Just like players need to continuously improve, so do coaches. As a coach, why not learn the strategies from the best of the best? And what better person is there to study than Sir Alex Ferguson? One of the areas Ferguson has been a master of is making his players fear him. However, his players never fear him to the point that they are afraid to play their game but his presence alone and the way he runs the team allows him to the get the very best out of each player.
The English Premier League this year is proving to be one of the better ones of the past decade. Traditionally, we have a better idea as to who will win the EPL by this point in the season but not this year. Fortunately for Manchester United, they have a history under Sir Alex Ferguson to hit their stride just after the Christmas break and their recent game versus Sunderland was an indication of some great football to come.
A biography of Sir Alex Ferguson written by Patrick Barclay, Football – Bloody Hell!, talks about the history of a player that failed, but is now a managerial genius. The painful memories as a player are what catalyzed his determination to become the best manager in the world. A great book and definitely worth the read!
After hearing Sir Alex Ferguson earlier this week confirm the situation with Wayne Rooney I could only think one thing: unbelievable! Other high profile players at Manchester United have left due to fall-outs with Sir Alex Ferguson, however, this situation is quite different.
You never know when if you’ll be coaching one day. If so, wouldn’t it be great to have a binder full of exercises and training sessions already prepared? If you don’t plan on coaching, it still wouldn’t hurt to take notes of what you did as this is a great way to continually learn about the game of soccer. You’ll also be able to track your progress more accurately.
To be the best you have to learn from the best. One of the main reasons soccer in North America – but more specifically Canada – cannot develop into a world class program is because the right people are not at the pinnacle of the soccer pyramid. We desperately need the best people for the job to be in charge because they act as magnets for the best.
To better demonstrate my point, I will use one of the best soccer organizations in the world: Manchester United. The owners of Manchester United have appointed arguably the best manager in the world, Sir Alex Ferguson, as the head of the program. Sir Alex Ferguson sets high standards for his coaching staff, for his team, for his players and for the program as a whole. He has worked very hard to morph the program into one of the — if not the — best . As a result, the best trainers, players and management are all drawn to Manchester United. The program has become immaculate and it can largely be attributed to Sir Alex Ferguson. What should we be learning from this, above all else? Put the right people in charge and everything else will fall into place.
North America has been very slow in accepting that the best need to be at the head of our soccer programs in order for it to grow. The “best” is a wide-open term that can refer to a lot of different things, so by best I mean we must find coaches, managers and trainers with world class knowledge to lead our programs. Once these types of figures are in place, a trickle down effect will occur where soccer as a whole in North America will become increasingly better because we have the best leading us. Although these types of leaders are currently not abundant in North America, there is a handfull of cases where we begin to see the right people taking the right positions. Here is a perfect example: his name is Jose Bento Vieira.
A brazilian star who has been through the ups and downs as a soccer player, coach, manager and leader, but who has co-existed with the best. I have had the priviledge of training in numerous sessions he has held and it is evident he has the capacity to change soccer in North America. Although it isn’t mentioned in his blog, he has embarked on a mission to create a soccer academy in Canada. His intent is to develop true soccer in this country and eventually abroad. Read his blog (click on his name above) and admire what he’s been through and where he aspires to go.
With so many professional managers in the world there are many things to consider when deciding who is the best of the best. Do they manage at club level? International level? What league do they manage? How much hardware do they have? How long have they been in charge at a club? The list is endless. However, one manager in particular stands out above them all and that is…
Learning from an early age that the coach is the one who makes the final decisions regarding the team and accepting this is an important part of becoming a mature soccer player. Many young players, and senior player for that matter, will argue with their coach. This doesn’t help them or their move forward.
Although the exact type of training that should be implemented varies, Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) likes to follow a basic training structure. Use this structure as the foundation for any practice but be sure to tailor the exercises to your team and to your players as no one team needs the same practice.
- Small square passing drill – keep away
- Possession and passing
- Strategic & Technical work
- Shooting & Finishing technique
- Practice game – 6v6, 7v7, 8v8, or 9v9