Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez seminar with English, Dutch, Belgian and German UEFA Pro Licence Coaches

Roberto Martinez is a brilliant communicator. He speaks fluently and with ease on all aspects of the game.

When he first moved to England, he had spent years in Spain where it was a crime to give the ball away. In his first game for Wigan, he was told that when he got the ball in midfield to play it just over the opposition full back. Later that week he was expected to go out for team bonding, no arguments, were going drinking! He said that in one week everything he’d learned was destroyed. Welcome to England. That was 1995.

Here’s some of what he said –

  • Only geniuses can simplify the game
  • As yourself constantly – what triggers high performance?
  • Its difficult to build a common culture amongst elite athletes in a multicultural dressing room. It’s in adversity when the culture has to be accepted
  • Earn the trust of everyone. Authority model may work somewhere but not today with a younger generation who befit from autonomy
  • Coaching can be easier at the higher levels where learning becomes a need. In his experience in lower leagues, it was limited where they didn’t need it and didn’t want it.
  • No one loses a game on a tactics board! There’s a big gap between concept and execution. Naïve to assume that the concept will be accepted and understood. Margin of error is a lot bigger if players don’t understand and buy in.
  • Adapt quickly. Everyone in the room needs to feel purposeful.
  • International football needs to be all about the players so with staff. Keep the staff small in number.  Get clarity on their role and its limits. Sort this beforehand not with players there.
  • In tournament football total focus on and off the pitch is unrealistic for 51 days. The answer is they need to go home if possible and at least enjoy breaks. You must have buy but an international coach cannot, nor should not, try to motivate people: it’s about their commitment.
  • Belgian team lacked belief. However beating Japan after being two goals down lifted the belief in a possession style game. 95% of the group had experience of playing abroad with most in the Premier league, so a combination of PL style with possession football. Fellaini, Hazard, Vertoingen, De Bruyne are all different but that difference and their diversity is an incredible benefit as long as you have the same goal. With the same dream it’s very easy.
  • Mustn’t play the occasion
  • For him pressure is coming from the inside. Slowly you realise that perfect is impossible. You learn that as a coach.

Roberto Martinez is a coach worth listening to. He’s smart, works across cultures and has an astute football intelligence.