As probably everyone knows in September 2015 after returning from my coaching experience in Palo Alto (USA) I accepted the role of Head of Coaching & Sports Science at the International Futsal Academy based in Loughborough. One of the jobs that I have in the new role is to be the Head Coach for Loughborough United Futsal Club competing in the FA National Futsal League Midlands Division 2. At the beginning of season we established as our main target to get promoted to Division 1, which meant to win the League. We started the season with a defeat against our main rivals. Since then we have won all the games however I was not very happy. I felt that the team had a lack of something... and I started to think. Well, let's go to be honest... overthink.
As everyone knows too, during the last 2 seasons leading Sheffield FC Futsal we had success given the different circunstancies in each season. Specially, during the season 2012-2013. The most successful season ever for the Club. A season that I will never forget. A season that gave me too many friends. I know that comparisons are always bad, but my target was to achieve that level in the new team. Since those players, that group of players, that TEAM had something special. And I know that if any team wishes to achieve what Sheffield FC Futsal achieved that season there have to be some values in the changing room. An internal force that drives the team to success.
That overthink gave me... well... Xesco Espar (Former FC Barcelona Handball Head Coach) gave me those internal forces. Some time ago, I read his book "Jugar con el corazón. La excelencia no es suficiente" (Playing with the heart. Excellence is not enough). Xesco Espar explains the 5 values that are needed to have to work in a team. Five values that all the Sheffield FC Futsal players had and showed on the futsal court in every single training session and game.
Therefore, once I realised that our problem was not technical, physical, tactical or social, I decided to have a meeting with the captains first and the players then to explain those five values needed in a team sport and show them a couple of videos.
Let's go with the 5 values from Xesco Espar's book:
1. Generosity: Basically, every player has to give to the team more than the team expects from him. If a player is not doing his job, I have to do my job and his job because I know that in a reverse situation he would do the same for me. Probably, you will understand that with the following video:
2. Humility: If you have a bad day, you must let people help you. Let your mates shine. Let your mates take the penalty if you have a bad day even if you are the usual taker.
3. Confidence: Team dares to step forward when situation is not clear. As Xesco Espar explains, confidence is like a table. The more legs, the more solid the table is. If after a mistake, the player is punished, it is like cutting off one of the legs of the table. However, if after something good by the player, you give him positive feedback you are building his confidence.
4. Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is everything, without it, we are nothing. Besides, enthusiasm is contagious and its lack too. So the lack of enthusiasm is very dangerous for the team. Coaches must be leaders in creating this enviroment. Teammates on the bench, must encourage all the time. That encouragement will make your teammate to win the 50-50 challenge.
5. Commitment: Commitment starts when fun finishes. It is really easy to commit to something when is funny and works perfectly. But that it is not commitment. Commitment is when we show the same values when things do not go well.
I finished the meeting showing the video that Tommy Pearson, my Performance Analyst at Sheffield FC Futsal, made to show/motivate the players in the changing room before playing the semi final of the Grand Finals 2013 against Baku United. A game with a cruel end, but that resumes a perfect season against a professional team.
And a video that shows all those 5 values needed to success in a team enviroment. I asked my players to find all those 5 values, and I think the did it.
Eight days after the meeting; the chemistry, environment and relationships in the Loughborough United FC team have improved. We are a better team, we are a TEAM, and we are a bit closer to get the target that we wanted to achieve at the beginning of the season. Only 3 more games.
THANK YOU TO ALL THE SHEFFIELD FC FUTSAL'S PLAYERS DURING THE SEASON 2012-2013.
YOU SHOWED ME SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
YOU TAUGHT ME A LOT.
I AM BETTER A COACH THANKS TO YOU.
YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART.