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.”