotlight - Raul Gonzalez: “The coach that can manage people, not players, will be successful”

Spain and Real Madrid Legend, Raúl González caught up with iCoachKids last summer during the fast-track coaching course run by the Spanish Football Federation for former professional players. The current Real Madrid U16 B Manager spills the beans on his experiences as a young prospect, life at the top, the future of youth sport, children’s coaching and his transition from player to coach.

On his coaches as a child:

“Anything my coach said was practically as important, if not more, than anything my parents said”

“It was very important for me to see my coaches trusted and encouraged me”

“I learned from coaches, teammates and opponents. I just tried to be a sponge and take the best from everyone”

“I remember the human part, that they cared about me, that they listened, that they gave me great advice”

“You often have more treasured memories from the coaches you had growing up than the professionals. You know, that coach that when you hear his name, a smile comes to your face”

On emotions:

“Children should be able to show emotion and to talk about it. There is no need to wear an armour”

“We are all people in the end, and the coach that can manage people will be successful, not the one that one that only manages players”

On the added value of sport:

“Sport can give you many things beyond sport: respect, fair play, teamwork, camaradery, humility, it’s endless. It teaches you many things we should value more than winning”

“Not every child will be a professional footballer, but they all should learn from these experiences and take them into life after sport”

On coaching kids:

 “You have to reinforce everything they do well and have empathy, understand each and every one of them”

“Mistakes are part of the game, and to make a child feel guilty because they make a mistake just doesn’t make sense”

“From an early age we have to help them make decisions, and even if they get it wrong, then analyse it so they keep learning”

“In my opinion, there should be dedicated children’s coaches that do different courses and specialist training”

“Children need time to grow and develop. We cannot expect the same things from all of them. A 10 year old and a 16 year old are completely different”

On becoming a coach:

“Being a player and a coach are totally different. The day to day of being a coach is much harder than being a player”

“Thinking about all the things that go into coaching is difficult, all the organising, managing the whole group, making them believe in what you are trying to do. Not easy, I get goose bumps just thinking about it!”

“To be a good coach you need imagination and be able to keep players motivated every day”


Sergio has coached basketball and multi-skills for over 20 years at community, professional and international level. He is a Reader in Sport Coaching at Leeds Beckett University in England and at the International Council for Coaching Excellence. Over the last ten years Sergio has developed numerous resources to support youth coaches and consulted all over the world including the USA, Japan, South Africa, The Philippines, India and all over Europe. His research interests are youth sport and high performance coach development. He is the Project Coordinator for iCoachKids, a gig he reckons is the best in the world! You can follow Sergio at @SergioLaraUK