‘He can articulate in simple terms what he has seen’

‘He can articulate in simple terms what he has seen’
Arne Slot on his way to the training field

NOS Football

  • Jorrit Hansen

    Follows Feyenoord on behalf of NOS Sport

  • Jorrit Hansen

    Follows Feyenoord on behalf of NOS Sport

Last season, Arne Slot reached the final of the Conference League with his team as Feyenoord’s new coach. He saw many important players leave, but quickly forged a team that achieved good results in both the Netherlands and Europe. The Rotterdammers even have the prospect of a possible national title again in a long time.

He also performed well at SC Cambuur and AZ, with a recognizable style of play. What makes Slot manage to do this every time? The answer comes from Danny Buijs, who is without a club after working at FC Groningen and KV Mechelen and spent a week with Feyenoord and Slot.

‘We have a click’

“Arne and I met on the coaching course and often played soccer against each other. We quickly had a click with each other. What that click is is hard to explain. We are different people and trainers, but have a connection on certain levels.”

Arne Slot and Danny Buijs shake hands at press conference

“We have been in contact a number of times over the past few years and now that I had nothing to do for a while, I said that I thought it would be nice to spend a few days with him. I didn’t make that request to other trainers. It was specifically about Arne for me.”

“I was allowed to be in everything. From breakfast and training to team meetings. I was at individual meetings and the meetings with the technical and medical staff. I was able to ask my questions there, but mostly observed.”

‘Slot is clear’

“Slot has a number of good qualities, but especially his clarity stands out. He can convey everything very well to the players and the rest of the staff. He and his assistants are able to provide very fun, focused forms of training that contribute to the development of a player individually and of the team. And which also create fun and energy.”

“As another trainer, you can easily copy such a training form, but if you don’t know the message behind it well or don’t convey it clearly, such a form gives a completely different result. Slot makes sure that such a training form is clear and gives quick results. That keeps it interesting for players.”

Quickly a unit

“Slot quickly turns his teams into a unit with a clear way of playing. He is good at translating that way of playing to the training pitch, to strength training, in conversations with players and from video footage. You can often see from Feyenoord’s games what the team has been training on.”

Arne Slot during Feyenoord training.

“We tried that at FC Groningen as well. To make every training form match our way of playing, but that is difficult. You also have to deal with the load capacity per player, the physical balance in your training week and the way you want to help players develop technically and tactically. I already noticed during the training course that Slot is extremely good at that.”

Communicating effectively

“Feyenoord’s players are willing to put a lot of energy and intensity into matches. In addition, I see a lot of game enjoyment. I don’t believe that the players will go through fire for a coach, but I do believe that these players appreciate Slot and know where they stand. That is because he is so clear. Not only to his players, but also to the technical and medical staff. As the person with final responsibility, he lets everyone function optimally. “

“When I see Slot in interviews, he has that too. He can articulate very well and in a simple way what he has seen in a match and what could be better. If you also talk to your players like that, you communicate quickly and effectively, they immediately understand what you want and you quickly have a connection with them. That was fun to see in the week I was in.”

Good is good enough

“That’s my own pitfall a little bit at times. Sometimes your craving for perfection is so great that you keep emphasizing or repeating things for too long. Arjen Robben once said to me at the end of the season: ‘You don’t have to keep harping on what we already know.’ Or that I keep dithering with the technical staff too long about how to apply a certain training form, so that it is no longer effective. Then you get stuck in theory for too long.”

Arne Lock

“It’s good then to realize that you’re not going to achieve perfection anyway. At a certain point, good is also good enough. Slot has understood that very well. Besides, he has enough quality in the selection at Feyenoord to make this work optimally. He can put together fast, effective training forms with this squad. In addition, the technical staff is well balanced. You see a good division of labor. Feyenoord has got that right.”

“Feyenoord is having a fantastic season right now. With 11 games to go, a lot is still possible, but I think Feyenoord has a good chance of becoming champions. The question is whether they can keep fighting on three fronts, but I don’t get the feeling it’s going to collapse. I have confidence in a good outcome.”

‘Confidence that Groningen maintains’

Danny Buijs was coach at FC Groningen from 2018 to 2022. He views the team’s sporting decline with pain in his heart. “Groningen is a super nice club. I had a great time. They have been able to make good financial strides recently. I hope that will translate on the pitch. I hope and have confidence that they maintain themselves.”

Kayleigh Williams