Your Letters & Pictures

Players as coaches. By Coach Lawrence G. Fine

Recently I saw a discussion on a business web site which asked would you rather learn from someone who has made one million dollars or, would you rather learn from someone who has taught many others how to make one hundred thousand dollars each?

The logic behind this question is that just because someone has made a lot of money doesnít mean they know how to teach others how to do the same. The person, who has taught others to make money, even if itís not the same large amount as the other person, will probably be able to continue to teach others how to do the same.

The same logic applies to soccer. Just because a person played at a high level doesnít mean they know how to teach others to do the same.
Would you rather have someone coach you who have played at a very high level (letís say national team) or would you rather have someone coach you who have taught many others to play at a high level?

Does this mean that former high-level players canít be good coaches? Of course not. There are many examples of top players who have moved on to become high level coaches (just recently, Klinsmann, Van Basten and Rijkaard come to mind) but there are many other coaches who didnít play at the level of these three who have become highly accomplished coaches. Guus Hiddink would be an example. While he did play professionally, he certainly wasnít at the level or the previously mentioned coaches.

It takes a different mindset to be a coach then to be a player. While the player typically thinks about the here and now, the coach has to think about the here and now as well as where things are going in the future. It takes a great deal of patience as a coach, especially for former players, because the top player frequently doesnít understand why other players canít do something that they might find every easy. As a coach, itís important to be patient and allow players to learn from their own mistakes.

There is no doubt itís helpful for a coach to have played the game (both to be able to demonstrate and also to have a greater understanding of the nuances of the game) but being a high level player (or former high level player) does not guarantee success as a coach.

Some of the subjects a good coach needs a good understanding of include:

Time Management

Note none of these are specific towards soccer. Obviously a coach would have to understand the technical and tactical aspects of the game but there is so much that a coach has to understand to be effective and being a former player isnít enough.

If a person has the strong understanding of the five subjects listed about (Iím sure there are more but those are the ones that came to mind right away) and doesnít understand the technical or tactical parts of soccer, they will not ultimately be successful in coaching. If a person understands the technical and tactical parts of the game but not these other subjects, they also will not be successful in coaching.

Itís the coaches who truly understand all of these aspects (or, at the very least try to understand) that will ultimately be successful.
If you are a coach who is lacking in some of these areas, please take the time to learn and improve. If you are a player looking for a new team, please look for a coach who either understands these aspects of the game or is trying to learn them.

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Have a great day!



Thanks Coach Lawrence, unfortunately Iím one of those who played at a high level and I need to force myself to understand and REMEMBER, that something that seems easy to me could be hard for other players, and use patience, patience and patience again. Thanks for reminding all of us. After 50 years on a soccer field, in reading your news letters, I still learn something every time.
Thanks again,

Coach Gianni

Posted on 15 Sep 2006 by coachgianni
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