As the Beatles told us in 1964, there are some things money cannot buy. In their case, in the song in question, it was love eluding them. The latest edition of the official UEFA publication UEFA•technician highlights the things that cannot be bought by coaches and players, even if they are handsomely rewarded for their efforts.
In his editorial column, UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh gives a comprehensive rundown of why money does not mean everything in the professional game. "A bulging wallet does not help a coach to develop his leadership skills, to gain coaching know-how, experience, recognition or time," says Roxburgh. "Cash will not get him a coaching job, give him the energy he needs to survive in a demanding role, or make him a winner."
Similarly, it is not enough to have gifted players in a team. Other elements have to blend to bring success. "Teamwork, harmony in the camp, the health and fitness of the squad and consistency of performance are vital ingredients," Roxburgh explains, "and all are outside the influence of the purse strings."
Satisfaction, the UEFA technical director adds, does not bear a price tag. For technicians who work with young players, there is a pleasure and happiness in nurturing the next generation of players and coaches. Respect cannot simply be earned either. "The coaching profession, in all its forms, cannot buy respect – it can only be earned by continuing to promote competence, credibility and quality."
One coach deserving of massive respect is Spain's Vicente del Bosque, and the man who led his country to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and won, among other honours, two UEFA Champions League crowns with Real Madrid CF, is the featured interviewee in this latest edition. Noted for his human qualities in addition to his talent and passion, Del Bosque lends a fascinating insight into how he works and why Spain has set the footballing pace in recent years. "For me, the main thing is that we broke the complex that we were a minor country," he says.
Some coaches cannot be cloned. Think of FC Barcelona's Josep Guardiola and Manchester United FC's Sir Alex Ferguson – both accumulators of domestic and international honours, and vastly respected individuals in their profession. With the help of Guardiola's players and coaching contemporaries, UEFA•technician examines the tactical and technical keys to Guardiola's impressive successes with a brilliant Barcelona team: individual motivation, allied to tactical evolution which strives to avoid predictability with, of course, some magnificent talents thrown into the mix.
UEFA•technician looks at the relationship between those who play football and those who administer it. It cites UEFA as a positive example of an organisation which is combining administrative duties as European football's governing body with the need to have a footballing heartbeat at its core. This is demonstrated by the thriving Colovray sports centre opposite the House of European Football in Nyon, where young referees are trained and coaches come from other continents to exchange ideas and learn. "Mixing the tracksuits and suits at UEFA's headquarters creates a real football environment," says UEFA•technician.
Coach education is a crucial component of UEFA's technical work – based on the assumption that well-trained coaches help breed good footballers. Moreover, the UEFA Coaching Convention helps to raise standards throughout Europe, to bring the coaching profession proper recognition and to promote international exchange. This issue underscores the unstinting work being put in by UEFA, its specialist Jira Panel and its member associations in this area – and how coach education is vital in preparing coaches for the tough realities of the "front line".
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