When one think’s of Dutch football both past and present it is usually the same players and managers names such as Cruyff, Michels, Neeskens, Van Hanegem and Van Basten for example that come up. They are often talked about for special moves, goals, trophies won or a magnificent pass in a game. Andries Oosterveen says what about remembering, respecting and acknowledging a man who created a system some thirty years a go which changed the way the game was being taught and till today is being used by coaches all over the world at all levels of the game?
Wiel Coerver is a very strong candidate for being Holland’s greatest and most influential footballing export. Known as the “Einstein of football“, Coerver was born in 1924 in the town of Kerkrade in Limburg. He managed several football clubs between 1959 and 1977 including teams such as Go Ahead Eagles, Sparta Rotterdam, NEC and the Indonesian national team. But it was not until the 1970s and with Feyenoord that he achieved his most famous success where in his two year stay he won the UEFA Cup in 1974 against Tottenham Hotspur and the Eredivisie title.
The coaching method that Coerver developed in the 1970´s has been taken on worldwide and grown thanks to Alfred Galustian and Charles Cook. Many well known coaches have and still use the methods and include household names such as Bobby Robson, Alex Ferguson, Ricardo Moniz and Rene Meulensteen for example. It is now one of the most widely adopted training methods in the world. To Coerver football was more of a science than an art.
WHAT IS THE COERVER METHOD?
During the 1970s Will Coerver took inspiration for designing this coaching system by spending hours and hours studying some of the world´s greatest players of the time especially Pele and Johan Cruyff. This led him to believe that whilst some players are naturally born with great skill levels others can be taught from a very young age such skills but in a structured academic way. By dissecting the moves of great players Coerver made it possible to teach such moves to young players.
Training systems include a variety of aspects such as ball mastery, the Cruyff Turn, the step over, the feint, 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 3 vs 3 and 4 vs 4 situations, and learning how to trick a defender into thinking you will do one thing and you do another. Being extremely comfortable with the ball was essential. The whole idea behind the system was to catch defenders off guard as one cannot always rely only on outrunning an opponent as if you are being marked very tightly you will need to have a way to get out of that situation for example. Passing drills, receiving drills and a strong emphasis on speed of play fast counter attacking was also focused on.
Sadly within Holland, Will Coerver despite his obvious strong and passionate dedication to the game was never used in any aspect by the KNVB. Such a role would have been perfect for him and the game as a whole in the country. Despite not getting the respect he deserves with football historians his legacy lives on and his influences are clear to see.
Will Coerver – A great Feyenoord coach and an amazing planner and thinker of the game. I will leave it to you the reader, Holland’s most influential football export?
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