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Away from touchline pressures

Tuesday 11 December 2012 11.43 CET
The UEFA National Team Coaches Conference group photo in Warsaw

UEFA has staged two major events for top-level coaches recently – both are covered in detail in the latest edition of UEFA's coaching publication, UEFA•Technician. The focus is on the UEFA Elite Club Coaches' Forum in Nyon, and the 10th UEFA Conference for National Team Coaches, which took place at either end of September.

Over the years, both events have proved to be crucial not only to pinpoint tactical and technical trends in European competitions, but also to bring coaches together, away from the pressures of the dugout, to meet and exchange ideas on the game. "It is easy to speak of the coaching fraternity," UEFA•Technician says of the Elite Club Coaches' Forum. "But in a profession which is essentially a solitary exercise, fraternal synergies need to be built – and one of the prime missions of the annual forum is to do just that.

"Following UEFA EURO 2012, coaching attitudes had been widely praised and, as the club competition season got under way, the forum highlighted the fact that familiarity undoubtedly helps to breed respect among fellow members of the coaching profession."

The presence of UEFA President Michel Platini and other UEFA officials "provided a clear indication that European football's governing body was prepared to listen to eminent coaching voices and to inject their input into decision-making systems."

Moving onto the Warsaw review of UEFA EURO 2012, UEFA•Technician takes the thoughts of many of the national-team coaches on duty in Poland and Ukraine about the technical and tactical elements that made the tournament such a resounding success. England manager Roy Hodgson welcomed the technicians' post-EURO get-together. "I think these conferences are always important. It's a chance to meet your colleagues; it's a chance to listen to their take on not only the latest tournament, but also on the future trends of football."

The latest UEFA•Technician includes the final editorial column of former UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh, who puts forward some closing thoughts as he moves on to pastures new. "We must never forget that the fans are the lifeblood of the game," he says. "And that they will continue to want more comfort, more quality, more information, more excitement, more choice and more success. Results will, of course, always remain a priority, but the way that teams perform will take on greater significance. The top four sides at UEFA EURO 2012 proved that a positive style can also be successful. It takes a conscious effort and a degree of courage to take such a risk.

"In the future, coach education will be increasingly carried out using the model of competence-based learning, and tutoring will be conducted in realistic situations at the clubs," Roxburgh continues. "Grassroots programmes will continue to expand, and the concept of 'no grassroots = no future' will gain greater acceptance. Women's football will continue to attract more attention while futsal, especially as a development game, will warrant greater support within national associations. Referees, with assistants on all four sides of the pitch, will make further progress on their fitness and their ability to read the game – which will help them in their quest to minimise mistakes."

The focus must clearly be on tomorrow. "European football, as viewed in its benchmark competitions, the European Football Championship and the UEFA Champions League, has attained impressive standards and is well placed for further advancement," Roxburgh says. "Nobody can buy football's rich history. It is priceless. But we can't dwell on the heritage for too long because the future is hurtling towards us. If we stand still, we will be overtaken."

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