Tag Archives: José Mourinho

How Much To Share?

“I give them (anyone who asks) my training methods and programmes but I don’t give them my brain.” Jose Mourinho, Up Close and Personal p110

Every coach will some longevity is asked for advice by other coaches.  Many coaches are asked to present at clinics and workshops.  The response from coaches varies.  Many coaches will happily share their time and experience… up to a point.  After all they don’t want to share their secrets with possible competitors who could some day beat them.  Some coaches don’t share anything at all.  I heard one notable coach say that he had spent a lot of money and time collecting his knowledge, why should he share it with others for free. Some of those simply think they have the secret.  One coach I worked with actually banned me from watching parts of his practices.  Although I suspect the real reason was because he realised I knew his ‘secret’ was just a con.

Then there are others, like Jose Mourinho*, who happily share everything.  Their logic is simple.  They can share all of the mechanics of what they do, but the mechanics, while interesting are not the keys.  If another coach took all of Mourinho’s coaching methods and programmes and carried them out exactly as written, the results would not, could not, be the same. Those coaches understand that the most important things are the connections between things, the spaces between the notes so to speak.  Those coaches also have nothing to fear, because as Mourinho goes on to say, the great coaches are always fiddling and adapting with their programmes to continue to improve.

How much do you share?

*I would like to think I fall into this category, but suspect I am more often the coach who holds something back.  Feel free to challenge me on it.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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The Greatest Pressure

“Players learn when they are ready to learn.” Phil Jackson

Every coach who has been a coach for more than about a month intuitively understands this statement to be correct and can instantly recount examples from his experience. It doesn’t matter how much you explain, show, practice, scream, cajole or plead with your players, they learn when they are ready. For different groups, ‘ready’ can mean different things. For some, it can mean going through the pain of losing before being able to accept a new idea. For others, as this wonderful article explains, it can mean understanding the concept behind the motion. The required movement / motion / skill only becomes apparent after the learner has understood the concept.

While every coach understands this statement to be true hardly any heed the lessons it implies. Somehow every coach subconsciously expects that he will be the exception to this rule, and so constantly provides feedback, information and correction about every tiny thing. When faced with the subsequent lack of learning, if he is a ‘good’ coach he will double down and provide more feedback and information. If he is a ‘bad’ coach he will bemoan the fact that his players can’t learn or that he doesn’t have enough training time. But either way he will have done everything he can. Continue reading

Quotes – Part 3

Over the last couple of years on the facebook page I have posted quotes that jumped out at me from various sources.  Here is the third collection of some of them. In no particular order.  Part 1 is here.  Part 2 is here.

“Every player should take 5 minutes to themselves before practice and mentally lock into what needs to be done. Jeff Boals

“Training doesn’t have to be certain length of time to be effective.” Mark Lebedew

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. Ken Robinson

“The interesting thing about coaching is troubling the comfortable and comforting the troubled.” Ric Charlesworth

“Practice is the battle you must win.” Hugh McCutcheon

“The bagger is the technique of lazy.” Daniele Bagnoli

“After the game is before the game.” Sepp Herberger

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas. Susan Cain

“Victories come when their time comes. Often later than you wish. Patience is an essential quality of a coach’s profession.” Vyacheslav Platonov

“It’s not all rainbows and ponies.” Hugh McCutcheon

“You cannot buy experience. You have to fight for it.” Marc Wilmots

“The idea that I [should] trust my eyes more than the stats, I don’t buy that because I’ve seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know that the rabbit’s not in there.” Billy Beane

“If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” Pat Riley

“Volleyball is not like a formula so we must give players some freedom.” Karch Kiraly

“Great organisations choose principles over people. When you give up on the principles, sooner or later you will break down.” Ettore Messina

“What you see is more important than what you know.” Giovanni Guidetti on scouting Continue reading

Quotes – Part 2

Over the last couple of years on the facebook page I have posted quotes that jumped out at me from various sources.  Here is the second collection of some of them. In no particular order.  Part 1 is here.

“Young players learn more from old players than they do from you” Wayne Bennett

“In my opinion the teaching of volleyball technique, …, must always be correlated with tactical tasks.”
Vyacheslav Platonov.

“You don’t have to do some thing, or even any thing.
You have to do the right thing.” Mark Lebedew

“You win by effort, by commitment, by ambition, by quality, by expressing yourself individually but in the team context.” Jose Mourinho

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field.” Nils Bohr

“Sometimes you win because you have the better team. Sometimes you win because you have the better concept. Sometimes you win because you have more heart.
And sometimes you win because you score the last point.” Mark Lebedew

“For the players to put their minds and vigour into the game is not enough for victory. They must also put in their souls. The team that gives up to the game all its strengths and puts into it its mind and soul cannot leave the court defeated.” Vyacheslav Platonov

How long should you practice? “It really doesn’t matter how long. If you practice with your (body), no amount is enough. If you practice with your head, two hours is plenty.” Anders Ericsson Continue reading

False Memories And The Importance Of Statistics

For the last six or seven years, I haven’t spoken to my team after matches except for a couple of very rare occasions.  Previously I had given the traditional post match address, in which I had gone over our failures and successes and felt like I had done my job, as was expected of me.  The reason I stopped was that I noticed while reviewing the video and statistics the number of times I had been flat out wrong with a number of my statements**.  Either the situation did not happen as I remembered, or different players were involved or it happened at a different time of the match and wasn’t decisive at all.  That I learnt over time of a number of big time coaches, most notably José Mourinho, who did not speak to their teams after the match only confirmed to me that my thoughts on the matter were appropriate.

In the intervening years I have read in a number of areas that are not directly related to volleyball or coaching, following the Terry Pettit Principle (that I just invented).  One particularly interesting field that has attracted my attention has that of decision making and, in general, how we think, in books such as ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ and ‘How We Decide’.  In those books, I learnt about things such as the ‘confirmation bias’ (for an example, see my comment about Jose Mourinho above) and the greater value placed in the mind of events that take place more recently.  I found the last point very interesting in conjunction with the article and information about the German women’s coach who focuses most of his attention on the previous seven contacts of each of his players.  If the mind automatically overvalues the most recent contacts, wouldn’t broader perspective be better served by looking at the whole match, or at least a longer time period?  But I digress…

Through the TED Blog, I came across this story/study about false memories and the things that influence them.  One of the interesting findings in this study, is that people are more likely to develop / create false memories about people and ideologies they support (in the case of positive false memories) or oppose (in the case of negative false memories).  The reason proposed for this finding is that the false memories “… are congruent with a person’s preexisting attitudes and evaluations, in part because attitude-congruent false events promote feelings of recognition and familiarity.”  Or by my interpretation, false memories about things they like or dislike make people feel good.  This occurs in all fields, even volleyball.  I have found many occasions where people have ‘credited’ very specific events to people they like or don’t like that did not happen, and in many cases could not have happened, and can easily be proven false.

So the message is… don’t trust what you think you see or what you think you remember.

Video and statistics… are at least closer to the truth.


** And I stopped caring quite so much what I was expected to do, and concentrated more on doing a good job.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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