Thursday, 22 December 2011


A few years ago, the technical staff in a professional sports team was made up by the Head Coach and, only in some elite teams, the Assistant Coach. Fortunately, the times have changed and now the technical staff is a multidisciplinary group of professionals, all of them working in the same direction and with the same goal in mind. Currently, this multidisciplinary group can be formed by the Head Coach, several Assistant Coaches, the Strength & Conditioning coach, the Performance Analyser or Scouting Man, the Physiotherapist, the Doctor, the Psychologist, the Nutritionist, the Podiatrist ... But is the multidisciplinary technical staff only achievable by professional teams? Maybe yes... or maybe not.
Basic multidisciplinary technical staff formation.
During the past years I have noticed that in some professional teams in a variety of sports, and even in several national squads, the technical staff is not the most adequate to obtain the players’ best performance. By this, I am not referring to their professionalism or their expertise. I am talking about their duties, because on certain occasions some of the roles are not covered. I know that the budget available is an important aspect, and everything revolves around the money... but is it really necessary to have a Head Coach and an Assistant Coach instead of a Head Coach and an S&C Coach? Or can the same person fulfil several roles? That is certainly possible, although you should always look for the best.

I would like to use this post to give you my opinion together with a few real examples of how to have a professional multidisciplinary staff at your disposal with very few economic resources, as well as how to build up the multidisciplinary staff from the grass roots level to the senior squad. I am aware that this is not the best option, but if you have a small budget but want to get a multidisciplinary staff covering all the performance aspects, the staff members will have to adopt several roles.

For example, the technical staff at ManchesterFutsal Club is made up by two people: the Head Coach and the S&C Coach (myself). However, the Head Coach plays his role as well as the Performance Analyser role, while the S&C Coach fulfils the Assistant Coach and the Goalkeepers Coach tasks, apart from his own fitness duties. We two together are able to plan and deliver the sessions for both the outfield players and the goalkeepers, analyse the videos of the games, control the statistics of every player during the match (fouls, turnovers, goals, assistances, steals and played minutes), monitor the fitness seasonal changes, or work with injured players in their recovery.

Another example of this in a professional level is Caja Segovia Fútbol Sala (one of the most successful Spanish futsal clubs). They have a Head Coach and an Assistant Coach who is also the Goalkeepers Coach. Besides, there is an S&C Coach, a Physio and a Doctor in the staff. Also, in A.D. Sala 10 Zaragoza (Spanish first division futsal team) the same person is in charge of both the Assistant Coach and the S&C Coach duties. For that, you only need to have at your disposal the best professionals so that they can assume several roles at the same time.

The second aspect I would like to highlight in this post is how to obtain the most appropriate multidisciplinary staff for both the grass roots and the first team within the same club. To explain this, I will give the example of the Spain National Futsal Squad. The Spain Futsal Team have a Head Coach, an Assistant Coach, an S&C Coach and a Goalkeepers Coach. The latter two also work with the Under 21 and the Under 18 squads, as well as with the senior squad, and sometimes even with the female team. The Assistant Coach for the senior squad is the Head Coach in the U21 team.

Another good example is my friend “Guaiba”. He was the Goalkeepers Coach for the first team of ElPozo Murcia F.S. for ten years and, at the same time, he was working with all the goalkeepers in the club (U9, U11, U13, U15, U16, U18, second team and first team).

Here in Great Britain, a good example is the Women Senior Squad, where one of their Assistant Coaches is the Head Coach for the U20 GB Women Squad. Or the England Futsal Senior Team, their Assistant Coach being the Head Coach for the development squad, and their S&C Coach working with both the senior and the development squads.

Having a multidisciplinary staff organised in a pyramid shape where the staff members share their duties with the different teams in the club will contribute to the players’ transition from the development squads to the senior teams, as the process will be easier, quicker and more successful. The players' progress will be better monitored, the tactical and technical aspects (systems and set pieces) in the teams will be the same, the different protocols (warm-up, cool-down, recovery strategies, physiotherapy methods) will be well-known within the club, and the group dynamic will be similar. Basically, the players and the staff will be working in the same way from grass root level to the first team!

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