As we continue to bring you the coaching secrets of top Serie A tacticians, this week Forza Italian Football is presenting all fans of Italian football a brief snapshot of Filippo Inzaghi’s written thesis that allowed him to pass the necessary exams to become a fully qualified coach.
Somewhat different to many others, the new AC Milan strategist produced a paper that was less tactical and more psychological.
Entitled “UNA MENTALITA’ PER “ESSERE” VINCENTI”, ‘Super Pippo’ describes in detail what it takes to be a winner.
Part One – Theory, Experience and Philosophy
The educational characteristics of a successful coach
If you don’t know, you can’t teach. A successful coach must understand fully that which he is teaching. He must understand the sport, continually striving to keep up to date with new technical-tactical methods, medical advancements and nutrition amongst other things.
You must be professional and experienced and have the ability to pass on that knowledge. You must be able to effectively organise and carry out every training session in order to educate.
On a human level you must be able to share information, pass on your ideas and to give the attention necessary in every situation.
To have personality and values that you can pass on. The coach is an example to players and staff alike, with the ability to influence behaviour. Without this, whatever you know or whatever you do will be worthless.
The mechanics of success
Below we see the difference between winners and losers:
Is always part of the solution Is always part of the problem
Always has a plan Always has an excuse
Will say, “I can do this” Will say, ‘This isn’t my job’
Has an answer to every problem Finds a problem with every answer
Says, “Difficult but possible” Says, “Possible but difficult”
Looks for alternatives Limits himself
Accepts challenges Avoids Challenges
Refuses to lose Win or lose, it’s all the same
A coach leads, makes decisions, and has charisma which influences others. To have a winning mentality he must:
– Communicate effectively
– Be resourceful
– Have the right attitude
Part two – From theory to practice
The method to create a winning mentality
The effectiveness of training and to achieve your coaching aims is governed by the methods used.
The following are critical:
– Relationship between player and coach
– Relationship between players
– Language used when talking to players
– The way in which activities are explained (so players understand why they are performing a given task)
– The choice of activity for the players
To become a success is certainly dependant on the methods employed by the coach which will be influenced by his psychological and philosophical ideals. His mentality will form a certain type of player, a style of play and influence the players he picks in his team.
Because of this, it is important his staff are very similar. His methods will shape which assistants are compatible, in order to achieve the goals that are set.
Players must know what the objectives are and what we are doing. They must understand the aims of training and the analysis of previous matches. It is important to share physical and technical data of games.
All this will help them understand why we do things and for what reason so our objectives can be reached.
Analysing games will positively influence training sessions as well as set achievable objectives. Doing this as a group will improve squad cohesion and help players to grow tactically. It will also create an atmosphere of communication with team members.
The team and the importance of the ‘group’ (cohesion)
It is important that players understand the structure of the squad (leaders, cliques both positive and negative, etc) to improve internal communication and to create a strong bond. This will reinforce values, identity and the overall mission.
Players must realise the importance of the group to improve friendship, collaboration and willingness. Learning from each other is vital in this respect.
In practice, the above can be achieved on the training field in various ways. Small sided possession games or sessions where one team is in numerical inferiority will strengthen players resolve as well as the understanding that every element of the team must give their best if they are to be successful.
The following drill to improve pressing is one example. Here we have an 8v4 situation in favour of the team in possession. This is made up of four players within the field of play and four players on the edges that play for the team that has the ball.
Players in possession will have a limited number of touches as set by the coach. The team without the ball must work hard and as a team to press the opponent in order to try to win the ball. Each of the four players are equally vital if the ball is to be won from the team of eight.
All the qualities needed for a winning mentality are displayed, such as hard work, communication, collaboration and organisation.
As yet, I do not know if I am or will become a winning coach. Certainly this is what I want to achieve, with humility, the desire to continually improve and with the spirit that followed me as a player.
My progression as a player was over many stages and it is with this in mind that gradually I want to become a coach.
Experience is the best teacher and humility the first value.