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Four masters and their methods: Part-1, Fabio Cappello

By Anthony Hudson, Real Maryland FC Head Coach

What do Fabio Capello, Jose Mourinho, Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger all have in common? On the surface there are about ninety-three trophies between them all, which include Premier League titles, Serie A titles, Champions League, UEFA Cup and FA Cup, and many others. And if that isn’t enough to get your interest, how about if I take a look at each of these masters of the coaching world, to see how their experiences can benefit other coaches.

I am aware that this article is biased.  I am looking at areas and places that I think can be used in order to help you become a better coach. This article is not meant to describe their careers.

Fabio Cappello
Fabio Capello has a reputation as  ‘the Greatest Manager in the world’.  He demands a consistent discipline, he insists on respect from his players, hard work and, as a result, his teams have a habit of winning games. These traits may not seem so glamorous to some of today’s coaching fraternity, but the fact of the matter is, it translates to nothing more than wanting to win!

Top Italian goalkeeper Iker Casillas recalled Capello as ‘having a lot of intensity and is on top of everybody – all the time.’ He demands that every training session be like a match – same tension, same intensity, same build up, same concentration. The man is a winner and his record most definitely speaks for itself, ‘I don’t have a minimum target for next season, I only have one objective – to win it all!’ Capello put it in simple terms as manager of Roma.

There has been much written about Capello and discipline. It seems anything that has the potential to become a distraction to the team winning, is promptly removed. From mobile phonesto club directors, they are not welcome in and around the preparations of the team; they are as Capello states, ‘distractions’. He demands that his players respect others wherever they go, be it hotel staff or waiters in a restaurant. ‘I do not accept lack of respect! Would you like it if someone spoke to your father or brother badly? You must never forget – you must respect others.’ He also mentioned that ‘fans liked it when I cracked the whip – they see that I have a plan.’

When listening to interviews with Capello he can often be heard talking about – the ‘group’ and the ‘spirit of the group’. This constant seems to be born from his passion and his demands for good, strong character. Discipline and having a clear, strong set of team rules are ‘necessary to create a group. Functioning this way has always given results.’

This man of character, so sure of himself and his ability, now leads the England National team to the World Cup.  This is a long way from his days at AC Milan.  Having just finished his playingcareer and learning to become a coach, he took a year off from soccer.   He used this time to study business, learning from the corporate world, in communications, all under the guidance of club President Silvio Berlusconi. It’s been said that he approached that year with real ‘spirit and enthusiasm’ – something I would imagine most coaches would find very difficult to do, especially being pulled away from football for so long and thrown into unknown territories. Seeking education from these outside sources is very rare in the game, but I can’t help but believe that they have made him an even better coach, manager and person.

Coaching Lessons from Fabio Capello
- Demand high standards – everyday from everyone
- Make sure training is exactly like the game.
- Same intensity
- Same build Up
- Same tension
- Same concentration
- Make sure your players show respect to and for others.
- Discipline – Find your set of rules and stick to them.
- ‘Rules are necessary to create the group.’ Capello
- Seek outside learning – business, language, communications, etc.

Editor’s Note: Article courtesy of the author, Anthony Hudson, Head Coach of Real Maryland FC, a USL-2 professional team playing in Rockville, MD. Come back Thursday for “Part-2, Jose Mourinho”.