HELPING players to overcome self-doubt and focus on the positives in their game is one of the main traits set by husband and wife team Conor and Vanessa Meade of.
One-to-one football coaching has become very popular especially during the Covid pandemic period and having seen some of it first hand I have witnessed the rewards players have had from it.
Conor Meade of, based in Cobh, currently coaches many league of Ireland men and women, some of whom also play for the Irish international team.
Word of mouth is always great and that is how I first came upon Meade but having seen him coach and how he deals with each individual, is what draws more players to him and he sessions genuinely make him stand out above the rest.
No two players are the same and therefore no two players are put through the same session.
I enjoyed his approach to teaching kids, in a manner in which I as a coach had not witnessed before.
Admittedly when coaching a team, we wouldn’t have the luxury of working on specifics with each individual player but this is wherecan make a difference and here Meade tells us his plan.
“I want to help players improve and reach their full potential,” said Meade. "I work mostly on the parts the team manager doesn’t have time to work on.
"My wife Vanessa has studied Neuroscience and has started coaching also so we are merging the two and helping these players overcome the self doubt and focus on the positives in their game.
"We goal set with them so they can kick on not just in Football but in life.
"Heidi Mackin and Mark O’Mahony recently scored winners for Ireland and it’s nice that they are improving and Maximum Football is having an impact on these players' performance."
The father of two enjoyed a great career with clubs such as Leixlip, Cobh Ramblers, Cork City, Waterford, Avondale and a spell in America. Achieving a lot of success along the way, Meade always worked hard to be the best he could and now he is passing on his knowledge and experience to a new generation with his new businessand his new role on the coaching staff at Cobh Ramblers in which he hopes he can be part of more great nights at St Colman’s Park.
The 36-year-old recently joined Darren Murphy’s coaching staff at Rambler’s and although it hasn’t been a great season for them, Meade believes there is potential and he is enjoying what has been a frustrating but great experience.
“My role is coaching the first team. I’m really enjoying working with Fran, John, Dermot, Derek and Will and it's our job to make sure training is good.
"The players are learning and enjoying the sessions but unfortunately results haven't gone our way.
"It’s more about finding out about players than results at this stage and seeing who really wants to stay and work extremely hard next year.
“I've worked with a few lads individually and this is where I see my future in the game.
"John O'Flynn and myself have been doing a bit in the final third with the attackers for ideas, movements etc.
"It's been difficult to get any momentum as Darren wants to give everyone a fair chance before he decides the squad for next year so as coaches all we can do is pass on the information and hope they take it on board and perform.
“Obviously, results have been frustrating but as a group of staff and a club we are doing all we can to improve both off and on the pitch and I do believe we are the right people to take it forward.
"The chairman, committee and supporters deserve better no doubt about that but hopefully in time that will come.
“The squad is a bit of a mixed bunch. A lot of ex-MSL lads mixed with U19s.
"In Football 95% of the time the biggest budgets usually win leagues Shels and Galway are up there and have the biggest budgets so our model needs to be looked at and we need to find a way to compete.
“The positives are the club is 100 years old next season. It's given so many players a platform to play down the years.
"What’s great and important about this great club is having a few local lads on the team.
"In any club if you don’t acknowledge the values of any football club then the supporters will question your decisions. We feel it's crucial to have a representation from Cobh in our squad.
"But Cork City will want Cork lads, Waterford will want Waterford lads and were no different here with Cobh lads.
"That’s at every club really.”
So although this year may be a write-off for a Cobh Ramblers, Meade is optimistic that he and other members of coaching staff have what it take to bring back the good nights at St Colman’s Park.
“It will be great to plan during off season and build again for next year.
"My aim as a coach is to become the best individual coach possible. Maximum football my business, has been a huge help to many players across the county and I want to keep helping players through the ups and downs of the game.
"I've built great relationships with players and coaches from Cobh Ramblers and Cork City’s academies and I hope my work as a coach can help players play at the highest level.”