Pep Guardiola and team responsibility

Pep Guardiola tells his team, “You have permission to make a mistake. You have permission to lose…when you have permission, you accept. “I want the ball!”

He expresses a simple concept – you have permission to make a mistake – and when you have that permission, you have to be in the game -I want the ball – .

Wanting the ball, means “I’m here pass it to me, I’ll take responsibility for continuing the action.” Not accepting it has the opposite meaning and that is denial of the responsibility to be part of the game.

Not accepting the ball is the most serious mistake a soccer player can make. Anxiety, laziness, individualism, poor team spirit, a complaining attitude, lack of concentration or perceived excessive fatigue are at the root of this difficulty. Data tell us that most of the decisive goals are scored in the final part of games that are lost or won by the spread of one goal. This awareness on the part of the team should have as a consequence that every minute or single pass can become decisive for or against. Accepting the ball and wanting to offer it effectively to another teammate thus represents a move, which, as in a game of chess, can elicit significant positive outcomes.

This approach to the game applies to everyone, from the stars of the team to those who play less often. In the team concept everyone is important if they consistently display this behavior on the court, otherwise they are not only useless to the game but also harmful, since not accepting the ball means representing the weak side of the team on which the opposing team will insist.

Question to coaches: how do you coach this behavior?

Same concept has been expressed by Sarina Wiegman, coach of the English football team: “As I grew in my personality, I really wanted to be relaxed more. Why do players start playing football when they’re seven years old? It’s because they love the game. Yes, it’s all about winning, but you perform better when you can be yourself and when you’re in an environment – and it sounds like school – an environment where you’re safe, where you will not be judged. Because when you’re on the pitch you’re being judged all the time and that’s uncomfortable and unsafe.”

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