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Jimmy Hogan: Our methods "Too absurd for words"

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-07-26 00:54:42

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Our methods "Too absurd for words"
Jimmy Hogan | 03/03/1930

British football training methods are out of date. I am treading on somebody’s toes, but my desire is to help, not to attack, British football.
Surely something is out of order! Otherwise, how you account for the many reverses sustained by our League teams during Continental tours of recent years?
Further, can anybody explain why clubs from Czecho-Slovakia, Austria and Hungary, on touring Germany, Italy and Spain, achieve better results and leave a better playing impression behind them than British teams accomplish?
Or, again, the reason why Ferenczvarosi F.C.(Budapest), playing in South America last year, were far more successful than either Chelsea or Motherwell? This famous Hungarian team actually defeated the International side of Uruguay (winners of the Olympic Games football toumament at Amsterdam 1928). Foolish explanations?
One gets tired of reading such excuses as tired players, long railway journeys, hard grounds, bad referees, as reasons for British football disasters abroad.
I am forced to admit there is just a little truth in these explanations. But, on the other hand, the Continental season is a strenuous all-year-round one, and in the bargain many foreign players have to work six days a week, especially in Germany. Behind the times.
As an old English League player, and on many occasions eye-witness of the defeats of British touring teams, I am fully qualified to express opinion. In addition, sixteen years Continental coaching work — a period of marvellous improvement out here — has fully convinced me that there is another and vital reason for these British losses. Why has the old runaway win changed to steady defeat?
The progress made in football by Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Czecho-Stovakia has been truly remarkable. But the answer to my question is this: — Continental hall training is more successful than British condition training.
How has this come about? Of course, the first seeds were sown by British touring sides and trainers. Since then Continental football training methods have improved and kept pace with the times. Unfortunately, such has not been the case in England.
The game has certainly changed, but we are still training on the old lines by taking a little country air occasionally, with a round of golf to relieve the monotony, or breaking records on the track, and — when the weather is fine — ball kicking practice just to remind us that we are still football players.
The cause of the disasters to British touring teams is: British football training methods are out of date. In other words, foreign methods, ball training, simple gymnastic exercises and football instructions are proving themselves more successful than British condition-training ideas. Not required abroad.
I have always been able to procure good work on the Continent (my present team has played 38 League games in succession, won 37 and drawn 1), but I would be “fired” very quickly if I tried the training methods which are now being used at home.
After all, I was a very ordinary League player, so I will further and state that the most famous British player or trainer in present-day football would not now be able, as coach, to obtain a single day’s work on the Continent unless he were able to teach the game by practical ball exercises, theoretical instructions on the blackboard, and a few useful gymnastic exercises. Training with the ball.
Ball training for a football player is the natural order of things.
By this method, when we were young and supple, we learnt how to play football at school. Every spare moment was occupied in kicking the ball about, dribbling, trapping, heading, or playing sides games, and we used any old kind of ball. In this way we gradually became experts at the most essential thing in football — ball control — and our running was always done with the ball during the game.
Strange to relate, when we are older, stiffer, and become first-class players, natural training methods ara dropped like hot bricks, and condition-training methods are substituted. What follows? Why, we step into the arena full of speed, stamina, only to find that the ball-control, trapping, etc., of former days has almost vanished. It is really too absurd for words. Train with the thing with which you play! Still the best, but...
Sixteen years coaching on the Continent has not altered my opinion. We are a race of natural football players, but we are in serious danger of losing our football supremacy, and the quicker we realise it the better.
Therefore, I desire to impress it upon all British players and trainers that real ball training (there are dozens of interesting exercises) is the most essential thing for the sport, and must come first in our preparation. Instructions as regards position play and tactics are a dire necessity; condition-training is beneficial, and follows as a matter of course.
I state most emphatically that present British training methods are out of date and ought to be scrapped. Foreign football — where condition-training is secondary consideration — has proved this to the hilt.