What are the roles and responsibilities of a football coach?

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The figure of the football coach is of great importance nowadays, as he or she carries out a series of functions and, above all, responsibilities that must be considered if the situation of a team is to be understood correctly. Moreover, to help in this work, there are numerous websites run by coaches to share advice and resources.

We often hear and read comments such as «the team is the reflection of the coach» or «the team has the attitude of the coach» and some of these statements are probably accurate at certain times, but at others they may be far removed from the reality of the clubs. All decisions made by coaches, even their smallest details, are questioned and therefore there are several qualities that will help coaches to project the best of themselves to the players, on the field and off the field.

Work and competencies of a coach

Designing and conducting training sessions. For this task, it is appropriate to set the duration of the sessions and organizse them according to the competencies that the team will have. In addition, setting the structure of the training, such as starting with an introductory talk and ending with a short game, for example, will achieve better physical and mental results.

Set specific and general objectives for the team and motivate them to achieve these goals. For these goals to be achieved, it is essential that the coach brings seriousness to the team, but also joy; it is no use humiliating the players for a mistake – which would demotivate them – but just correcting them firmly.Managing matches, not only while the match is in progress, but also before and after the match. In this respect, it is important that the coach is able to convey his ideas clearly and communicate correctly with the individual players.

Establish a pattern of play, for example, discuss how you are going to defend, how you are going to attack, what set-piece strategies you are going to follow and, in short, establish a connection between the whole team.

Skills and strenghts of a coach

The football instructor must take care of many issues and also organise everything based on many aspects that he has to control, however, he must always accept that there is a part that does not depend on him, such as, for example, the state of the pitch, the situation in which the players find themselves and the weather, among others. The work that coaches have is very broad, but they must always be aware of the extent of their role and be aware of what is in their hands in order to do it as well as possible. 

Successful coaches have very specific qualities that set them apart from the rest and these are skills that can be trained and improved with practice.

  • Hunger for knowledge: the coach must be constantly learning. 

  • Communication: all the coach’s knowledge is useless if he is not able to transmit it so that the players understand him.

  • Empathy: he must be able to put himself in the players’ shoes – especially when one of them makes a mistake – and in the opponents’ shoes to gain an advantage in matches.

  • Organisation: he must plan and maintain order in his work, he must know how to be successful if he wants to achieve the objectives set.

  • Motivation: the coach must know his players perfectly, know how to manage their emotions and motivate the whole team.

Emotional intelligence: be able to analyze emotions and not get carried away by them. For example, if a foul is whistled for a foul that was not fair, there is no point in getting angry; the best thing to do is to channel that feeling and work on it for future occasions.

What should the coach reflect in footballers

If we compare football to a film, we could say that the protagonists are the players and that they, in turn, are surrounded by other actors. A very important role is played by the coaches, as they carry a lot of responsibility, which can lead to stress or stressful situationsHowever, this is precisely what they must avoid transmitting to the team.

In addition, it is imperative that coaches lead by example. It would be ineffective for a coach to teach players to avoid arguments on the pitch with the opposing team or even with the referee if the coach then takes part in such conflicts. Thus, when a player has had a bad reaction or made a mistake, the coach should convey a sense of calm and serenity.

What does it look like from the outside?

Even if coaches are more relaxed during a match, this does not mean that they are calm, but probably that they try to appear so, as the players are the first to notice the shouts and movements that the instructor makes to them. Over the years, the coach grows with his experiences, but, even today, the public still questions, in some cases, the coach who has never been an elite player with many awards and victories.

An example of the fact that if a «great» player who has already retired becomes a coach, they trust him more is Xabi Alonso.

A coach’s success and victories are also those of the team and the players, just as they are those of the fans. Winning or losing a game depends on many factors, although sometimes it is the coach who takes all the blame.

There must be care, trust and a lot of communication between the coach and the whole club in order to always continue to enjoy the football and the achievements, when there are any. 

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