A Letter from a dying Coach – The Last Team Talk

Hello to anybody and everybody who will take the time to read this. If I bore you I apologise. If you take something from it, I’ll be delighted.

Now every manager loves a good team talk. They are what motivates and inspires our players. They set instructions and guidance for what our players need to do in a game. What I bet most managers and coaches don’t think about is what their last ever team talk will be.

Unfortunately, I have to.

I have cancer.

Not the okay kind, not even the slightly harsh kind but the deadly kind. I am dying. This cancer will kill me and it can’t be stopped. Let’s be clear, I’m not happy about this. It sucks on so many levels, but what can I do? What it did was it got me thinking. I won’t be taking the Ravens all the way and I won’t see them fully develop into young adults. So I plan to take them as far as I can for how long I’ve got left.

Russ far left

Now this was a decision that it took me a few weeks to come to and to decide to enjoy the ride whilst I can. It offered a clarity that I’ve never had before. The clarity that football for children is all about enjoyment. That is what I’ll be teaching from now on. Football is called a sport, but it’s also a game. Games are there to be enjoyed.

For me this is a message that has gotten lost.

I’ve seen first hand children lose their love of the game because parents and coaches alike have sucked the enjoyment out of the game. Why as managers do we allow this to happen? We have a duty to make sure our players look forward to games with the same excitement week in week out. We as managers need to look forward to these games as much as the players.

We need to make sure that enjoyment is the main priority for everybody. The enlightening thing about being told you’re dying is you get to choose how to live your remaining days. For me I plan to spend as much time having fun as I can and making sure that the players around me have as much fun as they can. I simply refuse to make a player feel bad because they’ve missed as penalty, misplaced a pass or lacks natural ability in their game.

Now you may read this and dismiss it that’s your choice. The one thing to think about is, you never know when your last team talk will be or the last time you see your child play football. I know that time for me is soon and I want to make it an incredible experience.


KAFC Ravens


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