Hear from Shay Haddow about her work as founder of Alpha Girl Soccer. Coach Shay earned her Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and Master’s in Physical and Sport Education. She knew if she wanted to have the biggest impact on players “personal development” she needed to step away from club and high school coaching to give players 1-on-1 attention through private training. The goal of Alpha Girl Soccer is to empower and develop girls into strong, confident soccer players.
You can read an overview of the interview with Shay Haddow or listen to the podcast below for the full interview.
Q: What is the vision and mission behind Alpha Girl Soccer & how did you get started?
A: So growing up I played for an all girls club and it was led by one of my coaches who was also a businesswoman, and that club also had a lot of great female coaches. So I was lucky to have had great role models when I played. So with that being said I'm super passionate about 1) soccer and 2) giving back to young girls to give them the opportunity to succeed. So when I decided to start my coaching career I wanted to focus solely on female athletes. So like you said my mission is to empower and develop girls, help their confidence. And then not only do I want them to become confident soccer players, but I aim to help them be successful and confident beyond the skills and be hardworking and successful in every area of their life.
Q: Tell us a little about what you're working on at the moment?
A: Right now my main programs are my private and small group training. So I'm trying to get those programs filled up for the summer, because that's usually the busiest month. I'm starting to do a monthly clinic series. So with that I'll have a clinic every single month and it will be just pretty small scale so about 12 kids...
Q: How do you work to get at the mental side of the game and building girls’ confidence?
A: So just in our training I focus my coaching on I want to build them up, I never want to make them feel inadequate or less. And then also I do, it's kind of on the mental side, I'll sit down with my girls and kind of do a goal-setting session. So that way they learn how to set goals, and know what it takes to do that and feel confident doing that.
Q: Tell us a story about some of the challenges you faced in your coaching/athletic career and how you overcame them, or maybe you still are?
A: So the business side of it the hardest thing that is still a challenge for me and is getting myself out of my comfort zone, is putting myself out there to build my program. I'm introverted so it's not natural for me to just go up, and approach people and strike a conversation, but I've learned that when you're trying to build a business it's a must to get out there and talk to people. So since I've been doing that I've gotten much better at it… And then as far as the coaching side of it goes, as a young female, I'm only 26, and in a male-dominated field, I have definitely felt the effects of not feeling equal. So with that I've had coaching clubs where there was a time I wasn't getting paid what maybe some of the male coaches were getting paid...
Q: What do you think has been the key to your success that other coaches could learn from?
A: I would say the key to my success in my program is just care about your athletes and the families, more than anything else. You have to out-care your competition, you have to care for your players more than I would. And then second is that I didn't try to do this on my own. I don't know much about business. I have a degree in exercise science. So I hired a business coach and he had been very successful in building his own Soccer Academy. So without his help, I really don’t think I’d be where I am today. So I would just say, don't be afraid to ask for help and get help from someone who has done what you want to do.
Q: How do you think technology is changing the way you work and coach?
A: From the business side I'd say it changes the way that I can market myself. There are so many mediums that we can use, mostly for free such as social media or email... And then I would also say taking use of payment systems so that way I don't have to run my business with cash and check, which definitely helps.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring coaches who are just starting out?
A: Learn, and reach out to other coaches that have been successful. don't be afraid to meet up with coaches for help. There's always something to learn so just have an open mind and be willing to change your perspective to become a better coach, business person and to better help your players.