I was fortunate to have the opportunity to view Jurgen Klopp training his Liverpool side. He certainly didn’t disappoint! There was so much to learn, and so I have compiled a list of some of the lessons;
Have a Plan
Jurgen was not above carrying around a piece of paper with the session plan on it and referring to it when needed. Too many coaches see this as a sign of weakness in so much as they know what they are doing, they don’t need prompts. EVERYONE needs reminding of critical points you are trying to teach so we should all carry our session plans and refer to them whenever we need.
Make it Fun
The Liverpool players were not above a basic game during the warm up of getting into groups in the size determined by a quick shout from the coach. They loved it and plenty of laughs and banter was evident in the team.
Trust your Colleagues
Different parts of the sessions had Jurgen’s colleagues stepping in and instructing and he never undermined them, always let them finish their point or part before applying his wisdom and instruction.
Talk to Your Players Individually
Whenever there was a break in the activities, Jurgen took the time to speak one on one with a player – he got round many of the players in a single training session. That personal time helped solidify the trust and understanding between player and coach.
When working on a shadow play to goal, Klopp noticed that his players stopped and watched their team mate that found themselves in a 1v1 situation with the goal keeper. He quickly explained that this was unacceptable and that a 1v1 with the goalkeeper was not a foregone conclusion. Saves are made, posts are hit and so the whole team must continue to play until conclusion.
The next time this happened Daniel Sturridge was through on goal, Mignolet saved it and Coutinho was there following up with a delightful lob into the top corner.
Stimulate your Players Minds
The team was involved in 3/4 field passing pattern exercise and on occasions, a new ball will be entered into the exercise. The old ball was immediately forgotten and the team reacted to the new ball – getting back into shape and building an attack again. This method is fantastic for reacting to turnover of the ball and seeing how quickly the team can respond.
Attention to Detail
After an attempt on goal, the Liverpool team retreated to their own half, some weren’t watching the ball when they did this. Jurgen was very passionate in conveying the importance of facing the ball at all times – the players did not need to be corrected again.
“In the first moment of defending their is no formation”
He then went on to explain that the closest player must delay the attack in order to allow team mates the time needed to get back into a good defensive shape.
At the end of each training session Jurgen went to the far end of the line of fans hoping for a picture or an autograph and slowly worked his way to the front of the line. His players also spent a considerable amount of time with the fans! They were not too big time to do this and it showed great humility!
A fantastic experience, and I even got to meet the man himself.