About me

MY PHILOSOPHY ON FOOTBALL

Thirty-plus years of experience in top football as player, coach and technical director have given me great knowledge and insight in all aspects of the football game. I would describe myself as a communicator, motivator and innovator. Being a typical teamplayer, I thrive in a dynamic, ambitious and innovative organization where people have the guts to change traditional habits for improvement.

Through the book The Gold Mine Effect and Epsteins’ Sports Gene I got interested in talent identification in football and in modern ways of scouting new players very early on.
What interests me as a coach too is the approach towards corner- and freekicks and the difference this makes in games.
I was part of the preparation committee of KNVB for the symposium about the future of Dutch football. Working in all these different roles in football gave me great insight in the football proces. It also made it clear to me that the role of head coach is the role that I am most valuable in.

The last few years have seen a lot of innovative developments in football. For instance better video analysis in games as well as in training sessions, better monitoring of game- and training load to prevent injuries, better diets, improved scouting, psychologists, sleep patterns etc.
I welcome all of these initiatives to improve the team results. I also welcome the specialists who come with it. The most important fact is to use these specialists to win games.
Teams who are physically in better shape will always have the advantage. Especially when the season wears on and the team has to play many games. Good knowledge of load and recovery principles will help a lot by making an effective program and prevent injuries.
The technical ability and mental preparation can make a huge difference in winning and losing but I believe that the tactical game plan will be the glue that makes the team tick. This is the area of the head coach.

Making a game plan is easy. To make a game plan that fits your players needs good insight. To convince the players to stick to and execute the plan under pressure of external factors (opponent, referee, supporters) needs training time, trust and results.
I have studied the successful teams over the last few years and see a changing game. Germany won the World Cup in a very dynamic style. They dominated most of the games with a lot of ball possession and had 11 players working hard in defense. They played with a goal keeper, two defenders and eight midfielders. Chili won the Copa America with a goalkeeper, one defender, eight midfielders and one striker. Barcelona won the Champions League with a very impressive dominating display in the final. They also played with a goalkeeper, one defender, eight midfielders and one striker.
All three teams have a lot of movement in all positions which makes it difficult for the opponent the control them. In ball possession these teams have the type of players and the discipline to keep possession the ball and wait for the right moment to create a quality scoring chance. All of the teams also had the will to win the ball back as soon as possible. They are comfortable to press the opponent in all areas to regain possession.

I often see teams with less quality and less discipline create low quality scoring chances. They rush the shot or shoot from far away from difficult angles. The players have no eye for the better key pass.
Most of these lesser quality teams can not press high up the pitch all the time because they tend to lose the ball quicker after gaining possession. Better teams use possession play to determine the rhythm of the game. Sometimes quick when there is an opportunity to score, sometimes a slow build-up to recover from the pressing.

In the modern game it is in my view important to find players who are good in all areas, technically, tactically, physically and mentally. Who can play in a possession orientated football style with a lot of position changes.
The head coach has to know how to organize and convince the players. He has to read the game and prepare the players for what is needed to execute the game plan. He also has to be able to change the strategy if needed in certain games. He has to prepare a plan B or C in case of certain circumstances. What to do if we are 1-0 up or down? What to do with 10 men or against 10 players?

These are the challenges for the head coach.
This is what I like to do and what I am good at.

About this website’s subtitle

“A personal view on football”.

Start van deze website 2014
Na mijn vertrek bij de Graafschap in december 2013 heb ik de tijd om me weer in bredere zin op voetbalgebied te oriënteren. Het bijhouden van deze site  dwingt mij tot nadenken over onderwerpen en gebeurtenissen die op mijn pad komen.  Verder denk ik te kunnen bijdragen aan het ontwikkelen van kennis over en toepassing van innovatie en wetenschap in het Nederlands voetbal, zodat die nieuwe inzichten en hopelijk vooruitgang op gaat leveren.

Ik wil met deze site anderen inspireren om samen te zoeken naar nieuwe inzichten die het Nederlandse voetbal ook in de toekomst bij de wereldtop zal laten horen. Als trainer-coach leef je intensief van wedstrijd tot wedstrijd. Voetbal is een sport waarin iedere week gepiekt moet worden. Je werkt in een team met een team. Het huidige voetbal heeft grotere selecties en meer begeleiding. Het gaat om veel geld en dus grote belangen. Teambelang, individueel belang, soms tegenstrijdige belangen. Als de een speelt zit de ander op de reservebank of zelfs tribune. Toch heb je elkaar nodig om een seizoen lang te presteren, om blessures of vormverlies op te vangen. De grote uitdaging voor iedere hoofdtrainer is om de spelers vooral de gemeenschappelijke belangen voorop te laten stellen. Ze bewust te maken van de noodzaak om samen te werken. Vervolgens moet er bereidheid zijn om alle kwaliteiten te verbinden in dienst van een duidelijk speelplan.

Verder is het wellicht ook leuk om te laten zien dat een pauze in je carrière als trainer in het betaald voetbal niet betekent dat je achter de geraniums zit te wachten tot de telefoon rinkelt.

Pieter Huistra

 

 

profielfoto: Clemens Rikken

A personal view on football