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Sergey Ovchinnikov: “It is more difficult for coaches now than before” – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Date: April 20, 2024 Time: 06:52:04

Since 2007, Ovchinnikov’s life has been closely related to training. He worked both independently and as an assistant. And since last year, the Boss, as Sergei Ivanovich’s fans called him, is the head of the coach training department of the Academy of the Russian Football Union (RFU). In an interview with RG, Ovchinnikov talked about how coaches are trained in our country and when we will have new Romantsev, Semins and Gazzaev.

You have already been at the RFU Academy for several years. Do you like this job?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: Good question. This is a little different from what I’ve been doing my whole life. This is another direction of activity, but the work is interesting, it is somehow related to football. I wouldn’t say I’m completely delighted. Every day I have to answer a million calls, there is practically no free time. It can be physically difficult. However, training of trainers is an important aspect. I would like to collaborate in the changes that occur in our country regarding the training of specialists in the field of football.

What specific changes are needed?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: We did not invent anything, but took the best from the European experience, taking into account our mentality, our logistics and our national characteristics. We try to combine everything. When you see at least minimal progress, it becomes more enjoyable. It’s always better when there is a positive outlet.

During the last decades, none of our coaches have achieved success in Europe. What needs to change for the situation to change?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: The observation is correct, but we cannot change everything overnight. We are trying to introduce a modern approach to coach training, which we hope will help us recruit new specialists. We have moved away from a certain lecture format, because theory itself without practice is dead. A coach is a hands-on activity, working with players daily and teaching classes. The most important thing is the ability to apply knowledge that we did not have before in practice. We are betting on this.

Many famous former players attend the courses. But could it be that someone who doesn’t have a big name becomes a strong coach?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: Of course. But it is necessary that he was a former soccer player. He will not find contrary examples anywhere in the world. In any field of activity you can only achieve something if you are a professional in it and have gone all the way. Now I can’t get a job at Roscosmos and invent a rocket. This is impossible. There are exceptions, but we should not rely on them. If we talk about coaches, former footballers who were not so famous, then we can name the German Julian Nagelsmann, although from childhood he was brought up in the football academy system, played himself and was injured. José Mourinho himself played in the Portuguese second league. It doesn’t matter what division we are talking about. If you have reached the professional level, it means that you already have something in you. Another German, Jürgen Klopp, was not a great player, but he spent many years in the Bundesliga.

Sergei Ovchinnikov: “Nowadays a mentor must have a certain image.” Photo: RFU press service

Do we have such examples?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: Of course. Leonid Viktorovich Slutsky played in the second league of the USSR championship. I myself performed there and I want to say that the level was high. There were a lot of first division kids who had recently graduated but wanted to make some more money.

“To become a coach, you must kill the footballer inside you.” Do you agree with this thesis?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: No. If you kill the player inside you, you will stop understanding the team and you will no longer feel it. Former footballers know very well what the boys want to hear from them, what demands should be made of them. They lived it themselves, certain nuances are not foreign to them. In general, in modern football, a coach is a psychologist, a nutritionist (a specialist in the field of proper nutrition, RG note), a nanny, a coach, a field specialist and a doctor. It is not necessary to have perfect knowledge of everything, but a specialist must know many things that accompany the profession.

It turns out that it is more difficult for current coaches?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: Of course. Before, the coach was like God and a king. Now it is necessary to be able to build relationships with the leaders of the club, the academy and the press. A mentor must have a certain image, it is necessary to develop it.

What is more difficult: establishing relationships with the players or with the coaches?

Sergei Ovchinnikov: With the seconds. Coaches have changed now and sometimes they don’t really understand what they need from a coach. They hire a person whose philosophy does not suit the team at all, he has different methods. And in such a situation, a specialist is also required to achieve results. This is the wrong approach.

Former CSKA midfielder Alan Dzagoev recently said that he was going to a coaching course and was waiting for his approval.

Sergei Ovchinnikov: He called me and we talked. We will select a training program for him under a specific license that suits him.

“As there are no European Cups now, coaches are freed from additional pressure. We have to take advantage of this moment and pay more attention to children’s, youth and youth football.” Photo: RFU press service

Which former players have good prospects of becoming a coach?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: There are guys who think deeply, but no one knows whether they will succeed or not. We had a strong group studying for the PRO-UEFA license. Its graduates are Sergei Ignashevich, the Berezutsky brothers, Spartak Gogniev, Murad Musaev. Gogniev himself has his own interesting philosophy of his. I believe that everyone has the opportunity to become a coach, it all depends on the specialists themselves, on how they perform.

Tell us what categories of licenses there are? And which is the highest?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: The main UEFA licenses are the following: “C”, “B”, “A” and the highest, PRO. You need to study for PRO for two years. There are also specialized licenses: “A” elite, “B” youth, “A” and “B” goalkeeper.

Where is the best place to train trainers?

Sergei Ovchinnikov: In France. They have been doing it for about 50 years and everything is clearly structured for them. We are still far from their level. At the same time, we adopted its structure. Although, again, we made our own adjustments, taking into account our characteristics. We had an agreement with the French Football Federation, they came to us, talked and shared their experience. We are not ashamed of our work, we have a very solid education. It’s not about the content; It may change depending on the instructors, etc. We constantly analyze our activities, looking for pros and cons.

How is the interaction with UEFA structured in the current situation?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: Nothing was interrupted. Everything is going as before, as it should be.

Each coach may have his own approach, but there are those who say: “The main thing is the players’ ability. You either have it or you don’t.” Do you agree?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: This is a very simplified approach. In this case, the technician seems to exempt himself from responsibility for the result. Mentors have different tasks. Some people care about wins, others pay more attention to player development. But even if you don’t have the best players, you can improve them to make the team more disciplined and structured. I know many coaches who really want to work at a top club. However, you must first follow a certain path.

What principles do you personally adhere to when training trainers?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: In general, football is a conservative sport, nothing has radically changed in 100 years. There were 11 players on the field, one ball, one goal, that’s how it all turned out. The rules have changed a little bit, in terms of tactics. But, as always, the spectators want to see a beautiful game and goals. Now football has become faster, coaches should take this into account. Sometimes physical and tactical advances come to the fore. In addition, psychology and nutrition are important – all this is an integral part of football.

Is there a certain model according to which trainers are trained?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: Of course. It all depends on the tasks we set ourselves. In principle, a trainer can watch videos of certain exercises on the Internet and apply them in practice. But this is very banal. Each specialist tries to contribute something of his own in every detail. This is a creative profession, it implies development.

Sergey Ovchinnikov: “Football has become faster, coaches should take this into account.” Photo: Alexander Vilf/RIA Novosti

When will we have new Gazzaevs, Semins and Romantsevs?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: They still exist today. Still, we have enough qualified coaches who are not inferior to our teachers. Football doesn’t stop. It’s very good when there is so much continuity of generations, traditions of the training workshop. The younger generation should admire them, their European Cup and their international successes.

In general, how would you assess the situation of Russian football?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: Since there are no European Cups now, coaches are relieved of additional pressure. They can develop youth and form a team. We need to take advantage of this moment and pay more attention to children’s, youth and youth football.

He worked for several years at CSKA with Leonid Slutsky. Were you surprised by his decision to head Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua?

Sergey Ovchinnikov: This is your choice. He wanted to work in another country, why not? The more of our specialists abroad, the better. We communicate with him, of course, I’m interested in how things are going for him.

Do you watch the national team matches?

Sergei Ovchinnikov: This is my job, I am engaged in training coaches. Furthermore, I not only follow the matches of the national team, but also the youth clubs, the Youth Football League (YFL). It is clear that it is impossible to cover everything, you have to filter. There are also international matches and European cups; I definitely watch and analyze them as well. I choose what is needed for today.

Tested by myself

In recent years, the RFU Academy has been increasingly in the news and has attracted the attention of not only the media, but also ordinary fans. It is here that training is taught, and it is here that famous football players who dream of trying themselves as mentors have recently enrolled in courses.

Even if it was just for one day, the RFU Academy gave us journalists the opportunity to be coaches. A very rewarding experience. Who knows, maybe it will come in handy in the future.

Maybe in a few years one of these guys will “shoot” and become a star of the Russian national team. Photo: RFU press service

The educational seminar “I am studying to be a trainer” lasted just over six hours. After a short theoretical part under the guidance of Sergei Ovchinnikov and the academy’s teachers, my colleagues and I began practical training. We were divided into groups, each of which had to perform certain tasks. Then we were asked to write a detailed training plan, after which my colleague and I conducted a half-hour lesson with young footballers from the Moscow Lokomotiv school.

I don’t know about the young talents, but my colleague Artem Lokalov and I were very impressed working with them. Let’s hope that in a few years one of these guys “shoots” and becomes the star of their club. And, perhaps, the Russian team.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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