How to accelerate Experience while young?

coaches leadership players talentdevelopment teamperformance Mar 09, 2023

"Never seen a bag of money score"

one of Cruyffs famous quotes when I started as a young coach. Much is predicted with crazy budgets, many coaches have been told to think more realistic and play mostly the transition game, from a well organised low defensive block.

But AZ does things different, from their approach to Talent Identication all the way to their consciously chosen Coaches pool and from their top down leadership that is always trying to focus on being better tomorrow than today.

Young and Unexperienced

Young men, teenagers (4 in starting 11)  among others that played their first European top team at this level. Impressed by stats, entourage and the stars around them showing a shaky beginning in the first half, with the expectation to be overwhelmed.

Growth mindset

But then you saw one of AZ's unique pillars of focus. Combining quick learning, recognising spaces, falling back to trainingmode made them repack the 2nd half. AZ realised what to do in pressuring Lazio AND was physically and mentally able to do that together for the full 50 minutes left. Even with 4 youngstars subs coming in at the same time (!) the team continued their plan without a glimpse.


When they had the ball in their backline, with Lazio pressuring to make the equalizer. AZ was aware Lazio was not pressuring as a team and they kept composure to play from the back to midfield to start a new attack. Lazio was not able themselves to play out of the AZ pressure. But when AZ lost the ball they directly attacked the ball with full pressure, while the rest quickly restored the defensive organisation around the ball.



Youngstars yes, less experienced team yes. But playing composed as Giants, age became just a number.  This was a masterclass on what great Teambuilders do and how Total Football should be played.  Great job of AZ Coach Pascal Jansen  and staff!

 What a great inspiration for the 'idealists' to try to keep doing the thing we believe in, thinking different, and doing it with excellence. And every day, trying to be a little bit better than yesterday. Because a lack of resources should never stop you from being resourceful!


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