A friend has shared with me a profile of Béla Guttmann from the Daily Mirror on 27 September (link). The profile is titled Revolutionary coach who survived Nazi labour camp to become world’s first superstar manager.

I did not know of Béla’s story until my friend’s alert. I had watched his Benfica team play in the 1960s. There is a very helpful biography of Béla in Wikipedia (link). Earlier this year, Sarah Kemp (link) wrote “his passion and innovation saw him introduce great tactical formations and disseminate them around the globe”.

This “passion” fascinates me and links Béla to other coaches I have looked at including Valerij Lobanovs’kyj (link) in the Ukraine and Graham Taylor in England (link).

The Daily Mirror article is written by David Bolchover. David is the perfect author for this piece. He knows Béla’s life closely from his work in the biography The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory (2017).

David observed of Béla:

His tactical acumen, his ideas on diet and fitness, his approach to man management, the way he handled the media to gain advantage – all these would be considered standard among top coaches now. Back then, they were ground-breaking.

I do think these characteristics were shared by a number of coaches at that time. What fascinates me is how their cognitive sense of performance was shared and how what they had to share transformed lives.

This has a great deal to do with their perceptions of coaching and the actions coaches take. Wikipedia notes that before the Second World War, Béla coached teams in Austria, the Netherlands and Hungary, In the 1938-39 season he won his first league title in Hungary with Újpest FC.

Thereafter, Béla’s coching career moved from Hungary to Italy to Brazil and on to Portugal. David said of this journey “having lived and worked in 14 countries and coached 20 clubs, Guttmann was not just the ultimate survivor but very much the founding father of a now globalised game” (link).

This founding father label has a great deal to do with observations that Sarah Kemp makes about Béla’s time as a coach at his first post-war club Vasas in Budapest (where he was paid in food):

Here he showed his talent for finding young talent in Gyula Szilagyi who scored 300 goals in 15 years. It also showcased his uncompromising nature when talking about his principles.

This ability see a performance profile in players distinguishes coaches. It is interesting that late in his career Béla met and worked with a young Eusébio at Benfica and with whom he won a European Cup as well as the domestic league and cup titles. Sarah Kemp notes of this time “he promoted young talent. Talent he could mould and work with”.

The conclusion to Sarah’s article draws in David’s observations about Bélas life story that combines survival and great coaching. Sarah writes:

Bela Guttman was a remarkable man. Born in an era where many of his family and friends were eradicated for being born Jewish his survival is miraculous. To have come back with all the uncertainties of being a Holocaust survivor. It made so many crumble. He used his tenacity and charisma to be the first coach who would dominate the club he trained and bring them unprecedented success. Clough, Shankly, Ferguson, Mourinho and Guardiola can all trace their success to the one who inspired them – Bela Guttman.

Photo Credits

Bela Guttmann with Mario Coluna (Daily Mirror)

Mastermind (Mastermind)

Bela Guttmann coaching in Austria (The Times of Israel)

#SCP12: The Expert Pedagogue

This week we are discussing characteristics of an Expert Pedagogue in the Sport Coaching Pedagogy unit at the University of Canberra.

This is the SlideCast for the presentation:

During the presentation I intended to discuss the contribution of three people to the consideration of expert pedagogy:

In 2001, John Wooden gave a TED talk. I thought this was a fascinating video of someone who had been teaching and coaching since the 1930s.

I wrote about Coach Wooden in 2010 shortly after his death. In that post I included Bill Dwyre’s reminiscence:

On Oct. 14, 2000, he will be 90 years old. Yet he walks me out, shuffling alongside and making sure the gate is open and that I can find my way comfortably. My comfort is his. As I drive away, I remember something he told me weeks ago, a quote from Mother Teresa that he found meaningful: “A life not lived for others is not a life.” And I find myself wondering if there really is another one like him out there, or if this really is as good as it gets.

Bill’s observation took me back to another post I had written about humility and leadership. But that is a topic for another day!

Communication, Social Media and the Coach

I am meeting with Robin McConnell‘s undergraduate Advanced Coaching Studies’ group on 29 April.

My discussion topic is Communication, Social Media and the Coach.

This blog post is the start of a conversation with the group in advance of the meeting.

I am keen to discuss:

  1. Coach and athlete communication.
  2. Opportunities provided by social media to share ideas and discuss performance.
  3. Augmented information.

This blog has a number of posts on these topics. I am hopeful that the students coming to the meeting have an opportunity to look at:

There are many more posts that might be of interest (and some SlideShare presentations) but I am keen to explore how students in the group engage with social media and cloud computing. I will be asking about slow reading too (Kingsley, 2010). I will recommend SIRC’s excellent social media resource and mention Wirearchy via Harold Jarche’s post Social Learning, Complexity and the Enterprise. I will point to Tom Slee’s post on social media (via Kent Anderson), Jason Kramer-Duffield’s discussion of communication ecologies and evidence about the Internet and civil society. Brian Solis posted about the social genome in his discussion of The Three C’s of Social Networking (consumption, curation, creation).

A recent report from Canada (2011) points out that:

Cloud computing is a loose and evolving term generally referring to the increasing use of computer applications that are web-based. A cloud-based application does not need to be downloaded to a user’s computer or institutional servers, and the data used by the application and inputted by the user is housed on servers elsewhere. The application works remotely: it’s not physically present, it could be anywhere in the world (hence the term “in the cloud”).

Social media applications are by definition cloud-based: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogging services like WordPress.com, Blogger, Tumblr or Posterous, or link sharing sites like StumbleUpon, Digg. Any individual may sign on and start using such services independent of their institutional affiliations.

The students in the group will graduate this year at a remarkable time. As coaches in a digital age they will become produsers of learning resources that can have profound impacts on personal learning environments.The scale of this age is indicated by Gary Hayes’ Social Media Counts (13 April 2011):

(For an alternative set of metrics see Is Social Media Ruining Students?)

I hope to end our discussions on with a consideration of leadership behaviours that will resonate with Robin’s discussion throughout the unit. I hope too that we can explore the role augmented information plays in short, medium and long-term coach-athlete relationships.

I will be suggesting that the students follow up on a great case study of the use of social media. Mark Upton and Robert Oatey have developed teamsportcoaching.com. Mark and Robert are strong advocates of coach education and are “true believers in the potential of the online medium to deliver content that can enhance a wide variety of coaching methods and disciplines”. I think Mark’s post, Creating the ‘coachable moment’ with PlayerTube and online video, exemplifies excellent use of social media based upon profound understanding of the coaching process.

After all this discussion I will recommend reading Connectivism & The Relationship Era. The post includes this observation which seems a great place to end the day’s conversation:

In the connectivist learning model, the flow of knowledge is more important than the knowledge itself. In other words, the process is more important than the content. The main reason for this is that there is a constant need for quick adaptation. In this era, knowledge must be directed quickly to where it is needed to be applied. Once it has served its purpose, it is archived and momentarily forgotten. Notice that discarding information is now practically unheard of because once the connection has been made (i.e. something is learned), it will be stored somewhere. The additional task is mere retrieval or recollection.


In this post I am considering free social media. There are a variety of third part software services available too. A recent white paper on Becoming a Social Business (2011) observes that:

The rise in consumer-oriented social networking applications and platforms over recent years has drawn curiosity from enterprises both large and small. IDC believes that curiosity has turned into business opportunity as the lines between consumer and enterprise continue to blur. Unfortunately, adoption of social software in the enterprise has encountered some skepticism due to the hype surrounding the technology and the perception that it is the younger generations’ means for socializing with friends. It has also been criticized as being a waste of time. Yet there is evidence to suggest that this doubt is shifting and that enterprise social software is becoming the next generation of collaboration tools to enhance organizational productivity.

As an example IBM has a social software available (IBM Connections):

Photo Credits

Coaches watching the fight

Coach with the wrestler’s hat

Wrestler with his coach

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