An advantage to coaching in a new country is learning the different ways they do things there. That also applies to the places you visit.

Different leagues, different rules

For example, when I coached in Sweden my Svedala team played at Holte in Denmark (outskirts of Copenhagen). The attendance was shockingly low. Just 16 people, and four of them were our supporters who drove over for the match (just about an hour away). After the match we had a conversation while waiting for the players to shower, etc. Our team manager told me the Danish teams work in a different type of system from the Swedish ones. Their local communities very heavily support the clubs. I don’t know what that means in terms of money, but Holte had 3 or 4 people on the bench, including a stat guy (commonly called a scoutman in Europe). We were just two.

Community support

What I find interesting is that although there’s big community funding, there’s no restriction on the number of foreign players allowed in the team. In Sweden we could play three. Holte had at least 5 – two from the US, two from Canada, and one from Scotland.

In Svedala we also had community support, but as I understand it, not quite to the same degree. One thing we did get is free use of the sport hall – at least for training. There was a wrinkle to that, though. We only got it so long as none of the players was over 25. If any were, then we had to pay 175 Swedish kronor (about $20) per hour.

I definitely know of situations in other places where free/cheap gym time is tied in with age group or geographic considerations. For example, a high school gym is available for free for Juniors training so long as at least 50% of the players are from that town.

Other factors

Thinking a bit more broadly, in England there was in my time there a big general national level push for younger people (basically up through university ages) to be more physically active. That’s resulted in a lot of support for sports programs targeted at those age groups.

Interestingly, in Sweden there are major tax considerations which impact on the players clubs are incentivized to bring in. People over 25 pay a significantly higher tax rate than do younger ones. That directly factors into club budgets.

These sorts of higher level considerations are important to know. They can be a big factor in the general context in which certain types of policies and systems operate.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently Technical Director for Charleston Academy. His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

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