On Sunday we were joined by current KRC Genk Technical Coach, Michel Ribeiro. He has helped develop some of Belgium's current crop of world-class talent, and also recently worked recently in the US as technical coach at MLS club, Sporting Kansas City.
Initially I wanted to start with a discussion on what separated players that he worked with like Kevin De Bruyne, Thibault Courtois and Yannick Carrasco. It was interesting to hear Michel not only pinpointed aspects like hunger and love of the game as crucial starting points, but actually how those attributes were developed at a young age. Like many other world class talents in the history of the game, their passion for the game was born from "playing in the streets." What was interesting however, was listening to Michel describe how society has changed and the streets are no longer a safe place to play, but that coaches must now look to create that in their own environment. He talked about the "ego of the coach" giving way to the needs of the player and that begins at a young age by facilitating an environment where the player can play and learn the game without constant 'stop-start interventions' from a coach.
As the questions came in, it was very interesting to hear Michel's take on the US landscape. Although he was very positive about the talent and potential we have over here, he targeted environments and the regulations as aspects that hold players back. He also discussed the difference between decision making and giving the players options. The coach can never control the decision making aspect of the player, Michel explained, but they do have a responsibility to help provide options to the player. Then it's up to the player. It's a great interview for coaches to hear how it's not just the technical exercises or whether they are unopposed or opposed that makes the top players. It's the cultivation of the love of the game, the detail in the environment like the length of the grass, and the relationship of the coach to challenge and provide the player with the right tools throughout their journey.
You can watch the full presentation, along with the Q&A below.
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