“The first half of this season has been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding for myself and all of our coaching staff at Gillingham Ladies FC”
Pro Kickers Academy (PKA), Gillingham Ladies’ official coaching partner, have relished the flourishing relationship with Kent’s women’s football club.
With a fantastic unbeaten run to kick off the season, the Gills entered 2014 with plenty of momentum to continue their impressive form in the league.
Whilst the Gills have looked effortless at points during the season, on occasions dismantling sides by huge margins; success has not come without the price of laborious hours spent on the training ground. At the heart of all this hard work has been the PKA coaching and philosophy. We caught up with Gills Ladies Assistant Manager and PKA Director, Jack Wheeler, to see how he assesses the Gills Ladies progress mid-way through the campaign.
“The first half of this season has been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding for myself and all of our coaching staff at Gillingham Ladies FC” said Jack. “The partnership between Pro Kickers Academy coaching staff, the girls and the team’s backroom staff has been above and beyond anything that I was imagining.”
“I would like to take this opportunity at the half way point to thank the backroom staff for all their continued support, hard work and the time they have put into the first half of this season making Gillingham Ladies FC what we are today.”
Jack was quick to point out how quickly the PKA philosophy was developed at Gills with the management working with players to instil the mentality and operations of a professional football club.
“I have to mention the girl’s attitude and work ethic towards training and match days. It has been of such a high professional standard it really is a pleasure to work with all off them because of their willingness to learn, improve and work together is infectious.”
“The bond between the girls is quite visible to see, and to watch all the girls enjoying their football and getting the results they deserve makes it all worth while. But while I’m quick to praise the girls on the progression they have made as individuals and as a team, we are only half way there and they need to work even harder coming into the second half – the ‘business end’ – of the season.”
Alongside the backroom staff and players, the partnership Manager James Marrs and Jack have developed at the club has helped contribute to more success on and off the pitch. Jack added, “I would also like to thank James Marrs for bringing me into the Gills managment as have thoroughly enjoyed working with him; long may his terrible banter and poor demo’s continue!”
Whilst the poor weather conditions have put a slight dampen on the New Year, focus remains on pushing forwards from 2013’s good form. Jack revealed: “People and supporters outside of the club have been talking about the fixtures against our local rivals and the fixtures against the teams in and around us, but we as management and the team work one week at a time.”
“We have done this from the very start of the season and will continue to keep that outlook. I believe that every game is as important as the next and it is imperative that the team remain focused on the team in front of them and carry on playing well and enjoying their football.”
“The partnership between Gillingham Ladies FC and Pro Kickers Academy has been one that has been such a positive experience for both sides. Being able to work with elite women footballers in London and Kent has benefited myself, improving my own coaching style and ethos but also bringing something new to the team.”
“It has also been a hugely beneficial to our young female footballers who participate in our sessions throughout the week and at weekends. Working in a number of primary schools in London and Kent I often get this response from young girls “Football is a boys sport” but through Gillingham Ladies I am so pleased to be able to challenge that opinion of girls participating in football.”
“We have a number of young girls from ages two and above that take part in our sessions and to be able to invite them down to match days to be the mascots for the day and let them soak up the experience of being in a girl’s football team and showing them positive role models to inspire them has been such a pleasure.”