Danny Cowley: Schools don't teach kids about winning

Danny Cowley used to be Head of PE at a school in Essex

Danny Cowley used to be Head of PE at a school in Essex

LINCOLN CITY manager Danny Cowley says his club’s Academy has to teach youngsters about winning - because it's not something they learn in school.

Cowley speaks from experience, having been Head of PE at Fitzwimarc School in Essex while he was manager of Braintree Town.

In May 2016 he quit teaching to take over at Lincoln, leading them to promotion to the Football League with two matches to spare and a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

“I believe in winning and I believe we have to teach our young players to win," Cowley told LincolnshireLive. "Losing isn’t failure. You need to win and lose with dignity and humility.

“Sport is a fantastic way of learning how to deal with success and failure. We should not hide from that.

“I’ve come out of an education system which is very caring and sharing, where winning doesn’t have as much importance as I believe it should have.

“Of course we believe in participation, but we’re dealing with potentially elite players and you have to teach them how to win. So it’s a balance between creating a winning mentality while also fostering their development. It’s a fine balance and one we’re trying to achieve.

“I expect our young players to want to win and to know how to win. I put a lot of importance on results which will naturally foster their development. At our school we won lots of national titles and finished fourth in the world at athletics.

“Overall, I think we’re too caring and sharing and it’s gone too far the other way. Children need to be told when they’ve done something well and also when they haven’t done something well. They need clarity.

“Nowadays you’re not even allowed to mark a piece of work with a red pen because it’s seen as being too aggressive. All that does is give a lack of clarity into what they’re good at and where they need to improve. I don’t think they’re always that sure.

“I also massively believe in discipline and I worry that in schools today there isn’t the discipline which allows them to learn at the rate they need to.”

Promotion to the Football League led to the club regaining its Category 3 Academy status this summer after it was relinquished following relegation in 2011.

Nick Green has come in from Hartlepool as lead professional development coach and there has been investment in staff, players and facilities.

Academy manager Damian Froggatt said: “We’re taking baby steps at the moment but we’ve got high ambitions for where we want to be as an academy, although we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”

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