Coaching is a labour of love for Craig Robinson

The 29-year-old from Mitchelstown says he is lucky to be working doing something he's so passionate about
Coaching is a labour of love for Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson, Michelle McNally and Jason Brown iat a CWSSL launch. Picture: Dan Linehan

HAVING your hobby as your full-time job is something most of us dream of.

For full-time soccer coach Craig Robinson, he certainly is living the dream where he spends his days on a football pitch doing what he loves best, coaching soccer.

The 29-year-old from Mitchelstown is busier than ever with a number of coaching programmes on the go. Currently, he is the head coach of the MTU men’s and women's college teams, Cork Schoolboys U12 manager, Mayfield Head Of Academy and the owner of CR Coaching.

While life is hectic for the father of one, he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I am blessed to say my hobby is my full-time job and at times it’s hard then to stop working, as to me it does not work,” said Robinson.

“Trying to get the balance of work and family can be difficult and while I love my job, I now have a son, Tommy, which makes it very hard to be gone for long days and for most weeks, six if not seven days of the week.

However when you’re doing something you genuinely love, it makes life that little bit easier.”

Robinson started out as a player with Park United before he ventured to college and played and managed with CIT. Then he went to Ballinhasig where he was player-coach and from this took the decision to concentrate more on the coaching side.

“There came a time when I felt I would go further in the game as a coach rather than a player so the decision came easy enough to me really and it was a full focus on coaching from then on.

“I managed Park United where we won the Munster Senior League Second Division in our first year, and again, I stepped back into the youths team where we created history in the club and got to the FAI Youth Cup quarter-final.

“Another previous managerial role was with Lakewood Senior women’s where we won the FAI Intermediate Shield, after losing in the FAI Intermediate Cup the previous year.

“From here I took the step to manage in the men’s game again when I went to Mayfield. I had a few broken years with Mayfield United seniors due to Covid, and unfortunately, with other coaching commitments and family life I had to take a step back for the time being.

“There is some brilliant talent in Mayfield, but for now I am focusing my time on various structures in the club, developing the youth of the club and coaching the coaches.

“Through my business CR Coaching, I am enjoying the roles I am playing in the various clubs. CR Coaching has a number of academies in pre-schools, after schools, transition years, and clubs.

“All school-related programmes are weekly sessions where we focus on the enjoyment of the game and try to increase participation for local clubs in the area.

“The academies in clubs provide an extra session for players looking to get in extra work on top of their club sessions and are group sessions, but coaches work on the individual technical development.

“There are also a number of clubs that we do weekly session plans for to help their coaches, as they might be parents helping out and need extra support and advice, which can be really rewarding to see.

KEEPING THE FAITH

“We also oversee the Darren Randolph GK Academy in Munster, where we currently have two academies in Mayfield United and Innishvilla AFC. In the new year we will be launching new academies in Cork and also around Munster so if any goalkeeper coaches want to get involved, it’s an incredible opportunity to take your coaching to the next level.

“It is fantastic to see so many players looking to develop their game and doing extra sessions, and all of us at CR Coaching want to help each player that comes in the gate to be a better player by the time they leave, they can be any age and play at any level.

“We are in business now over three years and, I won’t lie, it was not easy getting started; people told me it wouldn’t work out as others had tried and gave up after a few months, clubs are slow to support you as they think you have a hidden agenda but I was determined to go full-time coaching.

“We have now built up and we continue to grow an incredible group of coaches. Personally, I feel we are the best in the business for a number of reasons; we have playing and coaching experience at all levels of the game both male and female.

We not only want the player to be a better player but also a better person. We build relationships with the player and their close network so they can get consistency in all areas of the game.

“Our sessions are position-specific and tailored to the players' development, and all our sessions are in Mayfield United on a full pitch which helps the players bring the training into the game.

“We might feel we are the best, but we are always learning and improving our services which in turn will improve the players; one example of this is the use of UNO by Playermaker, which is a device that goes around your boots and records metrics, touches on both feet, number of passes, distance and speed, etc.

“We are big on players learning from their mistakes, always looking at the positives and enjoying the game and that for us really is paramount going forward."

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