I hope you enjoyed my last newsletter article, this time I have three thoughts for you again.
Is it worthwhile for a coach to take a closer look at other sports?
I asked this question in my last newsletter article and I even got some answers, which I was very happy about. One reaction should not remain unmentioned here.
I can answer this question with a clear yes: I prefer to try to gain insights into basketball, ice hockey, football and handball.
The reader, who remains anonymous at this point, shares my opinion on this question. I think it is of fundamental importance as a coach to look beyond one’s own sport and deal with other sports. Although most ball sports differ from football in the fact that they are played with the hand, this does not necessarily mean that concepts cannot be transferred.
Especially when it comes to how to position oneself without the ball, create spaces and fill them, many sports offer interesting concepts for football. A few weeks ago, I already mentioned the dynamic occupation of the zone under the basket in basketball and its similarity to the concept of the false nine.
Especially from basketball with its more man-oriented game and the possibility to move around the field, interesting concepts can be adopted. Especially blind-side movements are often seen in basketball. Players have to be able to confuse their direct opponent, to bring the defender into situations where he finds it difficult to see opponent and ball at the same time or to gain an advantage by cleverly anticipating the situation.
For the so-called backdoor cuts in basketball, offensive players try to fool the opponent with their posture or even their eyes to provoke mistakes. These deceptions resemble the behaviour of Sergio Busquets. The Spanish six player is a master in deceiving the opponent with his body posture in order to pass the ball between the lines instead of a pass to the outside.
But basketball is not the only sport. Even handball, which differs more from football because of the circle, has concepts that can be used in football. Just think about how handball tries to get the opponent moving. Typical for football. It is not for nothing that Guardiola’s style was often described with the words „like handball“ when the ball was circulated around the box. Although this was meant as a point of criticism, in the end the same principle applies to handball as to football. Move the ball, get the defence moving and then try to create pressure. Either throw yourself or create space for your teammate and move the ball to the free man.
Pep Guardiola once referred to the quick changes of sides in rugby to break the line of defence when he spoke about the importance of changing sides in football.
But it is not only the concepts on the pitch that are worth analysing. It is also the people with their ideas on tactics, training or team leadership in other sports that can serve as a source of inspiration.
Steve Kerr, Toni Nadal and Gregg Popovich – there are great personalities in all sports
I think I have mentioned Gregg Popovich at least once in every newsletter article so far. The eccentric coach of the San Antonio Spurs is not without reason considered one of the best coaches of all time. Especially his leadership skills are impressive. The mix of a good friend/father figure and a tough coach who yells at a player is probably one of the reasons why the Spurs have been among the best teams in the NBA for years.
There have been many articles written about the leadership style of Gregg Popovich. For me, there have been many articles with interesting aspects and lessons that can be useful for a coach or leader in any field, like this one.
Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal’s uncle and coach, also shared interesting lessons in his Ted-Talk about what it takes to be a top athlete and how he could support his protégé.
Another example is the former coach of Michael Phelps or Pete Carroll and Steve Kerr, who share many exciting experiences in their podcast. I could continue the list endlessly, but you will have already understood my point.
A good trainer is characterized by constantly trying to educate himself and to extract something for himself and his work as a coach from every situation, experience, conversation or article. It would be narrow-minded or naive to think that just because other sports are different from football, you can’t draw anything from them.
Let me put it this way: what distinguishes intelligent people from normal people is curiosity and the motivation to always learn something new. Moreover, the ability to put concepts and ideas into a larger context and to connect them with other ideas.
So if you want to become improve as a coach, it’s worthwhile to not only deal with football.
Next week I would like to talk a little about decision making. Hence the question, in which situations do you make the wrong decisions based on emotionality or certain stereotypes?
Until then, stay healthy.
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