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MANAGER: Create an environment for improvement

26 November 2014

Keith Curle on practice makes perfect

Manager Keith Curle spoke more today about the techniques used to get the best out of his squad.

“We did a thing last week which looked at ambition, lifestyle, focus, and a number of other areas, where we asked the players to score themselves,” he said. “We also scored them, as a staff, and where there was a major discrepancy between our score and their score it flagged up areas for concern. 

“There were people who scored themselves badly because they weren’t happy with their lifestyle. We try to help them to address that, if at all possible, so that we know we’re doing our bit as a football club. 

“Derek Asamoah is a good example of that one. He’s a family man and he’s living in the club house at the moment. He scored his lifestyle very low and that’s something we’re looking at to help him with so that he gets a better professional environment for himself.”

“We have players who travel distances to get here and that doesn’t help,” he agreed. “That has been mentioned to them because we don’t want their careers to fade out on the M6. We’re now making sure they are doing the best for themselves on the days they train because we need to get the maximum out of everyone.

“The players have to take some responsibility for that because to get better at something you need to practice. There is so much work you can do as a footballer with prehab and rehab work in the gym. You can do certain work technically and tactically with video analysis, but a lot of it is getting an understanding of what your craft is during training periods so you can take that out into a match situation. That can be practiced and I don’t think there is enough of that in the modern game, collectively or individually.”

“I’m not the type of manager who is going to go and demand that players go out there,” he commented. “We want an environment where players understand what it is they need to practice. 

“If they are out there doing the wrong thing they’re wasting their time. We’ve asked ourselves as coaches whether or not we’re creating an environment which is conducive for them to improve as individuals. That’s everything from making sure we’re approachable for questions about players being in the team to what they need to do to give themselves a chance of getting in there. 

“Not enough players have taken advantage of that at this moment in time. That means we have to keep working at making sure people aren’t scared or embarrassed about coming to see us, because if you don’t improve you stay as you are. 

“We have to know that if we stay as we are as a group then we’re at the bottom of the league. I don’t want that so, to get what we need, people have to want to improve.”

“For our part, we can’t afford to have 25 coaches for 25 players, so we try to give the players individual programmes which combine the technical, tactical and physical aspects of the job,” he said. “I spoke to a player last week, during a one-to-one session, and I asked him if he’d been following his individual programme. He told me he’d forgotten to do it. That rings an alarm if a player forgets to improve himself. However, you have to admire the honesty, and accept the naivety, because if a manager had asked me that question I’d have told him I had, whether I’d actually done it or not.

“The thing is, young players categorise themselves these days on how good their toilet bag looks or on what design and make it is. They see someone with a £1500 toilet bag and think he must be a good player. 

“However, there are a lot of counterfeits and copies out there. It’s the same with the players. Some of them look the part but the foundations just aren’t there. We’re trying to create a culture at this club where the credentials are right. The toilet bag can come second.”

United Player subscribers can see a series of video interviews with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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