Lessons Learned from the Former Manchester United Assistant Coach Frans Hoek

Lessons Learned from the Former Manchester United Assistant Coach Frans Hoek

I have had the pleasure of attending numerous seminars by a coach with an illustrious career. Frans Hoek has been an assistant of Louis Van Gaal at Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Man United and with the Netherlands National Team. He works a lot with the Goalkeepers and has helped develop Edwin van der Sar, Victor Valdes and more recently David de Gea! Having worked at the highest club level and coaching at the 2014 World Cup where Netherlands demolished Spain 5-1, it is fair to say that he is an expert in his field!

A few things straight away stand out for me at everyone of his sessions! Everyone should be active in their learning process, and whether you are a player or coach (learning) – he sets a high standard and you should always push yourself to meet it!


It is all about the process! Teams should practice what we see in the game!

Therefore we need to look at the game and identify a starting situation to train. We must then delve deeper and ask the following 5 questions of that situation;

  1. What?
  2. Who?
  3. When?
  4. Where?
  5. Which?

It is only when we can answer all these questions – can we set an aim for a session. Following the delivery of the training session, it is always important to evaluate and reflect on the session.

Remember – the basis is always THE GAME!


The work with the players is done in training.

We as coaches must work to create game realistic learning experiences that build towards the 11v11 game. Through these layered game simulations we are able to build up understanding in the players.

The game environment and mentality is vital for this – meaning that technical execution, decision making, scoring into open goals must all be done as if you were playing an important game.

I fully agree with this – we should always practice how we would play in a game….avoiding sloppy passes and holding on to the ball for too long just because it is practice should not be the norm! Set your standards high!


We all understand that our role as a coach extends far beyond that of simply running training sessions. However coming from a person such as Frans Hoek and his attention to detail I was not surprised to see an extensive breakdown. The question I have for you – are you doing all these as a coach?

  • Have a clear vision.
  • Translate that vision to way of playing.
  • Profile your players.
  • Scout players both in your system and those outside it.
  • Create a season plan.
  • Have a personal development plan.
  • Set up a periodization plan.
  • Have practices based upon your way of playing, your opponents way of playing and ones that prepare for games.
  • Coach games.
  • Evaluate your team.

I will always remember Frans Hoek saying –

“You have to learn not to show emotion. It clouds your judgment and does not allow you to see the game clearly! WATCH THE GAME CLEAN!”

I think that the biggest thing I take away each time is the attention to detail and the constant strive for perfection! When he was coaching at Manchester United they would film and ANALYSE the training sessions! I am not saying that you should do that but try to find ways to be the best coach/team/club/company that you can be!

If you ever get the chance to attend a seminar of his then I highly recommend it!



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