Features of the Portuguese national team's methods by João Aroso (Portugal National Team Fitness Coach)
June 11, 2013
As a coach working for a national football team, I know that the context of the job is clearly distinguishable from that at your average football club.
We are faced with several barriers to our progress, especially due to the small number of training facilities available where we can bring the team together and work on, not only our desired playing style, but also the rules and values (to be respected both during sessions and away from the training ground) that we consider necessary for the project’s success.
Another constraint is the high number of competitive games the players are subject to - they are often engaged in various domestic and international competitions with their clubs which can cause considerable physical and emotional fatigue, factors that must be taken into account in both training sessions and games.
It is therefore our responsibility to draw up a set of strategies to minimise the impact of these constraints, namely:
- Bring together a stable group of players, so that on the few occasions when they get to work together there is a considerable number of ‘regulars’.
- Identify the tactical habits that players have at their clubs - close, systematic observation is necessary to ascertain how their teams play and how certain principles of football are interpreted by ‘our’ players in the context of these forms of play. This identification allows us to transmit our tactical ideas, compensating for the limited time we have to train together throughout the season.
- Familiarise ourselves with the workout routines that the players practise at their clubs (recovery methods, whether they work out in the gym etc) in order to make sure that the players are at their best level during the short time they are with us).
- Identify which fundamental principles of our game are to be worked on during the preparation stages in order to prioritise those that are considered the most important.
- Work on the finer details (when we have more time available to prepare for each game). For example: analysis of training sessions through video images; collection of the relevant information about opponents and about the team itself in order to bring together all the keys aspects which must be conveyed to the players.