WESTWOOD, Calif. – José Mourinho is a colorful character and a brilliant coach. He displayed both characteristics on Monday during a coaching course for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) called Tactical Thinking with José Mourinho, which began on Sunday and ends on Tuesday.
The three-day event included a two-hour seminar with the Real Madrid coaching staff, two closed training sessions with Los Merengues, and a copy of the coaching software Tactical Board Pro with José Mourinho.
While the event was based in Southern California, participants traveled from across the country to attend the special occasion. There was also a wide range of levels in coaching represented at the course with high school, club, and college coaches all accounted for among the pupils.
“I think that anytime, no matter what your education level may be, that you can show someone what they might want to achieve I think it is a benefit,” NSCAA CEO Joe Cummings told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “Anytime you can show someone what the top is, it is worth it. It has value.”
Mourinho’s word’s definitely carried weight among the audience.
NC State head coach Kelly Findley was in the hall listening to Mourinho’s presentation and came away impressed with his words and actions.
“I think one thing you can see displayed in his team is team belief and unity,” Kelley Findley told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “I think that kind of came out today in not only what he said but in the fact he brought his whole coaching staff.”
Cummings also cited the appearance of the whole Real Madrid staff during the presentation as one of the big positives on the day.
“What I hoped that people would see was his personality and that came through,” Cummings said. “I was also really impressed with all the staff being here and showing us the little piece of the pie that makes Real Madrid the success that it is.”
The Portuguese tacticians’ message was simple at times with his overall philosophy and some insight into what has made him successful, both of which stemmed with his connection to the team and club.
“The most difficult thing is to go from effects on the group to the club philosophy,” Mourinho said during the seminar. “[To make sure that] everybody is heading in the same direction.”
The coach continued to rely on that theme throughout the afternoon, as he often talked about establishing a playing style first before heading into more refined elements of training sessions and game analysis.
Mourinho did not preach one style of play over another to the group. Instead, he encouraged the coaches in attendance to think on their own and ‘learn between them.’
The course provided a nifty tool for the coaches in helping to further their tactical breakdown of teams and opponents in the software called Tactical Board Pro with José Mourinho.
“Well, the Tactical Board Pro is to imagine a clipboard that is kind of magical,” Pedro Fernandes, one of the minds behind the software, told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “It is your opportunity to have all the information about your team at the tip of your fingers.”
The software was developed in 2010 and introduced a year later. The Pro version was just released this week.
“[Mourinho] has been working with it,” Fernandes said. “He has used it in training and games sometimes, but I can’t really say much about a lot of the things that have happened behind doors.”
The cherry on top for those at the NSCAA event came with the opportunity to view two private training sessions of the storied Spanish club on the UCLA campus.
“They are going to be the only ones in the stands to see this,” Cummings said before the afternoon session. “You can’t put a price on it.”
Mourinho said that the practices were a “good example of a complete training session” during his presentation. He talked about varying the intensity and the focus of the drills.
“We went through drills where there was a physical domination and then drills where there was a tactical domination.”
Findley took a lot away from the field sessions including some fortification for what he had done in the past.
“It obviously gives you some new things to think about,” the Wolfpack coach said. “Tactically, I think [Mourinho] is on the cutting edge of a lot of things.
“And also, it reinforces some of the things that you use from some of the games he uses. I love the little psychological pieces he uses. I thought that was pretty impressive today.”
For Cummings, the success of the Mourinho event was a sign of things to come.
“Yes, I have been able to form friendships with a number of international coaches through my travels,” Cummings replied when asked if there might be other coaching courses like this in the future. “I hope this is one of many we will do on a yearly basis.”