• 2 posts
    October 12, 2011 9:18 pm BST

    A Team Effort


    Throughout my time within the football community many have played, coached, criticised and most importantly watched what we all know to be the beautiful game.


    What I have come to learn is that the beautiful game is only half the story.


    Memories of Brazil through the decades,England vs Holland in '96, the unbeatables of Arsenal, or more recenlty the Spanish National team clenching both World and European Championship titles.


    These are not moments of brilliance, not a one in a million swing of the old trusty left foot, and for sure can not be put down to the luck of the draw. Instead the explanations lie within the training and most importantly the mentality of the athletes previously mentioned.


    Hours and hours of fighting the rain and wind, battling against the elements, and losing your footing on those dreadful muddy training facilities. We have all been there and have all worked ourselves till we get light headed and on the occasion throw up.


    Looking around at professional football today there is no question that becoming an athelete is part and parcel of the sport; the days of the less agile player has vanished, the high long ball to the biggest man within the club eradicated 99% of the time.


    Football is fast becoming a science itself and leaving almost any aspect of football to 'chance' is unacceptable.


    Players must be fit, players must not give the ball away, managers must make a sub at the right time.


    If EVERYTHING went according to plan, football just wouldn't be football, and wouldn't be followed by billions of people.


    In my opinion "if you want to be the best you must train like the best" therefore it is the sole priority of the player to become as physically fit as their body will allow. We can all get fit, that is just a matter of how hard you train and which methods work for you.


    Now this is the tricky part: on average, each player in the Premiership has 6 decisions to make every second.(just think how many decisions that is for the Barcelona team after having the ball for 10 minutes)

    It only takes one wrong decision to lose the ball, lose the game, or the trophy. But humans make mistakes; it's not about the mistakes we make, but about reducing the number of mistakes in a game.


    This is the main role of any coach; with guided discovery and the correct infomation at the correct time player can be taught through repetition to become more intelligent and use their brains rather than brawn.


    Football has been through the phases of favouring players who are built the biggest, then it was the time of the fittest; but size or fitness alone are no longer enough.

    I've seen some supremely athletic players who couldn't run through an under 5's team and I think to myself: if only they were given the same amount of football intelligence training as they has recieved stamina and strength training, they could go on to do great things.


    We need to break down the rules and walls of this superstition that Football, although being a team game, is all about the individuals.

    Every great team has a winning mentality as well as some of the most innovative players of their time.

    From the players through to the coach, a team is where every sports fanatic in any sport should base and build new platforms to bring the game even closer to being 'THE BEAUTIFUL GAME'.


    What is the next step in the evolution of football?  How can we produce the next generation of outstanding players?


    Mark Mansi

    Head Coach

    NRG Soccer Elite UK



    • 4294962697 posts
    October 12, 2011 10:21 pm BST
    Thank you Mark for such a beautifully written insight into the world of sports coaching, I hope it opens the minds of all potential sportmen sportswomen & most importantly sports children, our future. I hope this is the first of many pieces from coaches through out the world of sport & maybe just maybe these can help our sportspeople of the future
    • 4 posts
    October 14, 2011 6:23 pm BST
    Very interesting piece, 6 decisions a second who says men cant multitask
    • 66 posts
    October 18, 2011 8:18 pm BST
    Read this piece and commend you on your coaching ethics. However until more coach's realise the importance of no I in team, we will always trail other nations in major competitions. Take this week for instance, we lose Rooney and all of a sudden England have no chance of even qualifying. Then you look at the germans not a superstar in sight, but I'll bet that if anyone finnishes infront of them they will win the tournament. My youngest son is now 14 and when he was 7 he was asked to play in an arranged trial for one of our local pro teams. It went really well and he stood out against boys three years older than him. Over the next four years they trained my boy into the ground, putting more emphasis on being fit rather than how to play the game. He decided playing FIFA on playstation was more fun and quit. Now I know people will say you need to really want it to suceed, But how many young children have been lost to this way of coaching. Lets be honest do we admire the way Arsenal play because of the team ethic or because Walcott can run the fastest. Every team needs a bit of flair and we should encourage that along with team ethics, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar all great individuals but still important team players, just look at their assists record. Lets hope the likes of Hoddle, Best and Gascoigne will again wear three lions on a shirt. But dont hold your Breath.
    So as I said I commend you on your style of coaching And wish every sucess.
    • 2 posts
    October 24, 2011 7:59 pm BST

    Has professionalism taken the fun out of football?



    Thankyou for you replies, in this a few topics are up for discussion.

    Superstars or Super Team?  (and developing them)

    How to keep players interested?


    Also - What do you prefer fittest or finesse?


    Firstly, I agree with your thoughts on teamwork, every manager will tell you they would rather have 11 excellent players rather than 10 good and 1 great player. You need a team to work as a team and rely on eachother to build that spirit which every winning outfit posseses. In a sport which uses 11 players you have to be able to use each of them to their full potential or it all breaks down. I've never seen a team with individuals playing everywhere win anything.


    With regards to superstars every team needs them and posesses at least one, sometimes this is determined by abillity, talent, or even simply attitude. These special players lead the way, show everyone else that in any attribute, there is another level and you can reach it. No matter how good you think your team is, there is always better and these superstars always show the path of direction, as coaches we just need to be able to keep them on track. 


    You hit the nail on the head when you said that a pro club worked your son too hard and he turned to other interests. I see this all too often: when your'e coached in a narrow one dimensional way you get bored easily.

    Lets not tell the players what to do but just guide them and let them explore football as a sport and as a series of a million and one challenges to beat.

    I know a few professional players and it's the same for them: when you do around 70% fitness and core muscle work everyday and then train hard with high levels of concentration and repitition, it is hard to enjoy the game and you become so embroiled in the routine of the do's and don't's that your imagination and love for the game starts to fade.

    You have to be able to see the next step, next skill, move or shot without the boundaries of should I or shouldn't I. In every walk of life there are people who THINK and there are those that DO - let's develop young player who can do both.


    Athletes are great to watch, but there's only so many times I can watch certain sports due to the boundaries in which they are held e.g. 100m sprint will always be the same.

    They are all amazing to watch BUT no athelete will suddenly break into a brand new stride that will take 2 secs off the current record.

    Essentially that is what Barcelona has done, it is only our minds which can take us to the dizzy heights of perfection not our bodies.

    Do not get me wrong there will be no point in dreaming up these ideas if it wasn't humanly possible to carry them out. So being at your optimal fitness level is vital in carrying out the the commands from your brain.

    Its no coincidence that on 99% of the time the winning team are the fittest team ( but fitness alone doesn't mean they know how to play )


    Football is such an intriguing and complex subject which is why we all love it and are dedicated to achieving the best we can.


    Mark Mansi



    • 4294962697 posts
    October 27, 2011 2:27 pm BST

    99% of the time the winning team is the fittest team! I guess every coach is looking to give his team THE EDGE over the oppostion, in the past this could often be easily achieved simply by being fitter, training harder, sometimes the opposition would simply not be anywhere near as fit as you resulting 99% of the time in a win. I saw this a few years ago when a maverick Real Madrid team were playing in the spanish cup against a team a league below them who also had a man sent of in the first half. Real madrid were then easily beaten by their 10 man lower league opponents who were simply FAR fitter then the maverick REAL MADRID.

    In any business and football nowadays is a business the first rule is at minimuin MATCH your opponents then look for your edge! In todays football world being fit is no longer enough as EVERYONE should be fit, you edge? Skill, pace, intelligence & never forget natural ablity, because in my humble opinion you cannot beat natural ability, goalscorers most act on instinct, I did when in my first season playing southern amatuer league football i finished TOP GOAL SCORER with 25 goals, Yes I was fit , I trained hard but it was natural ability in a TEAM, yes a TEAM whos jigsaw puzzle worked perfectly to bring out the best in my game, for me thats the art of coaching, matching the oppostions strenghs and working on your own players edges putting together the TEAM JIGSAW to bring out the best in your own players natural ability and help guide them to success 

    This post was edited by sportingPETE at October 27, 2011 8:30 pm BST
    • 4294962697 posts
    October 27, 2011 10:13 pm BST



    I know that may sound crazy & I know nothing about football coaching and when I played football I lived to score goals, but how about a 10 minutes a side game with no goals, the winners are the team who make the most passes without the oppostion touching the ball. Just a thought!

    • 4294962697 posts
    March 1, 2014 1:56 pm GMT





    Football Coaches Assocation of Ireland