BDFL welcomes record number of participants to 57th edition of ITK

20 August 2014 – Well over 1,000 coaches (including some 30 delegates from other AEFCA member organisations) accepted the invitation extended by the German Bund Deutscher Fußball-Lehrer (BDFL) to attend its International Coaches’ Congress (ITK).

This year’s event took place in the Mannheim ” Congress Center Rosengarten” from 28 to 30 July 2014, with the key contributors focusing on reviewing and analysing the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, as well as presenting the various facets of match preparation. While rightly giving centre stage to the German senior national team’s exploits in South-America, the organisers chose to sub-title the event “In moments of glory, put things on the right tracks for the future” – never better said.

World Cup analysis from a German perspective
Just a few weeks after the World Cup final, DFB coaching staff members Bernd Stöber and Frank Wormuth provided the BDFL members with an exclusive and detailed analysis of the tournament, based on their long-time expertise and the systematic match observations featuring those teams that had gone through to the round-of-16 including, obviously, the German side.

In his review, Frank Wormuth called Germany “the most complete team that, even from the most objective point of view, deserved to win the title.” Wormuth, who is in charge of the DFB’s Hennes-Weisweiler Akademie where Germany’s UEFA Pro Licence candidates are educated, singled out two factors: “controlled and target-oriented transitions after regaining possession” and “outstanding goalkeeping play”. At the same time, he praised Germany’s collective discipline in switching from attack to defence, a quality sadly missed in, for example, the Brazilians who, he said, lacked any “compactness in possession”, nor did they appear to have any “clear-cut defensive strategy.”

Notwithstanding Germany’s World Cup triumph, Bernd Stöber (DFB chief A licence instructor) appealed to those present to keep a watchful eye on international trends in professional football, as well as to constantly optimise coach education and further training, especially in the oft-forgotten “lower” reaches of the game, the objective being to improve standards in depth.

Feature writer Karlheinz Raviol (left) congratulating Jorg Luís Pinto on his presentation. Photo: Helmuth Reuscher

World Cup participants Finke and Pinto
In Volker Finke (Cameroon) and Jorge Luís Pinto (Costa Rica), the event also featured presentations by two active World Cup participants, with the latter explaining his team’s sensational tournament progress by citing hard work and tactical discipline as key ingredients, areas where Finke was the first to admit that Cameroon fell lamentably short. In a separate talk, Finke focused on the key importance of video analysis as a vital tool in pre-match preparation and post-match analysis. If presented to the team the right way, he said, shared video analysis sessions could be a great option for coaches to strengthen and stabilise their players’ “mindset to play successful football.”

High-calibre experts at panel discussion
Finke was later joined by Bundesliga coaches Thomas Schaaf (Eintracht Frankfurt), Armin Veh (VfB Stuttgart) and Christian Streich (SC Freiburg), as well as DFB General Secretary Helmut Sandrock, who shared their views on “The state of German football in terms of sport and organisation.” The panellists all agreed on the excellent German coach education system as one of the key contributors, expressing their confidence in that the DFB’s own academy, which is planned to be built in Frankfurt, would add even more value in this respect. The fact that more and more up-and-coming youngsters are coming through and are given access to – and indeed lots of Bundesliga minutes for – their respective first-team squads was also considered a huge bonus. This in contrast to, for example, the English Premier League where international transfer deals attract outstanding foreign players, often to the detriment of young English-born talent.


Thinking outside the box
In a deliberate attempt at thinking outside the box, the event organisers had also invited Markus Weise, head coach of the German men’s hockey national team. For Weise, match preparation is a fundamental element of coaching staggered over various periods, sometimes even right until it’s lights out on the eve of a game. He seems himself as less of a trainer and more of a coach, emphasising the importance of his input from the sideline. He, too, strongly commended post-match video analysis as a vital coaching tool where – and here he differs from usual practice in football – he actively seeks players’ feedback because “they are the experts, after all.”

Over three days, congress participants were treated to a great number of indoor presentations and practical demonstrations offering plenty of facts, insights, and ideas for their own on-pitch work. The very attempt to list them all here would go beyond the scope of this summary. However, anyone interested in a full and detailed account of what this year’s ITK was all about, will soon be able to read it in print as the BDFL is preparing a comprehensive documentation. At the same time, Internet users are invited to check out the organisation’s website featuring all important congress information (in the German language only).



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