Soccer: Felix Magath about Coaching for Success

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Communication with Footballers

How do you address your players?

The answer to the question is difficult for me because I am careful not to generalize. The situations in a soccer team are constantly changing and so you have to be flexible. As a coach, you are dependent on players who are in a process of development and change, both athletically and personally.

What influences do you mean?

The players live in a sporty and private environment and are exposed to a variety of influences. The imponderables I have to deal with as a coach include e.g. diseases, injuries or private atmospheric disorders such as lovesickness. Due to these diverse influencing factors, I can only plan with a soccer team at short notice, sometimes only from day to day.

Football is the most complicated game ever. Unlike chess, the skills of the pieces or players are very different. Basically, I observe the players and evaluate: „What can a player do, what does he do, how and where is it best to integrate it into a system?“ From this knowledge we develop the game system of a team.

Merging Individuals

Does it matter whether you and the players spend a lot of time together and whether they understand each other ?

Human understanding is a noble request that you can hardly manage in football – even with a small squad of 24 people. We just have too many different players on our team. Playing at Schalke 04 there was a South American, a Greek and a Croat, to name a few. These are so different mentalities and cultures that there are other difficulties besides the linguistic ones.

Then football acts as a connecting element?

Football and its rules are not enough. With team rules that are the same for everyone, you achieve greater acceptance among each other. They serve as a connecting element and I have had good experiences with it. I set these rules and I think they are helpful for young people and this framework gives them security.

Leistungssport 2/2010