THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Rob Baan: We are preaching the same religion

Raymond Verheijen in India

In the span of 24 hours, the ‘Cup of Tea’ – between the two morning sessions of the Conditioning Conference for Football Coaches – tasted so much better for all the 33 participating Coaches.

Till Tuesday morning — the opening day of the three-day meet being conducted by renowned Dutch fitness coach Raymond Verheijen, the participants, which include I-League Coaches, All India Football Federation contracted coaches and few other tacticians from outside, the ‘football world’ and its ‘language’ was alien to them.

“The first impression of Mr Raymond Verheijen was of a man who means serious business. We all thought this is going to be tough three days for us. But as the first day progressed, and he introduced us to the world of football where one should always speak in football language and not technicalities; it was like enlightenment of the highest order,” Derrick Pereira, coach of Pune FC quipped, sipping a cup of tea.

“I feel a different person now, with a different outlook. I feel abreast and so enlightened. I have learnt a lot so far and will translate this knowledge to my boys back in Pune when we resume next month. I sincerely thank the AIFF for this endeavour. This is so enriching,” he added.

Minutes earlier, Verheijen, who has the experience of working with the likes of Guus Hiddink, Dick Advocaat and Frank Rijkaard, was talking about how a coach needs to be a role model in order to preach the football language which is difficult at the outset.

“As a coach you need to be a role model. You need to be dynamic. Take decision on its merit and not by being presumptuous and predetermined. To be able to preach the football language, which is let me tell you a difficult job to do, you need to be uninhibited,” Raymond had stressed.

“You are not wrong, always remember that. You are on the right side of the argument. You are here to learn the football language and not blabber aerobic and anaerobic while teaching fitness exercises or conditioning as a whole,” he added, sternly.

Sporting Clube de Goa coach Oscar Bruzon who was standing next to Pereira while the latter was all praise for the Dutchman, added: “Raymond is truly World Class. You realise that in every step. His approach and the way he makes things simple is in itself a testimony to his genius. This has been an extremely educative Course for me. I will do the four against four and eight against eight training to improve my players’ action per minute. That is immensely helpful. I keenly observed the practical sessions and picked up so much,” Bruzon prophesied.

AIFF Technical Director Rob Baan said that it is heartening to see that the same philosophy is being taught by Verheijen over the three days to all the Coaches. “We are preaching the same religion. Like for example, static stretching is something we don’t teach to our kids at the Academies,” Baan opined.

“Raymond is of the same opinion that dynamic stretching is much more effective than static stretching. My thoughts are on similar lines with Raymond and I am glad to bring him here. All our (AIFF Contracted) coaches and I league coaches will learn so much from here. I am sure Pradip Dutta, fitness instructor of the Indian National Team will pass on the knowledge to our National team players as well,” Baan added.

Dutta nodded with a confident smile. “Raymond makes life so simple for a Coach. These technical terms are done away with but the essence of fitness training and conditioning is never compromised, not an inch. This is just amazing. The way he teaches recovery process and actions per minute are simply world class. I will go out of the conference to the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers, a much more confident fitness trainer.”

Scott O’Donnell, Director Academies and Coach Education, echoed Baan’s sentiments. “This is fantastic for our Coaches of the Academies. They are now up to date with the latest conditioning methods. They’ll teach this to our colts,” he maintained.

ONGC Coach Santosh Kashyap concluded by saying that: “The timing is just perfect for the Conditioning Course to take place. We have a break now in the I-league and before entering the final phase, such a novel Course will do wonders. In the long run also, such a high profile personality from the football world is coming to India and teaching us is very good. This will be go a long way in improving the standard of Coaching in India, especially their vision.

(AIFF Press Release)