Chester FC: Tom Shaw relishing his first week as assistant manager


Charlie Croasdale

TOM SHAW has already started to make his mark as Chester’s assistant manager as he begins the transition from player to coach.

A focal part of the Blues’ midfield over the past two seasons, Shaw was appointed as Jon McCarthy’s number two in May, replacing Chris Iwelumo who has taken up a new part-time role as striker coach.

Although still registered as a player, the 30-year-old is very much focusing on the coaching side of the job this season, and revealed he made a special phone call to boss McCarthy prior to pre-season training beginning earlier this week, to thank him for giving him the opportunity to step off the pitch and into the dugout at such a young age.

“I’m very excited by it all, I spoke with the manager on Sunday night and I just thanked him for this opportunity really, it’s something I never thought I’d get at this high a level” he said.

“I feel like I’m prepared. I’ve done a lot of work with the manager over the summer and on my own, getting sessions ready and looking into the psychological side of coaching so hopefully just like the players I can hit the ground running as their coach.”

Shaw has already been busy making alterations in the Blues’ camp and set up a slideshow of motivational clips and photos for the players to see on their arrival to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium on Monday.

“These are just some of the little things I want to introduce around the place,” he continued.

“Footballers need to know what’s happening, they need a plan, so hopefully they come in each morning and take a look at what I’ve put on the screen and start to buy into it. There’s a few pictures of themselves on their too so that’ll massage their ego a bit!

“There might be a few teething issues as we start but I shouted at them enough as a player so they’re used to that. I’ll have a professional relationship with everybody and when there’s some downtime I can be their mate again.

“If they show me the respect I will definitely reciprocate.”

Shaw, who completed his A Licence last year, has been coaching Derby County youth teams over the past two years as well as Nottingham Trent University’s football team, and believes he can make the transition a successful one.

“There’s three points riding on everything, that’s pressure, that’s the main difference,” he explained.

“They’re men. I’m used to coaching younger boys, but I do think there will be some similarities.

“The way I prepare and plan and the way I am with them won’t change too much. Players want fun and challenging training sessions so that’s what I’ll look to put on.

“On a game day it will be a bit different but I’ve got to get my head around that quickly and become used to it.”

Chester have reported back to pre-season training a week earlier than nearly all their National League rivals, and now embark on three weeks of intense sessions on the training pitch, before facing a period of five matches within a fortnight, before back-to-back home friendlies against Football League outfits Walsall and Port Vale, on July 22 and 29 respectively.

“That’s exactly it, we looked to steal a march on a few teams,” Shaw revealed.

“We identified coming in for this extra week as a way we can get ahead of some of those around us.

“Anything that needs ironing out can be done now, rather than next Monday when we step things up a bit. It’ll be enjoyable and allow the lads to get to know each other, then next week is the real start to pre-season for us.

“It’s a different type of pre-season but I think it’s absolutely terrific. Compare it to a boxer, he does his training, then he spars before a fight and that’s what our first few games are, it’s where we get our fitness, you can’t emulate that on the training pitch.

“Lots of games in a short space of time, we’ll manage the workload so no one is playing too many minutes, but it’s different and it sums the manager up really. He puts a lot of time and thought into it and he is always looking at ways we can get better.

“It’s been hot out there, and I know that day one feeling all too well, but we’ll get the footballs out and it’ll be fun for everyone, we’ll sneak a few gym sessions in there as well.”

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