Status of the blog

2017-08-08

Hello and welcome to my website!

Hope you all have had a nice summer and are prepared for the new season of futsal!

As you probably have noticed, it has been a while since I last wrote anything on this blog. This does not mean that I am dead (thanks anyway for asking), but as you might have suspected, I have too little time to maintain this website on a weekly basis.

At the moment, I am on a parental leave, which of course is a lot of fun but also takes time from coaching and writing about futsal. My wife has also got a new job, which means that my family are in the middle of a move to a new city within Sweden.

All of this together takes a lot of my time, which means that I for the moment will update this website less often than I am used to do. I have also taken a temporarily break from my Key Instructor role at Gothenburg Football Association and my expert & blogger-role at Futsalmagasinet.

This does not mean that I have ended those roles, it only means that I have taken a break until I have got more time on my hands. Hope you understand and respect that. If I get more time than I expect during this fall and winter, I will of course write here more often. Do not count on it for the moment, though.

Meanwhile, you can still get in touch with me via e-mail at hello@johansolinger.com

See you all soon!

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I will take some vacation now, but I’m back again after the summer with some fresh posts. It’s also when the futsal season starts, which I really look forward to!

Of course, you can still comment on my posts and send me emails at hello@johansolinger.com and Twitter messages at @johansolinger , but at best I will reply to these messages occasionally.

If you really need to reach me before August 1st, I recommend you to call me on phone number +46 763 69 09 70.

Have a nice summer!

A few days ago, I wrote a post at Futsalmagasinet, Sweden’s largest portal for futsal news, about the issues that arise when we educate coaches and players in futsal.

This text has been shared by many people and can be read here for those who are interested: http://www.futsalmagasinet.se/2017/06/14/futsalen-har-en-daddy-issue/

My headline in the text is that we often sell in how futsal could provide football players and coaches in their development. The problem with this kind of sales is that it will be a one-sided story and that futsal will be seen as a tool for creating better football players. That the sport would have its own value seems to be non-existent.

This is noticeable in much of the material coming from both FIFA and UEFA. It’s not uncommon with quotes like this from pro players: “thanks to futsal, I became the world player I’m today”. Of course fun for them, but would you imagine the reverse? “If I had not played football I would never have been a successful futsal player.” An stupid opinion for many, which further proves that the futsal for many people is just considered to be a tool for creating football players, not an own sport. This prevents the development of futsal on both long and short term.

Some time ago, I received additional water on my mill when I read UEFA Direct # 168, a publication that UEFA publishes. In this issue, the focus was on futsal, which you can read about here:

http://www.uefa.org/about-uefa/news/newsid=2476815.html

Of course fun that the futsal is noted, but as you may have understood, there is a con. Several times in the magazine, it is described how futsal is a tool for creating good football players and that it is mainly because of that reason why futsal exists.

Below are a few examples from page 22 of this issue that further strengthen my thesis.

It may seem small of me to remark on these words, but I have a strong belief that words affect how we think and look at things. It is of course very good that UEFA properly gives futsal a lot of space, but it must also be done right. As we use these word choices and formulas to describe futsal, it will be a one-sided story where futsal is subordinate to football. It’s problematic that we describe futsal as a tool to create footballers. Futsal is not a training method to create footballers, it is an own sport.

Misunderstand me correctly here.

I think it’s great that UEFA and FIFA give futsal more attention and of course football players can benefit from training futsal. But that does not mean it’s okay to have educations that puts the emphasis on creating good footballers instead of doing both. Or that we sell in futsal to coaches because it’s a good method of developing football players, instead of pointing out that it’s a sport that some actually prefer instead of football. Like me, for example.

A lot of thing is done well and going in the right direction, but many things can still be better.

No matter what many consider, futsal is a sport of its own, with its own rules and tactics. It is a sport that has many similarities to football, but also many differences that are important to pay attention to. Above all, it is important to make no valuation in any of those preferred from federal associations because UEFA and FIFA represent both football and futsal. Football is not futsal’s father, they are siblings who can coexist and learn from each other. That is my definite view.

Some children do not dream of becoming a new Ronaldo, some want to be the new Ricardinho.

Let them have a dream of being that without adding value to it.

100 % futsal

2017-06-01

The careful visitor may have discovered this already, but for some of you this will be a bit of news. In this year, I have taken a little calmer year, mostly because I have taken parental leave. Football / soccer has been less important, but futsal has gotten more space. You have probably also noticed this on my posts, which in the most recent past have basically exclusively been about futsal.

Now I have taken a new step in my career. I will invest fully in futsal. 100 %.

It has been a simple and difficult decision at the same time. Of course, I still love football / soccer, but my relationship with the sport has become more complicated. The coach assignments I have been offered in football / soccer have unfortunately not been what I wanted. At the same time, I have been interested more and more in futsal, which in many ways is a much more dynamic and exciting sport than football / soccer in many areas.

In a short period of time, I have built my name and received many interesting requests in the futsal world. Everything from being an expert commentator and tactic blogger to exciting coach assignments. I have been appreciated in the futsal world in a completely different way than from the competitive football / soccer universe. This is obviously great fun, but I have also learned a couple of things about my coach career.

I see this change a bit like many players are watching their careers. Some would like to be a forward, a world class striker who wins individual titles. But they soon realize that they are not competent enough. They may be the fifth choice on the coach’s list, not even on the bench. But then they saddle to be a left back and suddenly they can play continuously in the staring eleven every weekend. A wise career decision, of course.

I have thought football / soccer was fun, but despite my education and qualifications, I get a relatively uninteresting coach assignments so far. In futsal, however, organizations are screaming for competent leaders, and for that reason I have been able to advance there in a short space of time.

This is not just a cynical decision. In fact, I’ve had a lot of fun with futsal, got a spark of the sport that I missed during a period of football. / soccer. It is an extremely challenging sport for a coach, extremely flexible and places great demands. At the same time, the opportunities are great and that’s what attracts me – To be involved and build something from scratch.

In order to really succeed in a sport of my age, I think it’s important to determine the focus and therefore I have now decided to go all-in on futsal. Making such a commitment also shows that I am serious.

This does not mean farewell to football / soccer, I still love the sport, but the futsal will be what I spend all my time on from now on. In addition, to focus on two parallel tracks when I’m a parent is nothing to recommend, so a clearer focus area is needed. Which now is futsal. This because I want to learn more and develop into an equally good expert as a coach in my field.

My goal is not only to learn more and develop myself. Above all, I want as many as possible to get to know the wonderful sport futsal. It’s a great sport that many people would love, so I want to spread it as much as it goes. If I then take over a team and be successful – It’s a plus, but spreading the sport and increasing the level of education among coaches, players and audiences is the primary. I think I have a lot to contribute there with my interest in coaching.

So, 100% futsal, then.

As you know, I am currently an expert at the swedish site Futsalmagasinet and at the Swedish Futsal League’s (SFL) broadcasts, and I will also have a finger in the game for the Gothenburg Football Association’s talent training sessions in futsal. Here, on my website, I will also focus on futsal in general, but also about the coaching behind the sport.

Hopefully, I have something more interesting in futsal that I can reveal later on here on my website, but the one who is waiting for something good …

Here we go! 

Arrows and circles... They are everywhere!

Arrows and circles… They are everywhere!

Now, at last, I have compiled my futsal philosophy for public display.

You can find my futsal philosophy HERE.

Please enjoy!

Here I am, for the first time as a Key Instructor for Gothenburg Football Association.

As many of you know if, I have no Head Coaching duties this season. For the moment I am on parental leave, which of course is both fantastic and fun. What happens next season, I do not know yet, and I must admit that it begins to itch in the fingers and that I would like take over a team sometime in the future. But until then, I try to combine my maternity leave with a couple of minor tasks and some of them I intend to present for you now with this blog post.

It is no secret that I have been thrilled with the sport futsal. Last winter, I made the coaching course on the matter and in January I had the opportunity to utilize my skills when I was asked to be an expert commentator for a game in the Swedish top flight for men. After this, the carousel has rolled up properly and after awhile I was asked to be an expert for Futsalmagasinet, Sweden’s largest portal about futsal. There, I write a blog which is focused on coaching. I write about tactics, training schedules, game philosophy, leadership and a lot of other subjects that is about coaching.

This blog is in Swedish and can be found at this address:
http://www.futsalmagasinet.se/category/blogg/taktiktavlan/

I’ve been asked if I would be interested in taking over a team in futsal, which I must admit is interesting. Futsal is an interesting sport in many ways, and has great potential, not at least here in Sweden. I’ve actually had a few inquiries, but nothing that feels really hot so far. It is required that there is a sufficiently high sporting level and that there is good potential to grow as a club for me to be interested. But I close no doors yet, of course.

I still have not released football / soccer though. A while ago, I was asked by the Gothenburg Football Association to become a Key Instructor. A mission that means that I coach at talent training sessions (what is now meant by the word “talent” is an entirely different discussion, but more on that matter eventually) and raises the educational level of both players and leaders in the Gothenburg area. Obviously a very flattering mission which in any case at the moment does not take much of my time, which fits perfectly with my obligations as a parent and an expert at Futsalmagasinet.

Yesterday was my first day as a Key Instructor, one day that actually offered sun and a lot of fun memories. Some brief reflections on my part is that it was incredibly fun to get back to the training ground. I’ve been missing it for almost half a year. It was also nice to know that I still can coach with high energy and commitment, although of course it goes down a little after a day out on the pitch. After all, we coached hundreds of players for nearly five hours, you get tired after that.

Other reflections I did after my first day is how important the organization is. As I said, hundred of player trained at Heden and then you need to have the logistics to work so that the training does not suffer. Another factor that is important is to be studious as coach. I am thinking primarily of the coaching process. It is striking to me that many of the prejudices I have unfortunately was confirmed when many young players feel it is important to do things quickly rather than to do them right. Several times yesterday, I noticed players who several times tried to rushed to do things quickly, but instead of doing it right it becomes wrong. There is a difficult balance here for a coach.

Should I look the other way and praise when it’s right, or point out the shortcomings and try to get them to do the right things?

For my part, it becomes clear that there is no point in doing things quickly if it is wrong, so I’m more for the way to do it slowly and properly. Then it is easier to increase the speed and difficulty. It’s not about cutting players, it is about giving them the right tools to succeed so they can be as good as they can be.

Are you starting to cut corners with the simple things, then what will happen when you do difficult things? No, it’s better to do it properly from the start. Of course, you make a difference between what is important or not, but basically everything must be done properly – From hitting a pass on the right foot to pick up the balls after a shot exercise.

Proper behavior creates winners, that is what I think. But more on that subject in another blog post for the future…

Another thing that struck me is that the skill level of young players is incredibly different. Another may have come incredibly far in his / her development, another lie far behind. It is a challenge to adapt the training session so that everyone gets something out of it. But the important thing is not always trying to do things to the maximum, but optimally. A setting that I think you will get far with.


In addition to this, it was a brilliant day that I will remember for a long time.
It will be interesting to see how it unfolds as I get warmed up, but right now it’s a good feeling.

Although of course I miss being a Head Coach, it is not bad to be a futsal expert and a key instructor in anticipation of something good.

Is this how a good coach looks like?

Is this how a good coach looks like?

A few days ago I received a question that I still do not know how to answer. It was an old player I had in a previous team, which now is a student of the new football / soccer coach education, who wondered “what is a good coach”. Despite my years as a coach, I have to admit that the question caught me off guard.

What is a good coach?
A few years ago I would have been much more sure about the answer.

When I started my career, the answer was plain and simple that “a good coach is a coach who win games”. Rather one-dimensional, I think today, but I thought so then. Then, I thought that football / soccer was only about winning. Today I’m older, maybe not necessarily wiser, but more versed in how complex the issue really is. Above all, I have encountered coaches who I thought were skilled instructors, but they have not always succeeded on the pitch. The same goes the other way, I have met some coaches which I thought was incompetent, yet time and again manages to win games.

Obviously I no longer think that it is enough to win games to be a good coach, but I would still like to throw in a disclaimer. What is a good coach is to some extent a subjective question. Different people respond differently depending on the role one has in this context. A player certainly has a completely different view of the matter than a coach colleague, to take one example.

However, I want to write a nuanced post of what a good coach might be.

Far too often, I end up in discussions where people compare resumes and titles with each other to decide who is a better coach. Is Brian Clough better than Lars Lagerbäck? Clough has won two European Cups, but on the other hand, Lagerbäck made brilliant results with small resources in the national teams as Sweden and Iceland. Clough has never coached a national team, Lagerback has not coached a club team at top flight level. It differs 30-40 years between their two greatest triumphs. Can you even compare them?

These discussions have a tendency to stick to the number of trophies, but is it really just the price cabinet that decides whether you are a good coach or not? Should not conditions, or what level you are on, play a part here? Or what the purpose is of your coaching deed? Is it better to win titles in a team like Manchester City, with virtually endless resources and huge potential, than to remain in division 3 with a team that does not even own their own football / soccer pitch?

Many issues, of course, that creates shade to the main issue. It is not quite as simple that a good coach is a coach who win trophies, there must be other factors as well.

Let’s say we have a coach who works with children. This coach cannot win any Champions League trophies or World Cup-medals. Is it just that the coach should be compared to? Or are there other values? Maybe that many children continue with their football / soccer well into the adulthood, or that the children learn something new about football / soccer on the next training session?

Play with the idea that we compare Pep Guardiola with a football / soccer coach for children aged 6-9 years. Although both have the same title on their business cards (football / soccer coach), it is in many aspects different jobs. The other one coaches elite players at the highest top level, the other one coaches toddlers at the grassroots level. You cannot compare them. But both can still be good football / soccer coaches.

I read a study a few years ago on what the adult players wanted from their coach. It was all kinds of possible options they could answer. A tactical genius. A good educator. And so on. However, what stood out was that the most important characteristic was that the coach would be socially competent. It was by far the most important point. On a good second place, but still far from the first, was that the coach should possess football / soccer knowledge.

To be “socially competent” or “possess football / soccer knowledge” is a very vague concept, but it’s still interesting answers, although the survey was not very scientific and is a few years old. But somehow it testifies that there is not a clear answer to the question of what a good coach is.

For me, the leadership philosophy is important here (you can read mine here on my website), a document that I think all serious coaches should write. A text describing what you think is a good leader, an idol image after how I should act in my role as a coach. It is obviously extremely personal, but then you at least have a map and compass of what you think is a good coach.

So, after all this waffle – What is a good coach?

My answer is that there are probably as many answers to that question as there are people on earth. So it is very subjective. Some want a socially competent coach, others want a clear instructor while someone wants a tactician.

But one thing I want you to take with you after reading this post – When you compare coaches, define first what you think is a good coach. And understand that the issue is much more complex than to simply discuss the size of the prize cabinet.

For those of you who does not know what do to tomorrow – At 1 PM I will be in studio as an “expert commentator” when the swedish Champions, IFK Göteborg Futsal, will face the top team Borås AIK.

I will talk about my view of futsal from a coach perspective, the future of the sport and be an “expert”.

I do not know what it takes to be an “expert”, but you can nevertheless watch the game Saturday 14 th January 1 PM at the link below.

https://ifkgoteborgfutsal.solidtango.com/live/ifk-goteborg-futsal-boras-aik

As you probably already noticed, my website has a new, more international, address.

Previously, everything was in Swedish and you could come here via http://www.solinger.se

Now, it’s a new era, everything is in English and now you come here by the address www.johansolinger.com

Even the e-mail address is changed from johan@solinger.se to hello@johansolinger.com

However, you can still access the website via the old address during the remainder of 2016, but in 2017 this address will shut down. Then it’s just the COM addresses that works, but obviously I answer email in both Swedish and English.

There are some of you who wondered what happened to the old blog posts written in Swedish. These are still here under the category of old posts (see the bottom of the website), but all new posts will be written in English.

If you have any more questions on this, please feel free to contact me, tentatively at the new address.

 My time at the club was only a year, but the place in my heart remains.

My time at the club was only a year, but the place in my heart remains.

As some of you already know, it became official this weekend – I leave BK Häcken women’s team. My period at the club became only one year.

Of course it is a sad decision, however, it is a decision that has evolved over time. As usual, it is not a single reason that made me come to this point, but I will try to summarize the reasons as clearly and simply as possible.

First and foremost, I want to clarify that there is no schism between me and BK Häcken. We have throughout the year had a good dialogue and tried to find a common ground to extend my contract. Unfortunately, the club and I wanted different things.

We have made tremendous strides in our development, a year ago hardly anyone knew about BK Häcken women’s team, now it is commonly known. When I came here for less than a year ago, we had 15 players in the squad in total, three of which were long-term injuries. Now, the squad holds over 30 players. So even if the results could have been better, we have been in a construction stage that has taken more time than we anticipated. Now there is a good foundation to stand on.

I wanted to invest even more in the women’s team and bring them into the elite divisons, something that the club also wanted aswell, but the board wanted to take it a little more slow than me. I wanted to speed things up, they wanted to take it easy. There is no trouble in that, I understand them fully and respect it even if I disagree with them.

While it is of course sad, I do not regret my time at the club. It has been an incredibly rewarding year where I especially understood the importance of social interaction between players. Unfortunately, I underestimated it during the year, which resulted in some conflicts that worried the team as a whole. There were many new players in a short time, we more than doubled the squad numbers in just a few months. Naturally, this affected the result.

Another thing I analysed wrongly was our own ability to attack. Unfortunately we had not enough skilled player types to solve the complex gaming system, and I should have realized that earlier. Once I adjusted the idea of the game to be a bit more cynical, results also came at the end of the season. We had a more points than last year, scored more goals and conceded fewer. Although hopes for greater investment was not realized, it was an improvement over the year before.

However, I am both proud and happy about my year as Head Coach of BK Häcken. My greatest achievement is that I put the women’s team on the map. Before this year, barely anyone knew  that the club had a women’s team, now it’s like I said widely known. The seriousness within the squad has also increased. Now it is a much more professional bunch available on site who wants something with their football. It is a great foundation for the next coach to get into.

During my time as Head Coach of BK Häcken, there were people that meant much to me. First and foremost my Assistant Coach Erika Faith, who was the one who took me to the club in the first place. She’s also been a good friend when we discussed everything from training schedules to leadership. She will go far in her coaching career.

I also want to thank Anders Wahrnberg, who was my boss. He let me basically have free hands when it came to building the team. Other people in the staff, as goalkeeper coach Mats Pervik and physio Seppo Koskimies has been extremely valuable for our cause. The office, with Karro and Richard, have set up with everything from laundry to player registrations. For that I owe you big time.

Finally, a big thank you to the squad, which has been both ambitious and a great team to work with. It will be incredibly interesting to see how next season unfolds for them.

Me and BK Häcken are not separated like enemies, but as friends. There is no farewell, but see you later.

What comes now, then? 

Well, as you probably have noticed, almost everything on the website is in English. I have over the past year prompted many foreign visitors on the website, ordinary readers as well as clubs and sports managers abroad, who wanted an English version. It would be a bit too much work to maintain the website in both Swedish and English, so that is why the website from now will be in English.

Regarding my coaching career, I will be incredibly selective about what I undertake. If I should jump on a head coaching assignment next year there must be a sporting ambition that is exciting, a clear and well-structured organization around the team and the club, and economic tools that enables the vision.

I will not be actively running around and chasing jobs, maybe I will put up an ad on this website, but I will be careful with what I’m giving myself into.

If nothing interesting will emerge in 2017, I will spend time with my family, but also do some freelance work. Lectures may be necessary while I go in as an instructor somewhere where I can coach the players on my terms. This is to keep the coach muscle alive, for coaching is just like a muscle – If you do not practice the muscle will get weaker.

The blog is bound to live even in 2017, so nothing to worry about there. Perhaps it will be more posts as long as I am unemployed.

Stay tuned!