Coaching Convention Reflections – Mounir Fellahi

I wanted to share some insights I gained from the Anaheim soccer convention. First of all, I want to thank our club for providing this opportunity, as not many clubs do. It was a great experience on many levels, interacting with coaches from professional and national teams, as well as professional players. Getting their perspective of the game and learning from them was remarkable. It was great to see how humble they are, given their experience and knowledge. I have many takeaways across various facets of soccer, including technical, tactical, physical, psychological aspects, game analysis, game model, performance, and leadership. I can’t list all of them, but here are some of the key takeaways:

  1. Focus on teaching players the principles of play for attack and defense to build a strong foundation and enhance problem-solving skills on the field.
  2. Design training with the end goal in mind and contextualize each session, transitioning from simple to complex scenarios. Ensure clarity and realism, moving away from drill-based sessions. Incorporate the SCORE approach (Setup, Challenging, Opportunity, Realistic, Educate – did we effectively educate). Simplify training while adhering to principles of play, using constraints instead of restrictions, as restrictions might contradict the principles of play. Focus on the player’s perspective for clear and realistic training and evaluate team and individual performance based on principles of play, not just the result of a game.
  3. Set up activities that are intuitive and realistic for players, to promote problem-solving and the development of instincts aligned with our game model.
  4. Avoid stopping the game for single mistakes; instead, focus on recognizing and addressing patterns of errors.
  5. Encourage players to develop a love for the game before focusing on achieving excellence.
  6. Continuously align analysis with the game model to develop desired player instincts.
  7. Maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses. Concentrate on strategies that enhance player strengths and reduce weaknesses.
  8. Offer clear guidance on what players should observe during play and how to effectively use the information gathered, this can be done using a decision tree.
  9. Motivate players to coach each other, to enhance and check their understanding of tactical concepts such as creating overloads, occupying space, and applying defensive principles.
  10. Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for team assessment based on the team’s identity to assess performance and establish clear goals.
  11. Focus on the importance of mental health, help players to be distraction-free and block the noise, reminding them that it is just a game and to enjoy it to alleviate pressure, following Jürgen Klopp’s philosophy.
  12. Concentrate on enhancing players’ visual understanding of the game, focusing on what they see and how to adapt based on what the game presents, rather than what the coach sees.
  13. Focus on how to build connections and empathy with players, which has been shown to improve performance. This involves understanding their perspectives, fostering a supportive environment, and creating strong coach-player relationships.

I look forward to implementing what I learned and transferring this knowledge to our players. Most importantly, I aim to deepen their love for the game of soccer.

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