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51: August/September 2011
“The doubtful coach”
This statement will surely grab your attention, and will most probably lead to the thought of; “A doubtful coach is surely not good; a coach should not be doubtful. A coach should be confident....right?! However, Guud Hiddink was quoted as saying, “as long as I doubt, I think,” this really got me thinking....
Renowned sports manager Toon Gerbrands, a former volleyball coach who also managed a Dutch speed skating team, and is currently general manager of First division club AZ Alkmaar, has recently published a book. One of the things he mentioned in his book was “the more you know as a coach, the more doubtful you get.” This again stimulated thought, leading me to recall that, when I first started coaching I thought I knew everything and I was quite stubborn. I was still playing at the time and if my (then) coach did not brings balls to conditioning training, I would confront him and state my case explain that no exercises should be done without a ball! I tried to convince coaches that dry exercises where pointless, because all exercises should be as match real as possible.
Now, many years later it does not seem as black and white anymore. Now I find myself asking the question whether I should spend time on stability exercises if I only have 2 sessions a week with my team? Should you spend time on positioning if you always have four passing options? Which method is better for player development the Coerver method or the KNVB method? I have become more sensitive to arguments not to move players to a higher age level before they reach that age, even though they can handle the level of play. Is the highest priority of an amateur club to develop players for the first team? These are just some random questions to which I do not have clear answers, but I now know both sides of the arguments I can see and understand both perspectives and rationales for choosing one or the other, and personally I learn more by asserting a level of doubt; which just questions and challenges assumptions. The comment “the more you know, the more doubtful you get,” surely applies to me as a coach, and this is definitely a strength.
This issue again provides you with a multitude of perspectives and visions of coaching, training and playing from all levels of play from all around the World. By presenting such a varied and deep spectrum of coaching, we seek to optimally informing you so that you can make the best judgements and choices for yourself, the team and the club.
Yours in soccer,
Paul van Veen - Chief Editor SCI