Welcome to <SKILL UP> episode 5!
We continue on episode 4 as Norbert speaks about his recent takeaways and the way he applies newly learned knowledge to his sessions.
What is important when applying newly learned knowledge to your sessions?
That's an easy one. Anything I learn from the courses and the FA is great and many coaches try to apply them directly but I believe it's wrong to apply the sessions that way because every club is different. They have different players, ability, reasons to play the game, etc. Players aren't being paid to play so they can be pushed only to a certain extent. I need to be considerate about how much I ask from them.
Anyhow, whenever I look at a session, I think about whether it happens to us in our game, and if so, where, how, and so on - so I can take it an adjust it to our team's conditions. Being creative and flexible is crucial because often sessions end-up being frustrating as they don't go as planned - but that happens at the grassroots level.
Having a UEFA B license and working with a UEFA Pro coach as a mentor (who also works full-time as a professional coach), I am exposed to great sessions held at professional clubs, but yes - the sessions are planned around pro players. As much as they're great, I need to go through the sessions and see if that level is applicable to my players. If not, I need to adjust and prepare so the players can develop and transition step-by-step so they eventually take on more challenging drills. There is no point of just copying sessions if the players can't accomplish the objectives.
Understanding the players I have and what I can expect from them and from this level is first - then I can consider what can be simplified and convert it to use it in our squad.
What is your biggest recent takeaway?
The badges and certificates are mostly about tactical knowledge and football philosophy. They don't shape your character or personality. Of course, they do work on the man management side - which I feel is more important that the tactical side. For example, I learned that "less is more" in the the Ajax course I completed - meaning the less information I give to the players, the more quality the players will deliver.
It points out that there is no reason to overcoach with 50 different factors to address during a single session, or even 4-5 elements in one drill. We have to focus on one or two things they can really focus on - then work on transitioning and developing everything step-by-step. There are tons of session types but it's impossible to learn and apply everything. I mean, we ask players to play simple football - why not have simple sessions and coaching as well?
However, the most important thing is to understand myself as a coach - why I'm doing what I'm doing. Just knowing football itself is not enough - how I apply it and being clear to the players is critical. Taking away what I need to build myself as a manager by meeting others is just as important - people from different associations, levels, clubs, countries, and so on - which I achieved at the Ajax course.
How do you research other clubs? Do you have specific channels?
Not much research is done at this level. With all honesty, I focus on developing our own team. If I have to take a look at other clubs then I sometimes use social media such as Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter or Google their name, but don't carry out in-depth analysis. It's more about seeing how serious a club is.
Knowing that a higher level club usually tends to play more attacking football, we adjust our formation and tactics accordingly but not too much in detail. That's about it.