What makes a great coach?

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Post by rincon Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:35 pm

I started reading the Madrid posters and they have a lot of good debates about tactics.

What makes a great coach? Should a coach impose a style on his squad and be judged on his ability to mold them or should he adapt to his players and find a fitting solution? Somewhere in between?

I'm a firm proponent of flexibility. Thoughts on style and philosophy are crucial, but they need to be built on realistic solutions for your players. Then again, I follow Serie A, and the Italian school for as long as I've been alive has been about tactical flexibility and outsmarting the opponent more than imposing a certain game. Big Spalletti fan with his ever changing approaches. The tinkerman himself is destroying the EPL. Ancelotti has never had a defining formation in his career. Conte went from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 to 3-5-2 in the CMs and CBs proved their worth. Sarri going from his diamond formation to the 4-3-3 to turn around Napoli's season. Guidolin reinventing the wheel when his squad got sold every summer. Allegri playing uneven and unrecognizable formations all the time. That's my favorite part of football. It comes from a single school though.

Spanish fans seem to have a different view. I imagine Barca in particular is the opposite end. What about the other leagues?
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Post by Art Morte Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:06 pm

rincon wrote:
What makes a great coach? Should a coach impose a style on his squad and be judged on his ability to mold them or should he adapt to his players and find a fitting solution? Somewhere in between?


Umm, neither. A good coach, maybe. A good coach finds the right tactical system for his squad. But a great coach? He is someone like Arsene Wenger. Always capable of rejuvenating the team. There are a lot of good coaches out there who get the best out of their squad, but fail to keep them great. Great coaches are those who can keep their team competitive for years and years on.
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Post by Jay29 Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:18 pm

What makes a great coach? Should a coach impose a style on his squad and be judged on his ability to mold them or should he adapt to his players and find a fitting solution? Somewhere in between?

It depends on the circumstances the manager is in. Someone who's been at a club for a long time should probably be judged on his ability to get players playing a certain way, whereas someone that goes from club to club should be judged on how he adapts to new squads each time.

For me, a great coach is someone who's able to get the best out of the players he has. This could be done tactically, through coaching or man management. The tactics and preparation are important too but there are several ways a team can win games and trophies; one of the few things is common is players putting in high level performances consistently.

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Post by Kick Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:22 pm

A great coach is someone who can keep your team winning, year in, year out.

regardless of anything else.
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Post by Kaladin Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:25 pm

4-3-1-2
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Post by Art Morte Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:29 pm

Kick wrote:A great coach is someone who can keep your team winning, year in, year out.

regardless of anything else.


That would be no one, then?
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Post by RealGunner Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:34 pm

A good coach is someone who can motivate players at every opportunity. He should be able to stop them from being complacent if it comes to that and a good coach should be able to translate his own mentality to the players about the importance of every single game.

A good coach should also keep his player's fitness to the level required. Should be able to improve on his players' weaknesses while polish their raw talent and ability


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Post by Onyx Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:35 pm

Depends on the coach really. If a coach is specialist in playing one way, or has a preferred way of playing, like Pep for example, then it's best to stick to your strengths but adapt to the squad in small ways. Pep utilises the wings a lot with Bayern because that's where the strength is with their squad. But he doesn't abandon his overall philosophy at any point.

I think sometimes it's important for a team to master a specific style, as opposed to being a jack of all trades. The problem I see with this Real Madrid side is that we aren't a master of anything. Not defense or possession. The style of play is just basic attacking football.

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Post by Kick Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:36 pm

Art Morte wrote:
Kick wrote:A great coach is someone who can keep your team winning, year in, year out.

regardless of anything else.


That would be no one, then?


SAF, Pep, Mourinho to an extent, Conte, Simeone, Allegri all come to mind.

I don't mean winning titles, I mean winning in general.
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:38 pm

I'm debating between two #1 criteria:

Makes his players better than they were: a good coach will be able to recognize potential in his squad, no matter the age, and improve them. Whether you look at guys as different as Cruyff and Simeone going through a multitude of others great coaches not only bring out the best in their players but are also great teachers.

Makes his team play like better than the sum of the individual parts: It's easy to buy yourself into a team of superstars, it's not easy to get them all excelling in a setup and making each other play better. A great coach will make the team play better than the players.
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Post by McLewis Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:57 pm

The right mix of tactical know-how, personality, flexibility and a huge set of balls.

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Post by M99 Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:02 am

ES wrote:4-3-1-2


Laughing
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Post by Kebab Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:10 am

Whatever makes a great captain makes a great coach too.
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Post by Socur Toxanarosa Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:05 am

Art Morte wrote:But a great coach? He is someone like Arsene Wenger.


No Laughing
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Post by Turok_TTZ Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:29 am

Art Morte wrote:
rincon wrote:
What makes a great coach? Should a coach impose a style on his squad and be judged on his ability to mold them or should he adapt to his players and find a fitting solution? Somewhere in between?


Umm, neither. A good coach, maybe. A good coach finds the right tactical system for his squad. But a great coach? He is someone like Arsene Wenger. Always capable of rejuvenating the team. There are a lot of good coaches out there who get the best out of their squad, but fail to keep them great. Great coaches are those who can keep their team competitive for years and years on.

Is this bait?
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Post by guest_07 Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:42 am

see diego simeone

see a great coach

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Post by Art Morte Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:42 am

Turok_TTZ wrote:
Art Morte wrote:
rincon wrote:
What makes a great coach? Should a coach impose a style on his squad and be judged on his ability to mold them or should he adapt to his players and find a fitting solution? Somewhere in between?


Umm, neither. A good coach, maybe. A good coach finds the right tactical system for his squad. But a great coach? He is someone like Arsene Wenger. Always capable of rejuvenating the team. There are a lot of good coaches out there who get the best out of their squad, but fail to keep them great. Great coaches are those who can keep their team competitive for years and years on.

Is this bait?


It isn't. That's how I separate good and great managers. A good manager gets the best out of his squad, but is inconsistent with the long-term results, because he doesn't know how to keep the squad consistently good. A great manager is someone who keeps the team consistently good. Wenger does that.
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Post by Turok_TTZ Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:28 am

We can only disagree, still feels like a bait post so I'm not pressing further.
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Post by Casciavit Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:21 am

A great coach is someone who can get his team to buy into his ideas and systems. Once players buy into that, everything is much easier.

The best coaches teach their players another way of thinking/playing. If you look at the greatest coaches in history and ask some of their former players about him or her, they will all tell you that 'coach x' taught them another way of playing that nobody else had taught them.
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Post by CM Pep Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:43 am

In the business world coaching, training and managing all have separate meanings.

In football you see them overlapping many times. I would say that a good coach (in football) has the basic job description of getting good results. This can involve transfers, scouting and a whole lot of off the field activities.

Wenger is a prime example of the off the field stuff: setting up an economic model w.r.t the new stadium, setting up a huge scouting network etc.

What the OP is aimed at asking though, I think, is the tactical aspects.

And it all boils down to, imo, the values of the club. Does the club have a preferred way to play football? If yes, are they willing to forego it for the sake of results? I know that this is the case for Barca. We will never accept boring football just because it means we are winning. I remember Cruyff blasting Pep once after a 4-0 win against santander in the 09/10 season.

Many clubs don't have that much rigidity, in which case I think the manager is free to do what he likes in order to get the best results. And in that case a good coach is one who consistently gets good results (which could again mean different things for different set of supporters. Chelsea will not be happy with 8th place, Bournemouth would be elated).

When you speak of Real, and this argument that the players are what is hindering Zidane, I would say that Zidane too has a role in that. When he hasn't had a chance to create his own team, he should make the best of what is at his disposal. Now I'm not saying he's done good or bad, mathematically he's alright (leaving aside the Wolfsburg game). In any case the judgment on him shouldn't be out till he gets a full season. But what I'm getting at is that it is played both ways: You want your style of play? Make sure you have the players. You don't have the players? Either teach your current crop or adapt to a newer style.
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Post by Hapless_Hans Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:22 pm

^Great post Thumbs up
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Post by BORUSSIA!! Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:51 pm

A coach that wins a lot. The league, domestic cup, CL, Euro, Copa, World Cup, Treble, FIFA Manger of the Year. The lot.

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Post by sportsczy Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:08 pm

Great coaches have a playing philosophy and style... very distinct ones. The reason they succeed is that they are able to convince their squad to buy into their philosophy and compromise some of their game for it if necessary. They're also able to keep everyone motivated for most games.... know how to push the right buttons.

Great tactician + great salesperson/communicator + great motivator = great coach.

Pretty much the same traits as a great CEO needs.

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Post by Guest Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:17 pm

Depends on different factors and circumstances.

If a coach is coming into a team that he has had no influence over, I'd say a great coach would be able to adapt and make the most with what he has. Just because you have a philosophy, doesn't mean your current roster will thrive under those same tactics/ideals. So I'd say a great coach should be flexible and able to get results with his current ingredients.

Another aspect for me is a coach with vision. This can be dependent on management and how much influence he has over transfers. That being said, I think a great coach builds a team with a purpose. With this new transfer market one has to be flexible and able to access talent and how well any given player will fit into that system. Adding to this aspect, I feel it's crucial for a coach to also have backup plans and the ability to implement different formations against different oppositions (when necessary). If you only have a plan A, you're bound to get figured out, or come across certain opponents don't struggle against your one system.

Player motivation/getting the most out of your team/player management. The system should always be greater than any one individual. Players get sold, players demand to be sold and if you rely on individuals, I believe you're setting yourself up for failure. At the same time, you're only as strong as your weakest link and it's crucial to make everyone buy into your ideals.

I might be forgetting some aspects, but lastly I will have to agree with the homie McLewis - BIG BALLS. A coach has to stand up for what he believes and demand that management doesn't stand in his way. Sure you might not always get what you want, but if you're constantly giving in, you set yourself up for failure. In this world, you have to fight for what you believe and if a team isn't willing to get behind you, you will be compromising yourself and everything you stand for.

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Post by CM Pep Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:55 pm

The Black Sheep wrote:Depends on different factors and circumstances.

If a coach is coming into a team that he has had no influence over, I'd say a great coach would be able to adapt and make the most with what he has. Just because you have a philosophy, doesn't mean your current roster will thrive under those same tactics/ideals. So I'd say a great coach should be flexible and able to get results with his current ingredients.

Another aspect for me is a coach with vision. This can be dependent on management and how much influence he has over transfers. That being said, I think a great coach builds a team with a purpose. With this new transfer market one has to be flexible and able to access talent and how well any given player will fit into that system. Adding to this aspect, I feel it's crucial for a coach to also have backup plans and the ability to implement different formations against different oppositions (when necessary). If you only have a plan A, you're bound to get figured out, or come across certain opponents don't struggle against your one system.

Player motivation/getting the most out of your team/player management. The system should always be greater than any one individual. Players get sold, players demand to be sold and if you rely on individuals, I believe you're setting yourself up for failure. At the same time, you're only as strong as your weakest link and it's crucial to make everyone buy into your ideals.

I might be forgetting some aspects, but lastly I will have to agree with the homie McLewis - BIG BALLS. A coach has to stand up for what he believes and demand that management doesn't stand in his way. Sure you might not always get what you want, but if you're constantly giving in, you set yourself up for failure. In this world, you have to fight for what you believe and if a team isn't willing to get behind you, you will be compromising yourself and everything you stand for.


The visionary part rings really true. I like coaches that are process oriented more than people oriented. One of the major reasons why SAF was able to thrive. Even when his best players would leave he had the ability to consistently succeed.

Probably the only thing he wasn't good at was the ability to replace himself. Oh well, can't have it all.
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