I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in several seminars by the illustrious coach Frans Hoek. Hoek served as assistant to Louis Van Gaal at Barcelona, AFC Ajax, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and the Netherlands National Team. Hoek has worked with a range of exceptional talents in his time as goalkeeper coach, including Victor Valdes, Edwin van der Sar, and David de Gea. It’s fair to say that Hoek is an expert off his field given that he’s worked with some of the biggest clubs in the world and led the Netherlands to a 5-1 demolition of Spain in the 2014 World Cup.
There is a key takeaway to every speaking arrangement Hoek runs – everyone needs to play a key part in their own learning process. It doesn’t matter if you’re a player or a coach, you must set high standards for yourself and push yourself to meet them.
Hoek teaches that it’s all about the process. Teams should practice what they see in the game. Take this mentality and analyse the game; identifying a starting situation you can train. After identifying when where to start, you need to dive deeper and ask yourself the following questions;
After answering these questions, you’ll be able to plan and choose a goal for every session. After completing a session, you need to evaluate the session and reflect on what happened.
Remember the game should always be the basis of everything you do.
Every coach understands their role involves doing much more than running training sessions. Frans Hoek offered up a detailed breakdown of the approach coaches should take. Think about your own training sessions and how you prepare for them, and ask yourself if they meet the following requirements:
- Do they have a clear vision?
- Do they translate this vision into a way of playing?
- Do you profile players?
- Are you scouting players in and out of your system?
- Did you create a season plan and put together a personal development plan?
- Did you set up a periodization plan?
- Are your practices based on the way you and your opponents play and how you prepare for games?
- Have you coached games?
- Did you evaluate your team?
Coach Hoek once said something that really resonated with me; “You have to learn not to show emotion. It clouds your judgement and does not allow you to see the game clearly – watch the game clean.”
The most important thing I took away from Coach Hoek is how much attention he pays to detail and how he constantly pursues perfection. As the manager of Manchester United, he would film training sessions as well as games before analysing them. It sounds a little extreme or like it might not be appropriate, but it’s still a great challenge to find methods to become the best coach/club/team/company you can be.
I highly recommend attending one of his seminars if you get the chance.
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