One sport, different points of view by Juan Ferrando (Youth team coach at Malaga FC)
February 6, 2013
After having the experience of working in football in different countries, I would define the sport as an art. An abstract art in which everyone involved, every spectator sees a canvas; upon which they see a different painting.
Many envisage what they consider to be a ‘good game of football’: for some it’s simply when their team wins; for others it is when it wins and plays well. But what can we consider ‘playing well’? If we take the scientific approach, we could say that playing well is the result of the actions and movements carried out by the team in possession, with the objective of scoring a goal. But, of course, the great thing about football is the existence of these uncontrollable aspects that can determine the final result.
Coming to a club like Málaga FC has allowed me to put some of the ideas that I have picked up from working in the Major Soccer League (Toronto and Ginga Soccer), the Premier League (Arsenal and Brighton) and the Spanish Liga, into practice. In my opinion, there are many aspects to be discussed: offensive play, style of play, different variations...But I feel that the most important thing for a trainer or coach is cultural knowledge: every place has its own culture, neither better nor worse than others, just different and what you may learn in one place may be completely impractical in another. However, the foundations are the same no matter where you are: passion for the game is universal and it makes it possible for us to share experiences as a form of enrichment.
I have encountered all kinds of coaches: some who are unimaginative, others disorganised, some who put emphasis on physical fitness, others who concentrate on motivational aspects of the game...but in the end, everything is based on something that many of us have forgotten due to the professionalisation of schools and clubs: football is a game. It was created as a form of recreation, and no matter how many plans that we coaches draw up, the players are the ones who entertain the supporters whilst dealing with the different situations that may arise throughout the match. Many players in our youth team train long hours - not because the club asks that of them, but because they keep on training with their friends, the kids on their street, at school...and they arrive charged-up from the perfect training session: the game itself.