“The top player must be competitive and with strong mental skills!”

Soccer HUB’s interview with João Tralhão

João Tralhão is a UEFA Pro certified coach with experience in clubs such as AS Monaco FC and SL Benfica. In SL Benfica he achieved the Final of the UEFA Youth League!

With a Degree in Sports and Education Sciences, he specialize himself in Football Training Methodology.

He was assistant coach/head coach at all levels of age groups (except under 14/15) in SL Benfica and had the opportunity to coach players such as Bernardo Silva, João Félix, Renato Sanchez, André Gomes and many, many other great talents.

In 2007/08 he integrated the technical staff of the 1st team, with the role of assistant coach. More recently he was invited by Thierry Henry to be his assistant coach at AS Monaco FC.

João Tralhão, about the recent success of the SL Benfica Youth Department, believes that “there were many secrets to achieve this success but one of the main reasons is to be able to understand what are the demands of the first team, not only in Benfica but also in other top level teams in Europe. We tried to understand what are the main competences that those clubs were demanding and from there we start building our own methodology and strategy to achieve that goal!”

“We understood that we had to prepare players with a capability to adapt to different game and coaches ideas.”

Having worked with players such as Bernardo Silva, João Félix, Renato Sanchez, André Gomes and many other talented players, João believes that “there is no profile of a successful football player! We look for competitive players with strong mental capabilities. Even though it was not the most important thing, we also look for well-prepared players in the physical point of view.” “Of course they need to be talented and to be talented you must understand the match and have a great game knowledge.”

About the recent transfer of João Felix to Atlético de Madrid, and about the challenges and pressure that we will have to face, João belives that “his profile allows him to be naturally prepared for this challenge. He is has great mental abilities that allow him to deal with this kind of pressure!

“We quickly understood that he was a talented player that will not stay many years at Benfica because other European clubs, with more financial capabilities, will take him as soon as possible.”

When asked about if he believes in specialist coaches for each age groups he answered that “first you have to be a specialist in human being behavior. For that, you need to have experience. You have to understand each age group to know how they face the challenges in every phase of development.”

“I think that the coach can learn different things from each age group. In the younger ages you learn right away the impact of your methodology in the young players. In older ages you learn how to develop specific abilities of the players, based on an initial assessment, for them to be prepared to access the top level.”

About his leadership style: “I believe we should balance our leadership style. I believe that sometimes, in certain age groups, you should be more directive, in others, depending on the evolution stage, you should stimulate more the creativity being more of a partner kind of leader.”

You can find more content from João Tralhão in his online course “Pre-Season Periodization in Soccer”.

Whatch the full interview bellow:

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