Friday, May 01, 2009

 

KNVB-all and End-all

Ever since the FFA contracted the orange bug, they have appeared determined to import a presumed Dutch philosophy lock, stock and barrel. With the announcement of a "National Football Curriculum" today, things have gone a bit too far.

Complete tactical rigidity - exactly what Rob Baan warned against, when he stepped into his new position as Technical Director - has now been mandated for our national teams. No doubt, should a young Aussie kid now show any promise as a genuine No.10 (the sort of player we have produced so rarely), such tendencies will be quickly hammered out of him by his learned coaches. No room for that sort of stuff in a 4-3-3, son.

(It says something for the general level of football knowledge at the FFA that the preferred formation is described in the above document as the 1-4-3-3. Or is the goalie to become a quasi-sweeper now, Stanley Menzo-style?)

Any decent coach, especially at national level, needs to be able to adapt their tactics to suit their personnel, and not the other way around. An addiction to one particular formation (and way of playing) is the stuff of academics and dogmatists, not high-level professional coaches.

This particular dogma is only mentioned with regard to the national teams. But, towards the end of the article, there is a nasty little kicker. After detailing the extra layer of bureaucracy that the new curriculum will entail, the clubs (especially the state league clubs, one suspects) are given a boot in the generative organs:

Football Clubs, schools and academies will be accredited and rated. Adoption of the Curriculum will be a pre-requisite to accreditation and rating.

All the corporate knowledge of long-standing, successful clubs, and all the nous possessed by coaches with decades' worth of experience, from a wide variety of backgrounds, at many levels of the game, could now be held hostage to a pre-fabricated collection of nostrums from the Dutch brigade.

A self-respecting football country should not have to put up with this petty nonsense, and I suspect that many self-respecting clubs and coaches won't.

Comments:
Horror.
 
The title of this post is the best football pun I have ever seen.
 
I could be naive but the biggest irony about this stuff is that the Dutch have been at their most successful at NT level playing a 4-4-2, like in Euro 1988 when they won their only major trophy (and in which they lost their first game playing 4-3-3) and in WC 1998 when they most should have won their first WC IMHO, after not really convincing with a try hard Ajax 3-4-3 in Hiddink's first two years in charge in the mid '90s. And it's frigging frustrating when Oz over the years have needed to use a two striker system much more than we have. Seeing the way we're going is sad.
 
...The title of this post is the best football pun I have ever seen....

:-)

Why thank you. It was either that or "Forced-Three-Three".

...I could be naive but the biggest irony about this stuff is that the Dutch have been at their most successful at NT level playing a 4-4-2, like in Euro 1988 when they won their only major trophy (and in which they lost their first game playing 4-3-3) and in WC 1998 when they most should have won their first WC IMHO, after not really convincing with a try hard Ajax 3-4-3 in Hiddink's first two years in charge in the mid '90s. And it's frigging frustrating when Oz over the years have needed to use a two striker system much more than we have. Seeing the way we're going is sad....

They still haven't gotten over the Ajax side of the mid-nineties (which was a brilliant team, admittedly). But again, that was a side where the personnel fitted a hard-pressing 4-3-3 game so well - two fine wingers in Overmars and Finidi George, an all-seasons centre-forward in Kluivert, Seedorf and Davids to cover the ground in midfield, and a keeper in van der Sar who was prepared to rush off his line when the offside trap broke down. Plus the brain of the side - Litmanen (maybe the most underrated player of the last 20 years, IMHO).
 
"Plus the brain of the side - Litmanen (maybe the most underrated player of the last 20 years, IMHO)."

He was BRILLIANT playing against Wales in Cardiff as recently as March. The guy's been playing international football for 20 years and at 38 he was still taking the piss with his intelligent positioning, reading of the game and passing. It was a real treat to watch the classic type of deep lying striker from the '90s dominate a WC qualifier in 2009 and this far on from his peak.
 
...He was BRILLIANT playing against Wales in Cardiff as recently as March. The guy's been playing international football for 20 years and at 38 he was still taking the piss with his intelligent positioning, reading of the game and passing. It was a real treat to watch the classic type of deep lying striker from the '90s dominate a WC qualifier in 2009 and this far on from his peak...

To paraphrase George Best: if Litmanen had been born in a more established football country, you'd never have heard of Zidane. ;-)
 
What will FFA's response be when State league teams refuse to adopt the curriculum?.....tough titties!?!...sounds like the Orange People are back! Bloody dogmatist cults.

TomKat
 
Mike not sure it's as bad as you paint.

Haven't read the docu but seen the news articles and release.

Happy to see clubs rated..a lot of "social football clubs" around this country with little quality coaching and suspect its these the rating system is aimed to improve.

And while the NSWPL clubs may be outraged I for one reckon they can produce an increased number of better players with some further guidance, expertise etc. It's exactly what we need to take the NSWPL clubs further. Why see it as an attack on them...I don't and I don't think many will if it means we have a stronger network of elite coaching. Why is that a problem?

Also there are people calling themselves academy's etc charging a truckload of money and doing more harm than good...this needs to be regulated in my view..parents are getting "extra" coaching, it costs, but what they are getting in some cases give the quality people a bad name...

and notice no mention of how the national team should play (if not mistaken)....merely the younger teams.

Isn't it the norm that most teams have no number 10...only Brazil, Argentina..sometimes Italy and the odd (Japan) other team produce one every now and then...can we really expect such a Riquelme to come along...and let's face it when he does..a la Kewell and Viduka class a coach can surely use him. Again can't see a problem.

Not sure the 4-3-3 is such a negative...there is a lot of movement/flexibility within that system within the modern game...in fact you could argue it is the system that enables teams to most easily change into other formations during a game..and let's give our future Coaches some support.

My intial feeling is this is far more positive for the whole game, from top to bottom, than the tone of your piece...

Attacking the label 4-3-3 I'd be wary of that; as Hiddink shows within such a system there is a heap of flexibility and the system clearly accentuates our major Aussie strengths.

Think production of quality athletes, think flankers..Australia has the natural climate conditions to produce heaps of wonderful athletes; we do it in many many sports; we can produce many Emo's and Chippers with our athletic characteristics..the Recoba etc well that takes a little more.

I see it as a big step forward for all levels of football.

Aussie football is now ready to start to fulfil it's potential.

Look forward to the continued debate...

btw next you'll want Jesse Carle in the docu:)
 
Eamonn, I think you're missing my point somewhat.

Teaching our elite kids one and only one way to play is exactly what Worthington and his mob were criticised for a generation ago. Come to think of it, I can't see a great deal of difference between the grand standardisation gestures of Worthington et al. and these current ones, except that the present mob are Dutch and all technical 'n' tactical 'n' stuff.

What really bothers me is this: it doesn't take a particularly long view to see that this thing is going to entrench a potentially quite poisonous level of middle management, which will be imposed from above on not just the phony academies (who will find it much easier to fall in line, because they don't stand or fall by actual results in actual competitions), but the established clubs.

Now the FFA have been doing their level best to alienate these clubs and remove them from the decision-making process for quite some time, and that loss of goodwill is going to come back to bite them sooner or later in terms of the quality of the players being produced. The majority of our current generation of 'roos, who don't look like being satisfactorily replaced in the immediate future, all received their early development at the "old soccer" clubs, and owed (I would confidently assert) a great deal to the corporate knowledge and football expertise at those clubs. They then, quite naturally, continued their careers in the more competitive and professional environment of Europe, but the groundwork had been done here.

What we're now quite likely to see is a bunch of failed-coaches-turned-administrators constantly looking over the shoulders of these established clubs and their coaches, carping from the sidelines, perhaps paying off old scores, and fostering (if you'll pardon the pun) even more ill-will. The idea that these middle managers will merely provide "further guidance and expertise" is rather naive, IMHO.
 
There are four permutations of 4-3-3 in the KNVB course I did.

The 4-2-3-1 is a defensive variation of 4-3-3.

There is the 4-3-3 with the flat midfield.

There is the 4-3-3 featuring the midfield triangle, with one screener and two attacking midfielders.

There is the 4-3-3 with the inverted midfield triangle of two screeners and one attacking midfielder. Many in this country seemed to be perplexed by this system until recently.

3-4-3 can debatably be a 4-3-3 with a diamond shaped back four.

Given there is no prescribed football curriculum and methodology in this country, this would be a decided amelioration in practice.

The tactical changes are one facet of the new curriculum. Berger claimed Australian players have inherent weaknesses, as well as strengths. His edict is going to improve a football nation known as mentally and physically strong, but technically mediocre.

According to Berger, we lack creative players.

An inherent component of 4-3-3 is to employ a short passing game to succeed. By attempting to use this system, players should become more technically adept.

There are also good Dutch training ground drills which encourage technique development much more than the ad hoc drills used in this country. These encourage two footedness and a lot of triangular and diamond shaped passing play. Also, the drills encourage players to dribble with their heads up. Moreover, many of the drills include body swerves and fakes as a matter of course. These are often in match simulated drills or SSGs.

I have extrapolated some dribbling drills used by Versleijen at the AIS with great success. The current regional rep players I'm coaching are improving much more rapidly using these techniques than what I previously used.

I think 4-3-3 is a good development base. The other Dutch drills will improve technique.

Decentric
 
My beef with the 4-3-3 is a fairly minor one, dc - as you say, it's flexible, although in the hands of some coaches it's likely to become rigid.

My main concern is over the middle management issue, which (among other things) will end up costing the FFA even more money, just when cash injections are desperately needed in other areas. As regards our esteemed national competition, for instance, the FFA have already been forced to take control at Adelaide and the Roar...frankly the A-League is in big trouble financially ATM. This season could make or break it.
 
Is accreditation and rating really such a bad thing. Other countries do it. I remember Foster describing what happens in France where the FA rates every academy and club on their youth development and then awards clubs who produced the best players (players who eventually play for ligue 1 or national team).
 
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