“I let all youth teams play the same way, like the first team. I always put the emphasis on learning. Sometimes I had the suspicion the youth coaches were more concerned with winning. They cared more about their own reputation.”
“I cared only about the interest of the club. When a player with talent couldn’t defend I put him in defence so he could learn, but that could cost a point. But I didn’t care, I was busy developing the player.”
Johan Cruyff revolutionized football not just by being one of the greatest players of all times but moreover he influenced how the world sees football.
You just have to look at teams like Ajax, Barcelona or Manchester City to capture his enormous impact.
Cruyff left a Culture , a Philosophy, a Legacy .
If you want to be a true coach you have to stop putting your own needs first. Do not ask for better players, different club, more budget, higher salary , more staff or whatever you think you are lacking.
Many times coaches are busy launching their own career. And they think it is all about ‘getting a chance’, work with higher quality players or clubs with a bigger budget. They forget the only way their career can get off is when they start to deliver consistent quality.
Quit chasing your personal objectives. They might seem important to you , but you chose for a leadership. It is not about what you want or need. You are ultimately there to serve others.
Start caring about your players. Think about how you can develop them. What you can do to improve their skills. Worry about how you can be an inspiring example for your players, staff and club. Be passionate about delivering valuable strategies.
5 Key Points for a Culture-First Mindset
1. First and foremost make sure everything is about the players. Not about you, your story or background . Players care about themselves and want you to help them to reach their goals
2. Players want to get better, and are interested in the results you can land them. Ultimately they want to build their career. Focus on coaching and training relating to outcomes the players are after.
3. Be genuinely interested in your team. Don’t be afraid to lose your authority by asking them for input. Remember the players are the ones that turn you into a high quality coach
4. Never blame the team or individual players for bad results. Never point to outer circumstances as a reason for not performing well. The only thing that’s interesting is how you find solutions to the challenges your team is facing.
5. Do not take yourself too seriously. Bring joy, humility and fun to your work.
Johan Cruyff was always prepared to make sacrifices in the present, in order to reach the maximal potential growth of a player and team, in the future.
He had the ability to look beyond short term results and see a bigger and better long term result. For decades he consistently worked on his philosophy and eventually he left a legacy , still influencing The Beautiful Game in present times.
You can be like Cruyff. It does not matter on what level, for which team or country you are acting. As long as your are obsessed with helping players and developing their potential.
This way you are creating your culture, your legacy.