Fabio Capello recently was quoted recently as saying “ when you speak about tactics, you don't use a lot of words. I don't have to speak about a lot of different things. Maximum 100 words’. This was said while discussing his limited vocabulary in English while coaching Englands national team.
I realize coaching a national team is a very unusual situation where you don’t have that much contact with the players.
I also realize Capello has coached at a level many of us could only dream of reaching.
However, the idea of only being able to communicate with players with such a limited vocabulary and thinking that outside of tactics there is no need or ability to communicate with these players is something I find incredible. To me, understanding the players, understanding what makes them tic, what motivates them, how they interact with their teammates etc is such a huge part of coaching I can’t imagine not being able to do so.
Each summer I work at one soccer camp and the most enjoyable and valuable time is the 15 minute walk to and from the field with the players. I can run a session on the field and keep asking if anyone has any questions and even if everyone says they understand, while walking back to the field, at least one player will come over and ask a question that for some reason or not, they weren’t willing to ask on the field. It might have to do with the previous session or some other session or something completely different but if I couldn’t have that communication, I would feel like we truly missed something.
Other times, I have spoken to a team and some players have understood and others haven’t. I can then say the same thing but using different words and then the rest understand. Without the ability to pick and choose from different words, the message would not get through to all.
When dealing with youth players there is also such a great need for things outside of technical and tactical training. The importance of working with them on life skills, on nutrition, on life is as important, if not more important than what can be taught on the field.
As written earlier, coaching at the national team level is something I have never experienced and while it might not be as important to worry about things such as motivation (if a player has to be motivated to play for the national team they shouldn’t be on the team in the first place) or time management (these are adults playing at the highest level so I assume they have this down) when working with youth, I want to be able to communicate as much as possible, with as many words as possible.
I guess if I could only use 100 words and could coach the national team or could communicate in great detail and continue to make a difference with youth players, I’ll choose the latter. I guess that is one reason (among many others I”m sure) I’ll never be a national team coach.
Have a great day!