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Park the Bus

By sports coach UK Coaching Network Manager Colin Bennett

You don’t need to park the bus if you have the right coach.

Oh how I would have loved to come up with that line. To be that creative, that good with the English language, wouldn’t that be something. But I didn’t as it came from the keyboard of Henry Winter (@henrywinter), football correspondent of the Telegraph talking about Chelsea and a certain Jose Mourinho.

Written in connection to Jose’s recent declaration about the way a certain team defended when they visited Stamford Bridge it relates to the Chelsea win less than one week later at top of the table free scoring Manchester City. All the pundits were telling us that Chelsea would do exactly as West Ham had to them and park the bus. But they didn’t, they were tactically spot on.

And this is where I think Jose is so clever. All week everyone was concentrating on his comments, telling us he was going to play in a certain way and in truth he had deflected everyone away from the way they had played in the last game and he had misdirected everyone about how he would play in the next. Not only is he is the master of the press conference but whilst everyone is working out what is smoke and what is mirrors, he is busy preparing the players for the next challenge. Other phrases that came out afterwards were “meticulously prepared”, “tactically astute” and “masterclass”.

Whilst the world and his/her partner were fretting about the previous game he had already moved onto preparing for the next.

Born to coach like that or taught? I asked a similar question of an ex-Army Officer whether leaders were born or made by the system. Her answer was that whilst some people were born with the traits to be leaders it was how those traits were honed, polished and generally supported along the way that made the people “great” leaders.

And who was it who said “the harder I practice the luckier I get”?

This is Jose’s journey:

His father was a professional footballer and then coach. Jose would observe training sessions that his father took and then when his own football career didn’t work out he attended the Technical University of Lisbon to study Sports Science and then worked for 5 years teaching PE in schools. He also attended coaching courses and finally became a youth team coach, working his way up the coaching ladder until he spotted the opportunity to become a translator for Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon. A strange and unconventional step but one that lead to him becoming assistant coach to Sir Bobby. He then moved with him to Porto and finally Barcelona. When Louis Van Gaal succeeded Sir Bobby, Jose stayed as assistant again learning invaluable lessons from another world renowned coach.

The rest as they say is history as he became a manager in his own right but I hope you can see the “luck” he has received on his way to the top.

Study of, or working with other coaches is therefore another tool in the coaches’ armoury and David Turner from the University of Hertfordshire is discussing ArseneWenger as part of Herts Sports Partnership’s Annual Coach Education Week.

May I humbly suggest this is an excellent way to start your studies of the great coaches:



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