European Football Championship 2008: Coaches on the couch
There’s not a single magic formula when it comes to coaching a winning team. “Some coaches are reflective, like France’s Raymond Domenech and Germany’s Joachim Löw,” says the CPI’s Andy Barton. “They’ll stay seated during a match and say few words. Others, like Portugal’s Luis Felipe Scolari, or Croatia’s Slaven Bilic are more hands-on – they’ll parade the touchline and often use stirring speeches. So Scolari and Domenech represent two ends of the spectrum but also share similarities – like being able to get the best out of their team.”
“Both coaches exude an immense sense of belief – in themselves, their players and their goals. Unconsciously, we read more into how a person says something than what they say. Both Scolari’s and Domenech’s body language and tone of voice is consistent with the message. When they tell their players they can outplay their opponents, their players believe them.
“This enables Gus Hiddink to get the most out of modest teams – and goes hand in hand with the ability to take tough decisions. Hiddink sent Edgar Davids home from Euro 96 to bring harmony to a divided Netherlands team and was equally decisive in bringing him back for a successful World Cup campaign in 1998.
“Great coaches also have the respect of their players. Bilic and Scolari command a high regard because of a bond born on the training ground, while Poland’s Leo Beenhakker, Greece coach Otto Rehhagel and Domenech use a more authoritarian, fatherly approach.”
Calling the shots
“Spain’s Luis Aragones is prepared to leave out big names – like Raul, despite the Real Madrid striker being in form and a fan favourite. The shape of his team comes first and he could do the same with Fernando Torres this summer. Löw faces similar selection headaches and how he handles them could depend on how far Germany go.
“Aragones also believes vehemently that yellow is an unlucky colour and has banned his players wearing the colour. Spain, however face Sweden (who wear yellow) on June 14, and creative opposing coaches could exploit this where possible.”
Them and us
“Great coaches are aware of the importance of a ‘mission’. Many will stir up wars with whoever they can (player, team, referee) and give players a common cause to fight for. Rehhagel led the formerly disjointed Greeks to victory in Euro 2004 by putting the emphasis on team building.
“Harassment of officials is sometimes used to gain a psychological advantage. By complaining when a decision goes against them, a coach will hope the referee will award more decisions in his side’s favour. But referees are now more aware of this, so the tactic can actually backfire.”
For more news on the European Football Championship 2008 please visit http://www.castrolindex.com
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