Rethinking soccer coaching methods

2020-05-07 Soccer/Football
Jonas Eidevall, FC Rosengård on soccer coaching - Spiideo

Jonas Eidevall is the head coach of FC Rosengård, the most successful women’s soccer club in Sweden, with 11 Swedish championships since 1986. Last year Jonas led this team to another Swedish championship and this year, depending on the situation with Covid-19, they will enter the UEFA Women’s Champion’s League. The world is slowing down, but it doesn’t have to mean your training and preparation will have to. Here Jonas shares his thoughts on motivation, leadership and training. 

Football is about how you perform ideas. Not only as an individual, but as a collective.

Jonas Eidevall, head coach, FC Rosengård

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Practicing different skills

The upside to the situation with Covid-19 and its effect on soccer is that you have to get creative in finding new ways to coach and practice. For most this means practicing at home. To support this e.g. MLS in the U.S., has gathered great at home training drills for everyone to use. Sweden is unique in the sense that it’s still allowed to train soccer on a field together as long as there is no contact between the players.

During this special time many coaches are rethinking their coaching methods. Jonas is one of them. To him it is important to practice many different skills simultaneously. To do so, he refrains from telling the players beforehand what the challenge of the training is. In every game, things can change quickly and a player needs to be tactically flexible. That’s why Jonas sets up his practices to teach players how to anticipate change fast. He wants them to be as great at solving a situation as recognising what kind of situation they are facing. According to him a lot of coaches and teams might miss this part. They explain too much beforehand and thus won’t let the player practice both skills. 

Playing unopposed

A lot of practices today are about playing opposed where you base your decision making on your opponent in a game realistic environment. This is of course a great way to train but the more opponents you have, the less repetitive sequences you will experience. This, in turn, will create fewer automated player patterns, which are important later to be able to fall back on. That’s why Jonas sees a lot of advantages in for now, playing unopposed. It’s possible to create more repetition when coaching soccer. Jonas and FC Rosengård are grateful that they are still allowed to train together and are due to the situation also practicing unopposed.

When we meet, Jonas is practicing break through patterns with his team, what triggers players to start a penetrating run and pattern recognition. The big takeaway from this kind of training is the many repetitions. What Jonas tries to accomplish is when he is coaching soccer is to make situations happen more frequently either by adding some constraints to an 11 vs. 11 game or by reducing the number of players and the pitch size. He often also removes one meter from the available area to give the players a little bit less time on the ball. Jonas is very clear about the fact that his approach is in no way unique.

The difference between good and great teams and players is not necessarily different ideas. It’s the quality of how fast and efficient you can perform those ideas. 

Jonas Eidevall, head coach, FC Rosengård

In order to be a good football player, it’s fundamental that you need to prepare before, perform during and reflect on your performance after practice. Part of this process is reviewing training sessions and film. However, if you want your players to review the clips you have to make it super accessible. Jonas and FC Rosengård use Spiideo and coaches and players use it on their computer, iPhone or iPad. Many players watch their clips on the bus or when travelling, immediately after training. 

Considering the small amount we spend on Spiideo it’s a very multifaceted system that saves us time and energy during presentations and when coaching.

Jonas Eidevall, head coach, FC Rosengård

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Understanding motivation

When you are coaching soccer, how do you motivate a team to outperform themselves? Automatically, different leadership styles come to mind. According to Jonas, a good leader asks himself “where do I put my bar” and “what is good enough”? It’s a thin line between demanding a lot and, especially in these times, demanding too much. Leadership is one of the important parts of being a good or a great coach. So how does Jonas approach being a coach/leader? 

From a tactical perspective, leadership is about giving a team all the tools they need to solve a situation and to make sure they are prepared for anything.

Jonas Eidevall, head coach, FC Rosengård

The biggest challenge when you are coaching soccer is if your team is not prepared enough. Then your team will be lost and you’ve failed as a leader. That’s how Jonas sees it. Another part of leadership, important to him, is about finding what motivates people. To many, leadership is about getting results. In the end it often is, but for him it has never been the main focus. 

Honestly, I don’t worry a lot about results. I worry about not knowing what motivates my players.

Jonas Eidevall, head coach, FC Rosengård

Some will be driven by just being able to perform at the highest level every day. They need to be constantly challenged. Other players will simply be motivated by having a result or scoring a number of goals. When knowing what motivates each player Jonas can design environments for everyone to drive the best possible performances. To him, that’s what in the end will drive results and hopefully make FC Rosengård a serious contender in the Champions League this or next year.