Coach of reserve strikers and TFC U19s, then U17s for seven years, Millavois Anthony Bancarel returned to AC Ajaccio last summer, where he took charge of the U19s. He gives his view on the subject as a coach. Interview.
What are the characteristics of a good coach?
You have to adapt to each player, be patient, relevant, open, attentive. Each young person must develop at his or her own pace. And above all, we must ensure that a young person is able to make choices. He may be wrong, but he must have the ability to analyze his mistake. Finally, we must be able to break a child’s dreams. We are there at the moment: We are calling in trainees to tell them that they will not be held next season. Emotionally, we take a lot on ourselves.
The changes of generations and times have made you adapt?
Sometimes you call a kid at the end of the season to tell him he’s not being held. And then his agent tells that he has trained 45 times with the professionals that it is not normal. Yes, but he went there to be a sparring partner. We must anticipate the descent.
Agents with very young players can disrupt your work?
In a club there are rules. A young intern will always receive an intern salary. So why have a representative, if not for one day, hear a positive speech, “don’t worry, I’ll take you here or there”? All of this makes your head spin, and rightly so. Me, I know that when I started receiving my first salaries, I almost writhed. Our job is also to train for success, which society does not. And agents, at a certain age, you have to ask yourself the right questions: what is the point? The ones they place if the little one gets a crack and that’s normal. But today, the only thing capable of building a child is the structure of the club.
How to get a young person in the best mood?
What most gyms would lack today is to have much less staff. There would be more proximity, exchanges, with an optimal schedule. In Ajaccio, in Toulouse, from the first to the last day, we have our head in the handlebars and we step on the pedals. We need stability at the club level, in the organization chart. The last season of Ligue 1 of the Toulousains knew the three coaches, six athletic coaches … We during training, we suffered all that, and when you are young, your head can smoke.
You have a long-term job in an environment where everything goes very fast …
A young person needs stability. Clubs that change coaches every season are not good. Sometimes you are told that children no longer love the sweater. But if you take a 14-year-old kid, he has sometimes already changed clubs three times! So we have to stop loving the sweater. Boy, he needs to recreate an identity in the club, and it’s enough that there’s a negative speech from the agent, from the entourage, to delay learning. Today everyone wants to play, everyone wants to start. But there are only eleven starting on the weekend. If the student understands it, the coach sees it.
Do you train for success, but also for failure?
It is when you play that you learn to fail. Sometimes I pose a problem for my players: “You touch 4 balls, you miss 4 passes. On your fifth, a crucial pass takes shape. What do you want to do?”
How do they usually react?
The important thing is what I tell them: “It is you who will be in this situation, not me. And no matter what happens, it is you who will make the right decision. If you do not mind risking losing a fifth ball, because if your teammate scores, you go up to L1, I can not tell you that. If you are a good professional, you will make the right decision. And no matter what happens behind the scenes, you will rebuild yourself. This is the good coach: the one who is able to tell his child that he wants to rebuild himself. We train people first and foremost.