By Dhruv Shah,
AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The AIFF Virtual International Coaching Conference 2021 came to an end on Sunday, December 5, 2021, with the last two sessions conducted by Benigno Hernandez, a professor and digital content creator at MBP school of coaches, and Thomas Gronnemark, the throw-in coach for Liverpool FC, and many other professional clubs.
Benigno Hernandez, who works as a professor at MBP school of coaches in Barcelona, Spain, conducted the first session following the afternoon break. He explained to the attendees the various factors that influence their game model and how to work on it.
Hernandez explained some of the tactical parts that are taught at his institution, and how they try to implement the same free-flowing style of football which can be seen at many top sides in modern day football. He also went on to explain the difficulties that he has faced while trying to teach this, saying, “As a team, the coach has to determine the pace of play with which everyone will play. If even one player out of the eleven is not on the same wavelength, then the whole system breaks down.”
Benigno also answered many questions which were asked by the attendees. When quipped about how to deal with players emerging from different backgrounds, Benigno said, “It is extremely important to understand the background of the players, where they are coming from. For example, players who are from Europe are different from the ones who are coming from South America, and in India there is a lot of diversity as well. When I was young, I went to the stadium to watch matches. In India maybe, people are watching cricket matches and not Football matches. Eventually, the aim is to value the different varieties of players that are coming to play.”
One of his pieces of advice to all the coaches present at the conference was to be adaptable. “One of the values that one should possess as a coach is to be adaptable. As coaches, one needs to understand the strengths of their players and adapt accordingly.”
The last session of the AIFF Virtual International Coaching Conference 2021 was conducted by Thomas Gronnemark, who has made a name for himself by coaching the importance of all kinds of set-plays at top clubs, with throw-ins a major part of his coaching methods.
After failing to make the grade as a professional footballer, Gronnemark decided to try his hand in Athletics. He made a name for himself there as a sprinter for Denmark. He also possessed the world record of the longest throw-in, and decided to try and teach this skill in football.
After noticing that there is a gap in coaching throw-ins, he used his expertise in this, coaching many professional teams before making his way to the top. About the importance of throw-ins in football, Gronnemark said, “Throw-ins are a vital part of football as I see it. There are world-class players who have never received coaching in making the most of throw-ins. There are many top clubs who lose possession during this phase of play. You have to make sure that while taking throw-ins, you do it quickly and it is not the job of just one person but the entire team. It is not just the full-back who has to take the throw-in. All the players have to support the teammate who is taking the throw-in and you can create a number of opportunities doing that.”
When asked by one of the attendees about how one can increase the efficiency of long throw-ins, Gronnemark said, “It is an important aspect of the game. I have seen many teams use the long throw-in as a time-wasting technique sometimes, putting just two men in the box, one at the near post and one at the far post. Teams need to treat the opportunity for a long throw-in as a corner and put at least five to six people in the box to make the most of it.”
The three-day AIFF Virtual International Coaching Conference 2021 came to an end on Sunday, December 5, 2021. As a thank you message, AIFF Head of Coach Education Savio Medeira said, “I, on behalf of the AIFF, would like to take this opportunity to profoundly thank and appreciate all our esteemed speakers for their enlightening and inspiring presentations. During all the three days, though they were busy in their respective roles, the speakers immediately accepted our request and we would all agree that their sessions were top-notch. The research and their in-depth knowledge of all the topics and the way the speakers presented it was very motivating.”