The very difficult game of football is very easy. Everybody can play, score and coach. Funny enough, coaches don’t. The coaches’ decisions are usually deplored and degraded by even a vagabond. There is a reason why. People always think with their hearts. They feel the game. Coaches don’t. They mustn’t. To a layman, eleven people go onto the pitch and the coach tells them what to do.
Coaching involves building a relationship, first, with the players, then, among the players. It is the ability to get the best out of people and help them in making their decisions. Coming to mind is The Special One, Jose Maurinho. Joel Santana fell short on this one with Bafana Bafana.
Coaches are not the same. They make substitutions that baffle the whole stadium and TV viewers almost a 100% of the time. Once in a while they will be applauded for the ‘right ‘ subbing. If you ask, it will surprise you that the substitution was for a different reason. It may not be easy to see why the coach will replace a player the crowd enjoys. Carlos Alberto Parreira so far seems to get his substitutions correct. There are obvious situations though. A straight simple offence and defensive play without any behavioural implications.
The coach has a task of knowing his opponents and their strengths and weaknesses. The hardest part is that these parameters are very general, varying from game to game and sometimes even in the same game, from time to time. This part becomes France’s Dominic ‘s undoing. He pins everything down and remain rigid. Come game time, the situation is different and there is not much changing to do.
Dunga is very adaptive. Like all coaches, he watches his team and the other team as well. He has got to look where the ball is going and where it is not going, where it is coming from and where it is not coming from. He has to investigate why all these situations are happening. He has to assess the 22 players’ actions, analyse them and make decisions.The rest of coaches have to keep an eye on the clock every time to see how much time is left before they lose their job.
For fans, they follow and enjoy the action with much bias and less objectivity. They are emotional, charged and usually animated. Diego Armando Maradona behaves this way too. They know they will win. If they don’t the coach failed them. Coaches are human, they make mistakes. If they make decision that you as an unqualified person can make, then they are fake.
Most of the good players don’t contribute much when the ball is not with them. They may attract fouls and disrupt the rhythm of the coach’s beat. They may attract the ball or opponents into wrong areas altogether. They may cause psychological damage to their team mates. Theo Walcott missed his place in the English squad for this reason.
The Netherlands had Marco van Bastern who defended from one end and scores at the other, the same way Didier Drogba on a day will be doing for Chelsea. This is a handful of things you will not know when the coach is making the decisions about the team.
Supporters go with the flow most of the time. There are also ‘go with the flow’ coaches. Jurgen Klinsmen coached because of his playing history Their training methods are those that appease the players. Their game plan and execution is one that pleases fans.
Fans form an important part of the coach. It’s way better if they will let him do his job and they enjoy their game. USA Bradley has and still is enjoying a lot of following and that makes players get behind him.
Proper coaching is never magic. It is like a business. You will have no customers when you start, and things will improve slowly until you make profit, and during that time you will be stressing. Another way would be to use all the money having fun and enjoying. A year later, you will be broke. Fabio Capello, like all Italians, takes football very seriously indeed. Arrigo Sacchi converted basketball defending concepts to football pressing game.
Once in a while you come across lucky coaches. They will grind results out of nothing. What is your observation about coaches, present and past?