Kris Van Der Haegen: Player first, ego second

Van Der Haegen was the headline speaker at the Youth Development Conference

Van Der Haegen was the headline speaker at the Youth Development Conference

FOR ME, the more competencies, the less ego. The more ego, the less competencies.

In football, it’s a problem. Even in the desert, if you plant some flowers and take care of them you can make them flourish - it’s all about you.

And also finding the right key. You can say, ‘ah, difficult player, let’s get rid of him, out.’ No - not a difficult player, a different player. You have to find the right key to open the door to get a connection with that player.

And you have to make the effort. There are a lot of keys and maybe if the ones you have don’t work, it’s time to look for another one. But you have to look for one, it’s up to you.

A good coach is able to keep everybody on board. Sometimes coaches want to clone their players, to make them like they are. ‘Very easy, they’re all like me, they always agree with me.’

But it’s not like that, you cannot paint them red if they are green. You don’t have to try, because it doesn’t work. You have to accept they are green and maybe you can learn from them and adapt a little bit your colour.

That’s what I ask a coach - what do you add? It’s like cooking, you can add some special things.

If you can add something and get a connection with your players then you get a multiplication effect and always get back more than you have put in.

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