Simplify Coaching: Lessons Learned from Raymond Verheijen

World-renowned soccer coach, Raymond Verheijen, boasts an impressive record. He’s been on the coaching staff for teams in three World Cup tournaments and three European Championships, and has worked with some of the world’s most talented players at some of the world’s most prestigious clubs -- Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Needless to say, the man has experience.

After a spending some time in the presence of this industry expert, I came away with a new perspective on coaching. The game--and coaching for that matter--is made far too complex. Let's break it down to tips that you can apply to your coaching.

Coaching Moments

Take a minute to filter every coaching moment into the following three steps. Be sure to complete these steps in order, no matter the athlete's age or level. 

  1. Communication – Verbal and visual cues taken from teammates and the environment
  2. Decision Making – Use the information gathered to make a decision on what you intend the player to do
  3. Execution – Can a player technically execute the desired move?

It seems simple, but if you can get your players to understand their surroundings and make informed decisions based on them, then you are one step closer than most coaches who believe that technique is everything.

Attention to Detail

All ‘coaching moments’ can be broken down further into four categories:

  • Position – The position on the field, teammates, opponents and the player themselves
  • Moment – The moment of the action - too early, too late, etc.
  • Direction – The direction of the action - behind the player, into their path, front foot/back foot
  • Speed – The speed of the action - too slow, too fast, etc.


Use the following example as an illustration of applying attention to detail.

In this situation, a center midfielder is attempting to play a ball to an outside midfielder:

  • Position – Is the outside midfielder in a position to receive the ball? Are the opponents in the way?
  • Moment – Can the center midfielder release the ball wide at the right time in order to put the ball into the outside midfielder’s path?
  • Direction – Is it played to the front foot in order to initiate the attack? Is it played to the back foot, slowing the game down?
  • Speed – Is the ball delivered quickly enough to avoid interception? Was it passed too quickly given the speed of the outside midfielder?


I urge you to try out applying these lessons your coaching. They will help you to focus on fixing the small things in order to progress the players and the team as a collective.

Read more articles from Coach Rich here.

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