Game model and players relationship

The game model

The game model is nothing more than a set of relationships that the coach idealizes. Whether offensive or defensive, everything ends up in the relationships of the player with and without the ball. Relationships involving decisions and therefore also the individual, the player, each of the players alone. The relationships can be with a group of players, intersectoral, intrassectoral or collective. However, the players also create and perfect their relationships. And these are as important as those created, thought and stimulated by the coach, and only comes with the time of practice with all the colleagues.

Knowing that a teammate passes the ball at a given moment and therefore I will accelerate or slow down the movement to be the solution that he intends, where he intends. Knowing that a teammate is so intelligent and, thus, can perceive everything that surrounds him and the ball can be passed, even if he is pressured, just because both knows he will deliver a first touch and therefore create (another) pressure bait (so the opponent needs to adjust).

Knowing that the teammate for whom I’m going to pass the ball only plays with the right foot, or even being left-footed has ease in using the right foot, or knowing that he is so strong in the reception that the ball can be passed always tense for him to be able to frame the goal faster and that even not being able to do it, has the technical (and perceptual) resources to leave it playable.

Knowing that with the player W in the situation X I should approach and how close, but that in the same situation X with the player Y I should not approach so much or even I should move away.

All these examples are few for the amount of relationships that the game’s own dynamics establishes.

The training model

For me it only makes sense to think of training as strengthening these relationships – the relations created, stimulated, requested, demanded by me. But also the relationships that even though I require it, the players are the ones who execute them and, therefore, they improve them. Because, and taking an example again, all coaches can help the player without a ball in the timing of the rupture movement, but only this player will realize the perfect timing to start or accelerate the movement, as well as how (with what force, direction, where exactly, etc.) the ball will be passed.

And it varies from the players that is carrying the ball, even though the context is exactly the same. And that information needs to be understood by  them.

In the training session the choice of players is made based in those relations and in order for these relationships to be worked and improved by themselves. All training sessions are a session to get to know each other (in detail). And us, as coaches, should create the ideal context for them to know each other, always guided to what we want, without forgetting that the players are the ones who play.

“The company marks me a lot. Those who are playing in front of me. That they receive well so that I can put the tense pass between the opposite midfield and defense, and thus my passes are more effective.”

– Xabi Alonso