On the first day with a Göteborg based club Qviding FIF, chatting football with youth development coaches about aligning personal and club philosophies.
The club like to play progressive possession based football, developed through numerical superiority and positional rotation and interchange (which is pleasing).
This initiated a discussion around adapting to problems that might arise in the game that may sit outside of individual and club values.
Me being me, asked the question “is this negotiable or non-negotiable?” highlighting opponents may try to stop your team from playing your preferred style.
To this, the coach said it’s a non-negotiable and will continue to play that way regardless of the levels of success but providing his players with adaptations to help them to potentially gain success (again, I commend the coaches beliefs).
This led me to thinking about playing styles, and can we afford to be fixed on how the game should be played? Communicating those messages with the players within your team? Or do we need to educate players around the principles of the game, and engage them in the decision-making process linked to the game they see in front of them?
The discussion became very interesting and there was adequate rationale on both sides to establish each individual point being raised. An example I gave around playing through the thirds and losing possession in the central third on multiple occasions, due to the opponent being compact and screening to intercept forward passes.
I asked the coach, if the opponents are compact in the central third but in our own half, what might that create behind the opponent? And would it be such a taboo to pass into a space behind the opponent for a forward player to run into? To which he expressed his fear about being branded a ‘long-ball team…’
After the conversation escalated drastically, the general consensus was that typically we both accepted the other had a fair point and both would consider the others point in their own philosophy and development.
For me, the massive learning was to remained focused on the objective at hand to try and find a solution to the obstacles we (me and the players) face.
Finally, I would like to extend a few points of my gratitude to Jannik and Kristoffer at Qviding FIF for being so kind and accommodating in my time with the club; it was truly an amazing learning experience and opportunity to get to know you guys better, thank you. To Aleksandar, for allowing me to observe and mentor during my time with Qviding, and to watch and work with the men’s team; which was extremely kind.
And finally, Owen Southgate at NYFA; for a whole range of reasons but most importantly, inspiring me to continue on this path no matter how hard it gets, it’s worth it in the long run, and reminded me that its very rewarding. Sweden, like always, it been a pleasure; but finding it harder to leave every time… I wonder what could be on the horizon.