Feels good to just chuck up “a post” with a little less production work…almost like an email…
My coaching or “direction” experience is extremely limited. Captained a few teams growing up, coached and captained a few ultimate frisbee teams (if you want to talk about a sport that’s just scratching the service of tactical nous, well that’s it) and recently captain our men’s league team.
Yet, when I take a look out there I want to suggest–not mandate–some things that could improve the way teams manage their players, staff, etc.
Note these suggestions have probably: (1) already been considered and ruled out or (2) there’s a good reason (or FiFA regulation) why it’s not occurring already.
(1) All subs sit upstairs until they’re called upon
Yes, I get it. Keeping a sub down on the field level keeps their head in the game, keeps them rooting for their fellow countrymen in this case, and has them immediately close to be called upon when needed.
But, first, there are only three subs a game in most matches, so that means four players won’t get in and one will likely be the keeper (we’ll get back to that.)
Put them up in a skybox area with a coach.
First, they’ll get a better understanding of what the coach’s strategy is and whether their compatriots are executing it.
Secondly, they’ll learn what precisely they’re supposed, how they’re supposed to do whatever if they go in.
Beyond the match day, they’ll be able to share things with their teammates in practice that they’ve learned–specifically the keeper–and it will be an overall educational experience.
If you’re like us at TSG, looking at X’s and O’s on a graphic or looking at Tuesday’s photos from Turkey, tell a much better story of what’s occurring.
(2) Play friendlies in a climate or environment similar to the opponent’s home environment.
While it may not go down, I love the idea of the US playing in Egypt against Egypt. Mental toughness to focus on the game when the elements, human and non-human are not with you.
This past Fall’s Colombia game–I would have put that in Florida if at all possible.
Let the other team be as comfortable as possible, not as uncomfortable.
I do understand–and we wrote about it–that there are many challenges to playing a friendly. But games in the opponent’s environment– what about Trinidad & Tobago in Florida as well or Sweden in Boston–increase the opponent’s comfort level which should make them better.
(3) The national team coach sets the formation and player positioning throughout the organization–with some disclaimers.
Now this prescription might come for a USMNT technical director.
But is it odd that Brek Shea played forward on the U-20’s and now plays winger on the USMNT in his trials thus far.
I’m sure Bob Bradley meeting with Thomas Rongen and Wilmer Cabrera (great coach) all the time, but it should be a top down farm-system approach rather than a win at each step in the system plan, in my mind.
Yes, some well-roundedness might suffer, but take Spain for example…where Pique and Puyol have been playing on the backline since they were running around in Butragueño underoos.
(4) Bring veterans into camp
One of things I loved about Piotr Nowak’s Olympic team in 2008 was his calling in of Brian McBrdie. You don’t conjure up that type of leadership or calmness, especially with a group of youngsters.
One thing I never understand is why a veteran–ideally one who has tens of caps, competed on the world’s biggest stage and has just grown a smidgen to old for international duty–isn’t called in to camp to show the younger players the way, educate them on the game and provide an example.
Sticking the McBride metaphor, wouldn’t Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo or Robbie Findley have benefited if he were to take the trip with them to South Africa. More specifically to Bunbury or Agudelo, are they really going to learn more in camp from a veteran in Robbie or one in Brian McBride.
What about Tony Sanneh or Eddie Lewis teaching the leftbacks, Gregg Berhalter, the centerbacks or Pablo Mastroeni educating …someone.
You can’t replace experience, but you can learn from it.
(5) Get an app, social network for that…
Seriously why not? Especially for a national team.
One of the biggest issues for the national team is the lack of reps together as a team.
Why not have personalized application–mobile or otherwise–that allows Bob Bradley and crew to share training notes before a player gets into camp. Or allows players to ask questions in an open forum.
Or throw in video and scouting reports on opponents ahead of time–might have been help for say Tim Ream against Panama’s Blas Perez.
Anyway, just some scratch work ideas here. Add yours.