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Experts: Better Soccer Coaches Needed

Posted July. 13, 2006 03:00,   


“Coaches are graded. Guus Hiddink is great coach because he knows soccer well and relays what he knows to players. Frankly, Korean coaches even in professional teams do not know how to instruct players. They think a good team is guaranteed by bringing in good players. In short, they do not study,” said an official who once was a national soccer player.

Once a Star Player, Being a Coach is Guaranteed-

“Improving the K league (pro soccer league) is key to bringing Korean soccer to the next level,” said Dick Advocaat, former coach of Korean national soccer team. Experts agree on what he said, putting top priority on fostering qualified leaders.

“Frankly speaking, in Korea, with the title of star player, people become coach and retain the position for life. Many do not have minimum knowledge of the global soccer trend as well as sports science,” said a sportscaster.

There is no other way for them but to instruct players according to their past experience, which is why Korean soccer lacks capability to enhance the performance of the team even armed with best players.

Professional coaches do not bother to study because of the lack of individual commitment to do so. But part of blame should go to owners of professional teams that choose coaches based on their name value. Pro team owners manage teams without concrete plans, thinking that they can hire coaches based on name, rather than on their ability, and simply fire those with poor performance.

Professional Coach Fostering System should be in Place-

What does encourage coaches to study?

A reliable system to train soccer coaches should be in place. The Netherlands produces a number of qualified instructors because of its three-grade certificate system, under which they should earn first-grade certificate to be a professional soccer coach. It takes six years to obtain all certificates of three grades.

Exercise physiology, sports psychology, picture analysis, strategy studies, and nutrition are included in the course. Third-grade, second-grade and first-grade certificates require at least one year of coaching experience in regional club, amateur team, and professional team, respectively. Hiddink, Advocaat, and Pim Verbeek (Korea’s new national soccer team coach) have gone through the course.

An environment where a person without a certificate has no chance of becoming a coach should take root. The practice that a star player becomes assistant coach and automatically becomes coach after a certain period of time should be stopped.

A soccer player when he played soccer with Hiddink as coach said “I want to be summoned in the national team longer. When I am in the team, I feel I become better, but I feel I lose my capability in our professional team.”

Lee Young-pyo (Tottenham Hotspur) said “It is more important to foster qualified instructors than to nurture good players. Good coaches train more good players.”

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com