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Ленинградская область
29 тур 24 апреля 2024, 18:30 (г. Жигулёвск)

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“The best transfer is training.” The results of autumn with Evgeny Kaleshin
29 November 2022 в 21:39

Akron’s first training camp under the new coaching staff will be held in Turkey.

The head coach of our team answered the questions of the club’s press service and said:

– what tasks the “red-blacks” will solve at the winter training camp;

– how the team is adapting to new requirements;

– who Akron’s coach is going for an internship with;

– what the coach shows the players on the theory.

“The hardest part was getting the team to believe in themselves”

Before the season, you were matched to Khabarovsk, Tula, but in the end, you chose Akron, which led during the season in a very difficult tournament situation. Have you ever received commands in such an emergency mode before?

– This is the first time for me, but the coaching career is not so big to talk about some such coincidences. Basically, we didn’t think much about it. We wanted to work, and we understood that there was a quality team here, an interesting club that set ambitious goals for itself. There was no difference when to start work. Each time it’s a new chapter. You need to get involved in the work with maximum enthusiasm and energy. A coach can never wait for a favorable situation: it is always negative for some coach, and for another it is the beginning of a journey in a new club.

20 rounds out of 34 have passed. Will you consider the second part as preparation of the foundation for the next season, or do you not rule out the possibility of persecuting the quartet for yourself?

– You need to look at things realistically. You can’t sacrifice a single season, not a single training session, not a single match. You need to understand that now we are closer to the relegation zone than to solving any high tasks, so we must try to do everything to stabilize the score and the team’s game, and so that we can say with confidence that the team will continue to play next year in the First League.

– Akron has the most draws by the winter break. How to deal with them?

– There was a negative segment when we could not win. Although, I think, in some matches we deserved to win, but it was not given to us. There is a complex of reasons here: both selection and organization of the game. I think we need to decide everything together. There is not one single factor due to which we could not finish the opponent when we had a good advantage in the game.

– Which match would be singled out as the highest quality, and which one would not be included in your asset?

– There was not a single whole match where we spent all 90 minutes at the same level. We had patchwork games where we dominated for long episodes and played correctly, but there were also sections where we could not maintain the right rhythm and the right quality. One of the tasks in the winter preparatory period will be to find stability in our playing organization so that we can show the same football throughout all 90 minutes and injury time.

– What trends would you note in the First League?

– The first five or six teams objectively show quality football and consistently score points. They are multifaceted. If to characterize Baltika, the leader of the tournament, it is a powerful and good pressing team with vertical football. Teams like Yenisey and Alania play football in the opposite way, with more ball control and combinations. The tournament is interesting to watch, it is very difficult in terms of tension. Each point is given with great difficulty, it is very difficult to beat someone.

– The team began to receive minimum warnings, in the fall there was not a single red card: such discipline from the game model or your requirements?

– We are gradually changing the team’s habits so as not to waste extra energy on talking to referees and unruly behavior. Any yellow card received in wrestling or single combat is always correctly scored, but cards for unsportsmanlike conduct are penalized by the club. In such a long, exhausting tournament, having a player who receives three or four cards for unsportsmanlike behavior is an unaffordable luxury.

– Did the expectations that you had before coming to Akron and what you see now coincide?

– I can characterize the club as a positive structure with real fans of their work. A respectable team culture has been established here, everyone supports each other and treats each other kindly. I mean not only the coaching staff, but also the staff of the club – a positive atmosphere around the team, regardless of the results. It always helps the work of the coaching staff when you don’t have to be distracted by things that can negatively affect the image of the team, the image of the players. It didn’t work here. This culture needs to be developed and maintained.

– What was the most difficult for the period while you are working with the team?

– In such a situation, the most difficult thing is to make the team believe in themselves. Footballers need to quickly shift their focus away from negative thinking. When a team has qualified players, very often the problem is in the field of psychology. Faith in yourself, faith in your strengths, faith in your partner, faith that results will come sooner or later if you do what the coach requires correctly and see the relationship with how you train. It was because of this that we could not bring some matches to victory, because we did not have enough self-confidence.

– Do the conditions in which the team works leave some kind of imprint? What did you have to adjust in terms of team organization?

– In my opinion, Akron has quality conditions for training. Probably the only negative is the logistics, which takes an hour and a half before training and an hour and a half after. At least three hours you are only on the road. But taking into account the conditions created at the Kristall stadium in Zhigulevsk, the material and technical base that the club has is all at a very good level. You can’t complain here. We have everything for the recovery of the guys, a good medical and biological room, a lot of equipment. The management of the club does not spare money for improvement. Of course, there is always room for progress, but we understand that we are not at the very top of Russian football, and the club will slowly move forward in this direction.

“The supply of new players must be constant”

– How quickly did the players adapt to your style and training process? Was everything really in order? Were there moments when you had to crawl under the skin?

– This is an everyday process that cannot be planned. Situations arise with every player. We were able to talk to everyone. Moreover, now we have a psychologist. All the guys have been tested, we have a portrait of each player in our hands. There is an understanding of what points can be pressed. This makes it easier for the coaching staff. Naturally, each coach sees the situation in his own way. If you do not believe in this, it is very difficult to convince someone of something. We did our best through training, through explanations, through the fact that we do what we do with faith: with faith in the football that we promote and broadcast to the team. It was important to gain the respect and attention of the players in order to change some of the habits that would allow the team to start winning. It all depends on the general situation in the club. It is more difficult to implement all this when the team has a negative background. When there are some things that tear apart the locker room from the inside. Here we are faced with a positive core within the team, with the right dressing room. This, of course, is the merit of the previous coaching staff, which correctly selected people in terms of human qualities, and this is an important factor. Well, nowhere without the qualifications of the players.

– Are there such examples now in Akron that after working together you looked at the player differently?

– Akron has an experienced squad. We know many players, some players were even invited to other teams and followed them. I know Konstantin Savichev well, because when he was still playing in Spartak Moscow, was on an internship and saw how he trains, this footballer was not a discovery for me. I remember Kostya Bazelyuk from the youth team of CSKA when he started. Zhenya Pesegov, Maxim Palienko, Ivan Chudin, Seryoga Makarov – probably, you know 90% of the line-up from performances at the youth level or from professional careers. Here the lion’s share of the players are of a good level. We didn’t need to discover anyone. Yes, some young players like Vova Marukhin, Max Matveev, Svyatoslav Kozhedub are a new generation that you get to know in your daily work. These guys appeared in the team recently and in football, in principle, have just begun their journey. With them it was more difficult to understand their strengths and weaknesses. In extreme situations, a person shows himself as he is. And we had them when it was hard. When you meet tough competition or resistance on the football field, when you need to step over yourself, over your ego, there is a moment for analysis. Especially in the conditions of the training process or in some matches, the players showed their good side. We have a good team.

– How drastically do you need to update the composition in the offseason? Does everyone suit your style? Which paylines require amplification and in what quantity?

– The correct position on this issue is silence. Everything should take place behind closed doors, but the flow of fresh blood itself should be constant. At each stage, new players should come – one, two, three – depending on the needs of the team, in order to constantly maintain a high level of competition in the squad. Without this, it is very difficult to progress both within the team and in the national championship.

If we turn to international experience, teams that win a lot, then there are core players who determine the team’s style of play and its vector of development. But every transfer window there are small changes. They can’t be global, because then you will break the interactions and the identity of the club. We need targeted injections that allow us to constantly improve the quality of the squad – this, in any case, will have a positive effect on the players. The competition in the lines, within the team, allows the player to deliver the very best of himself. And this allows the team to progress – the fans will understand and see this.

– Is it important for you that all newcomers are at the team’s disposal already at the first training camp?

– Of course, such a task, among other things, is facing the club’s sports department, so that we can negotiate quickly and adapt the players from the very first day to the training work and the team’s style of play. If such newcomers appear, then we will definitely talk to them in order to explain to them our models, requirements and laws that already exist before us – so that they accept them as quickly as possible.

– Are you satisfied with the game of “limiters” in this segment and do you have enough of them?

– I don’t think this should be made public. The guys have no complaints. It’s not their fault that this league judges a limit that, like doping, allows a player to rise to a high level too early and sometimes does a disservice to young players. The best transfer is training.

– In the three months that you have been working with Akron, students from the Akron-Konoplev Academy have been involved in the training process, Alexei Gusev even made his debut in your presence. Will you take any of them to Turkey?

– We will definitely take a few people to the training camp. This will be a small advance for good work at the Academy. We have a constant focus on our “Academy”, on attracting players. This will be a signal to the parents of the players that the pupils have a future in the first team if they want to break through here. It depends only on the players themselves how fast their progress will be. As a rule, the lion’s share of players must go through certain stages of preparation – the youth championship, UFL, Second League, First League and RPL. We hope that in the future the club will have another structure – the second team, which will be announced in one of the groups of the second division, in order to adapt the players as quickly as possible and raise their level due to the fact that they will play already in more men’s football, where the stakes are higher, the competition and resistance are higher.

“Our task at the training camp is to train football”

– How will the individual work of the players be structured before the medical examination?

– We will try to give the players a rest for 21 days so that they are disconnected from football – maybe they will look more closely at the World Cup. We recommend that they switch their attention to another sport: swimming, basketball, running – so that during this period they enjoy life, spend more time with their families and loved ones. Then we developed a program, the guys downloaded a special application, where they will be under the control of the coaching staff in order to prepare directly for the resumption of the championship. At first, the work will be individual – for each player, his disadvantages and characteristics, which are now lame. With the help of these 12 workouts, you will need to approach the medical examination in good condition in terms of physiology, but most importantly – rested, hungry for football and training work. The interval is quite long – almost a month and a half. But I don’t think that modern football players will lie on the couch all this time. Of course, it will be active rest, trips. There shouldn’t be a problem here. We try to scroll through the minds of the players so that they themselves understand that they need it.

– Tell us about the venue of the training camp and its content.

– If the socio-political situation in the world does not change, then we plan to hold all three camps in Turkey. These will be different hotels, different conditions, and we will not return to Russia between training camps, because this is a rather problematic logistics. We will try to work on all aspects of the game there, because, in our opinion, absolutely every component of our game needs to be improved, and we can do it in good conditions. Our goal was to find places where we would have quality fields. All training sessions will take place with the ball. Our work will be aimed at improving communication and understanding of each other, so that the whole team looks at each game episode in the same way – this makes it easier to solve problems that arise in the match. We will repeat the situations that we are good at and compensate for the negative aspects that we have in our game. They will continue, but you need to constantly strive for excellence. There is no finished project, it can be when you already leave the team and it has achieved everything. But there are no such commands. The constant search for solutions that complicates the life of the opponent is the defense phase, the attack phase, transitional moments, and set pieces. Any kind of sport is based on this, and even more so a team sport.

– Do I understand correctly that there will be no continuous “physics” at the first training camp?

– It is very difficult to transfer isolated and non-specific running work to the football field. Even running in football is associated with thinking and constant search for information. Such work is not so effective, although it also bears fruit, and it will be done in order to test the moral and volitional qualities of the players. See how they handle situations when things get tough. We will try at some stage to level the physical condition of the players. And so our task is to train football.

– Due to the political situation, the choice of sparring opponents will become scarcer. Are foreigners still a priority?

– Indeed, there is a small problem with this, because it is difficult to say how the negotiation process will go, signing match contracts with teams not from our country. Of course, we give preference to foreign clubs, because this is an exchange of football culture, an opportunity to see how other teams play and at what level we are. I would like to play with representatives of the top divisions, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Serbia, or Montenegro, or Croatia. Maybe we can play with RPL clubs. We plan for each player 4-5 full matches. We want to devote more time to the training process, because in order to harvest something, you first need to sow something. And you can sow something only during training work – where the coach can manage and operate something. We do not plan many matches. There are preliminary agreements with the teams, there are options, but the match contracts have not yet been signed. The games must coincide in dates, be synchronized with the schedule of the training process, so that we do not break it for some team. In principle, we are not going to do this.

“If you get ahead of evolution a little bit, you can achieve good results”

– In one of your interviews you said that perfectionism in football and life is “very bad”. Have you changed your attitude towards this or do you think that this is an exceptionally painful condition that does not benefit the process?

– Patience is very important. You always find for yourself some kind of ideal game, team or some kind of person and you have to constantly think in one day. A goal that is too distant and unrealistic, which cannot be achieved under certain conditions or limits, will poison your life. We need realistic goals and day-to-day thinking. The desire to make small changes every day. Let it be a small habit: for example, I did not walk 10,000 steps today, but 11,000. The same goes for every player. Then this will allow you to maintain mental health, you will never be disappointed, compare yourself with an opponent and fight with him in a virtual battle. We just need to improve ourselves, believe in what we are doing, believe in the support of a partner. The club has good conditions and a qualified team. All that is needed to achieve the result is fanaticism and the quality of the players. In this sport, it is important how much the players know how to play football and, more importantly, how much they want to do it – to sacrifice themselves in order to achieve team goals. The word “perfectionism” itself is good, but it is already very hackneyed. These high standards simply need to be reaffirmed every day. We want to achieve a result, but the result itself does not give those emotions: each victory burns out in one or two minutes. You need to think about the next win, the next team. But when you learn to find a drive within the process, when you understand that every training session and meeting is of great importance and you really like it, then you calmly react to some positive and negative episodes, and become a happier footballer, coach, without looking too far ahead.

– Tell us about how the training process works at Akron and how much it differs from the clubs where you worked before?

– We use a certain methodology. We can say that this is a kind of mix of knowledge of our coaching staff, because it is such a cumulative effect. Everyone brings their own experience, and due to the fact that we are not afraid to implement it, we get feedback from the players, the results of the team, how the team looks, what their behavior on the field is, and we try to change it very quickly. If something does not work, we simply discard it, and what works, we strengthen. We are trying to analyze – now with the help of modern equipment in Akron it is easier to do this. We have a very high-quality analytics and monitoring system. For each training session, we have a full range of data and can analyze in great detail. Naturally, we ourselves do not stand still, we are trying to find the set of tools that will help to realize our coaching ideas. They do not differ from the ideas of modern football. The search for the message that the players receive must be constant. Something that we did 4-5 years ago, we do not use at all, because there is an evolution of training methods and there is more knowledge. You communicate with other coaches who come to us for internships or vice versa – this enriches us, and we are trying to introduce this into the training process. But globally, the methodology does not change, it only evolves. Some things leave, some appear – more relevant for the current generation of players, because they perceive a lot differently, there is a difference in their health. The progress of the football industry helps to more accurately approach each player individually and assess his condition in more detail.

– A few years ago you said that Marcelo Bielsa is your inspiration. Is it still like this? What coach has appeared on the horizon of your interests?

– I try to monitor all the coaches who are trying to implement the idea of proactive football, total football, collective organization of the team and study their work: De Zerby, Graham Potter, Eddie Howe, Xavi is now in Barcelona. Of course, Marcelo Bielsa was and remains the standard of coaching skills and a look at the game and football life in general. Everyone should have before him a person from whom you can learn both in the profession and in life. This candidacy suits me. From each interview, I draw something new for myself and do not see anything shameful in this. As long as you live, you need to constantly learn.

In principle, I pay attention to many sports, I read a lot of coaching interviews in the NBA, KHL. I have plans for an internship with the Torpedo hockey team from Nizhny Novgorod. I’m going to Igor Larionov. He has a specific team that plays non-classical Russian hockey, built on combinations and thinking. It will be very interesting just to see how the locker room is managed and the training process is arranged. I hope to visit the team at the training camp in Nizhny Novgorod from December 12 to 17. Everything has already been agreed. It will be interesting because it is also a team sport. Of course, it is seriously different from football, but some things can then be tried to apply. As far as I know, Torpedo has a North American approach that differs from our generally accepted one. It will be interesting to talk with such a person, a brilliant hockey player and a great player. We can say that now he is a coach who is only showing himself, but this is a global personality.

– Are there things that you recently spied on in other sports and put into practice?

– I can give an example of team management. Recently we showed the players a moment from the Spanish Championship in kayaking and canoeing. One of the very famous athletes broke her paddle and how she reacted to it for teamwork. This is a very good visual effect. Even great athletes don’t put their egos above team goals and continue to work in unison to achieve victory. If you approach carefully and wisely, then in every sport you can find equally characteristic things at a basic level. This may apply to both technical means and behavior. The most important thing is how you behave in stressful situations, how you digest victories and defeats.

– What tactical innovations do you find the most interesting and why?

– Many teams are now moving away from the closed style – especially in the top 5 championships. Everywhere there is progress in the game with the feet of goalkeepers, although two or three years ago, perhaps, this was not yet such a dominant feature. Now the goalkeeper is a full-fledged attacking player when the team has possession of the ball. A football player who is not excluded from attacking actions, but is an element of their construction in order to overcome the opponent’s resistance. Without this, modern football is impossible now. You will not be able to dictate your terms and play collective football if the goalkeeper is excluded from this process.

Some teams are more and more inclined to leave players in one-on-one positions in order to take advantage off the ball. Teams rely less on zone marking. Very often, personal-oriented pressing is used in order to deprive the opponent of the opportunity to combine. In our game, we also strive to play some episodes of the match in such a way as to teach players not to be afraid to stay one-on-one against an opponent and, with the help of individual duels, deprive the opponent of the opportunity to create some kind of advantage. We will continue to work on this at the training camp.

Football is moving towards the fact that the extra player will be an element that does not help the team – each player must be involved in a certain place and time in attacking or defensive actions. As the great Valery Vasilyevich Lobanovsky said: most likely, there will be no more revolution in football, there will be a long and systematic evolution. You just have to try to keep up with this evolution, follow it, and if you get ahead of it a little, you can achieve good results.

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