How should coaches communicate their tactics to players?
One of the most important things in coaching is how you communicate things. Is it clear what you want and do the players understand it? Can you explain what you want and after this can the players execute this on the pitch? If not can you coach them on how you want it different?
After talking with a lot of professional players, there’s always an unclarity in what the coach wants. Now, this is not a one-sided problem of course, players should be more assertive and ask when they don’t understand things and coaches should be better at explaining what they want and have thought things through more deeply.
I’ve heard a lot of stories of players where they didn’t know what the coach expected of them at all. And if the coach did communicate his expectations and plans, and a player would have questions then the coach would not know how to answer and almost get irritated, because the player asked questions. This results in an environment where players don’t dare to ask questions anymore, because they know the coach will not like it. This may result in irritation or even worse, the player gets benched.
I think another problem is that we overcomplicate things in football. Tactical concepts, training exercises, analysis, and much more. This is not only happening with coaches, but with everyone in football. This doesn’t help with the clarity of things in football. If you want to explain something, it should be short and clear. It shouldn’t take 10-15 minutes to explain one concept, then I think you don’t have a clear enough picture of it yet to explain it well enough.
So how can we make sure that everything is clear and that everyone knows what’s expected? One of the things I think is to not overcomplicate things, and keep it simple. If you can’t explain what you want in simple terms, then you probably haven’t thought it through well enough yet. That’s why we have a football dictionary at Tactalyse, everyone uses the same terminology to describe things, this minimizes that we talk past each other and that we always know what we talk about in discussions.
You should be able to answer every possible question about the topic and explain why it should be in that particular way and not in the other way. This will help players enormously, not only by knowing what they need to do but also why they have to do it. This will help again with how much they believe in the tactical plan.
So if you want to talk about football keep it simple, if you want something of your players, think things through, come up with every possible question and situation, and have an answer to this. Yes, this takes time, but this will also help your coaching or discussions about football enormously.
What do you think, is football this simple or is it complicated?