Closing the Gap with Even Pellerud

Closing the Gap with Even Pellerud

Closing the Gap with Even Pellerud 480 328 CWESN

With the Olympics a few days away, and the US women looking for revenge against Japan in the football final, talk of whether or not T&T will ever get there looms.

T&T is filled with talented players, the women’s programme has been fortunate enough to have the services of the highly successful women’s coach in Even Pellerud and has even hosted a women’s World Cup. Why then have the national teams failed to make it out of qualification tournaments and in some cases were ousted in the first round?

To get the answer to this question, we went to the man who should be able to answer it, given his portfolio – Technical Director of Women’s football in T&T, Even Pellerud.

Even, we think is the right person to ask, not only because of his current position, but more so in light of his background, having participated twice in Olympic events as a coach – leading Norway in 1996 (Bronze medal in Atlanta) and Canada in 2008 (5th place finish in Beijing).

   

CWESN: Women’s football has become one of the most competitive Women’s sport across the globe now, why is it that T&T cannot qualify for World Cups and Olympic playoffs, while a small country like Norway and an ice hockey dominated country like Canada can qualify and do well in the Olympic summer games time after time, but Trinidad & Tobago cannot?

  

His Response:

If a country wants sustainable success in football, only a systematic approach works! Successful football federations take control and develop clear guidelines when it comes to Goal setting, analysis of Consequences and Demands, thus creating a committed Action plan and making sure plans are Implemented. This is a 5 point plan that I find useful as a general guideline for success:

 

Point 1 

SUCCESS IN INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL CAN BE ACHIEVED IF THERE ARE CLEAR RESULT GOALS IN PLACE (FOR ALL NATIONAL TEAMS)

These goals must be built by the National organization. A High performance department is set up. All hiring in the High Performance Environment need to reflect the ambitious goals in this department.

Example: T&T should reach WC/Olympic playoffs on a regular basis (high, but realistic goal)

 

Point 2.

THE FEDERATION SPELLS OUT THE DEMANDS/CHANGES/CONSEQUENCES IMPLIED IN BECOMING A HIGH PERFORMANCE FOOTBALLING COUNTRY.

All parties involved in National teams needs to take on an ownership attitude towards these changes. Changes are painful, but necessary.

 

Point 3

THE FEDERATION DEMANDS THAT EACH PROGRAM DEFINES A DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL ACTION PLAN.

In this point, details are crucial; training plans, domestic programs, international events, mental training, tactical/technical approach, match analysis, player development, international contacts etc, etc. 

 

Point 4

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION IS CAPABLE OF IMPLEMENTING THE ABOVE MENTIONED ACTION PLANS – AND ENSURE THAT FUNDS AND COMPETENT SUPPORT STAFF IS IN PLACE.

Hiring of relevant staff based on competence – corporate sponsorships – reporting lines – support functions – control functions (are we going in the right direction?) – etc 

 

    Point 5

 A SUCCESFUL SPORT ORGANISATION IS ALLOWING THE KEY PERSONELL (DIRECTOR/HEAD COACH) TO RUN THE PROGRAMS – WITH NO POLITICAL INTERFERENCE.

    The Director is accountable for budget control, mentoring and personnel issues. The Head coach is accountable for the team’s results. Thus the technical staff has full control, but they will also be responsible

    for any failure!

 

I find that we tend to criticize our athletes; we talk about their lack of passion and the absence of discipline, work ethic and consistency. There is no doubt that we do have problems to solve in these areas. My point is; maybe we as leaders need to change first? If we are not systematic and disciplined, how can we expect the players to be? If the coach is not timely, why do we expect the player to be? If we find excuses for our shortcomings, so will the players. If we are not prepared for international football, how can we prepare the players for it?

 

If the athletes recognize excellence around them, they will respond – not immediately, but over time they will. The systematic approach that I have outlined above is about transparency, accountability and consistency. When athletes recognize class around them, they will be motivated and respond with class.

Our tendency to go day by day, and make decisions on the go – does not create success, only frustration. Success in sport is about good planning, long-term commitment and stamina.

 

In conclusion; Although Trinidad & Tobago has a very small population and is lacking in sporting infrastructure, I am convinced that we can reach much higher. Progress can only be achieved by systematic work over time!