What is Powerfootball?

Powerfootball is a new way of playing football. It developed from observation, contemplation and examination of what is essential in the game of football. This essentiality seems to have been lost. Or we have never really analysed the game to find out what is essential in football. Be this as it may, the case is being made here, that the present, traditional game of football is overshadowed by the unessential, by the abnormal. It is therefore aberrant and not as effective as it could be. The central question is: What is essential in football?

Scoring goals

The most important element in football is to score goals. It is the raison d’etre of football. That is what the game is all about. To play masterly in midfield – the norm today – is not essential. It is unnecessary, really a waste of time. When the great stars do their artful conjuring tricks in midfield and think they are playing football, they miss the point of the game altogether. Do we not pay them abnormally high salaries to score goals? We do, but the players do not know how to score goals. They have not learned it. It is a small part of the training program. Most players cannot even score goals from the penalty spot. They do not know how, they have not practised it properly und sufficiently. A good percentage of goals are scored with the head. But the name of the game is football, not handball. To score the occasional goal with the head is acceptable, but if a team scores half its goals with their heads, they are missing the point of the game.

Why can players not score with their feet? Because they do not train this skill properly. It is useless for team members to kick the ball on goal a dozen or two dozen times during training. That is no training. It does not lead to improvement. All players, be they professionals or amateurs, should be able to score goals, even from a distance of 20 to 30 yards – regularly, with a high probability of success. 

That is what is addressed here, training methods that ensure, that all players practice to shoot on goal hundreds of thousand times during their career. It is a brutal, but absolutely essential part of the training. Imagine, how the game will change, if all players are able to score goals from within a 30 yard circle, with a high degree of certainty. A double-digit result per game would be no exception. The goalies would be under extreme stress. Yet fans and spectators would be delighted. The capacity to score goals needs to be combined with other abilities.

Passing the ball

The second most important element in football is the ability to pass the ball to a team member. Hard, accurate, when possible, one-touch passes should forward the ball in seconds from back to front, and allow a shot on goal. That is the purpose of a pass, its meaning. It is amazing, that in today’s game even top professionals are unable to deliver accurate passes. The passes are not only inaccurate, they have little power, are frequently intercepted by the opponent, shot in such a way that they cannot be controlled by the team member who receives the pass, or are delivered in a way, that makes it difficult to pass the ball on. 

This means that a good part of the present state of affairs in football is due to the unrecognised or misunderstood purpose of the game: to possess the two essentials abilities of passing and scoring goals. Why can players not pass the ball? For the same reason that they cannot score goals: poor training practices. The goal in practising the pass is to teach every player to deliver soft or hard passes, over short or long distances, that do not only arrive at their destination, but are shot in such a way, that they can easily be accepted and passed on by the team member. The player who delivers the pass has therefore to go through a split second, three-phase thinking process. First, to whom can I pass? Second, which of these chosen players has the best chance of scoring a goal? Third, how can I deliver the pass, so that my team member can score a goal with a high degree of probability of success. That is the art of passing the ball.

Again imagine, what would the game be like, if all players could deliver perfect passes. The opponent will have almost no time to react, because the ball will be passed that quickly from one player to another. How does one practise this? In a similar fashion to the shot on goal, only twice more often, because passes are easier to practise. If players would practise the pass daily, they will, after three years, be able to deliver passes of a quality unknown today. This means, that even amateur clubs could literally “produce” players who are better than today’s football elite. The stars of today would no longer be needed, because the nature of the game would have changed. Nor would players from far-away countries be needed. Enough players versed in power-football could be generated from one’s own club or from neighbouring clubs in lower leagues. Football would become cheaper, more natural, much more attractive.

The tactical system

The third most important element, actually the blueprint for passing the ball and scoring goals, is the tactical system a club uses. The tactic employed has to fit the nature of the game and complement good passing and shooting skills. What does such a tactic look like?

A hundred years ago all players, closely bunched together, went after the ball. Eventually the bunching stretched out into a line. Like the tides, the line of players went up and down the field. Eventually the one line became two: five players in the back and five in front. A few decades ago, we added a third system. This is still the prevalent system today: a 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 or similar three-row system. Some coaches have stretched this system a bit, here and there, so that we see occasionally four or five lines of players, but it is still a three-line system.

What is the most logical step in the development of the tactical system of playing football? After 3 comes 4, after 4, 5, etc. If the present three-line system is, let us say in average 30 years old, how long will it take us to arrive at the ultimate system, the 11-System? Over 210 years! Why not jump this time span and try the 11-System – that is eleven attackers and 11 defenders – now, this year? Why wait centuries? Probably because we like traditions. But traditions often mean abandonment of critical thinking or any thinking at all. Things work reasonably well, why change? One club copies the other. Because those clubs, that have some imagination, will on closer inspection see the advantages of all-out power-football.

The present tactic has resulted in or, you could say, is based on, role descriptions. To define roles is the cherished domain of the coaches. You divide the playing field into eleven sections. Each player gets a closely defined, overlapping role of play for his section. That sounds convincing, almost logical, even though such way of thinking does not fit the game of football at all and is actually quite illogical. Because of role descriptions, we not only get role conflict and role confusion, but role descriptions are also the main reason, why there is not real flow in the game. How could there be, when everybody is mainly responsible for a prescribed piece of turf? By empty pieces of turf we also buy players. “We need a left-back”, the coach will say. Everybody obeys the system. But the system of role play is a poor one. It is poor because it violates the nature of the game. Football is a free-flowing game. It cannot stand confinement. We have destroyed it with our small minds. It is time to cast off these limitations. Can you imagine what the game would then look like? Like ballet, perfect.

Mainly because of the players’ inability to pass the ball and to score goals (which has little to do with the tactical system chosen), but also because of fear of failure, today’s system is based on defence. “If we cannot score goals, we also have to prevent the opponent from scoring goals”, goes the rationale; “maybe we get lucky” is the hope. To force their luck, teams play high balls into the goal area. If they are successful, everybody is very happy. One behaves, as if one has won in the lottery. Today’s football is thus not based on skills and abilities, but mainly on luck, coupled with fear of failure. That is why the games we watch every week are pretty wild, without much sense and reason. But the spectators come nevertheless, because they have not seen better play. Not yet.

In power-football, there are no role descriptions. This tactical system is organic, not mechanistic, based on room and time. To attack, all players are constantly, through easy and confusing movements, trying to get into scoring positions. Since all players can shoot with a 50% ability to score from 30 yards, there will be lots of goals per game. One digit scores will be rare. To defend, the room, 10 yards before the box, is hermetically sealed off. There are always two attackers on the one carrying the ball. Yet the attackers never attack, they merely try to get the ball away from the opponent and prevent shots on goals. As soon as the opponent makes a mistake, the own players press forward, like a bunch of howling wolves, to score another goal. This power-tactic requires high play- (not necessarily player-) intelligence, because the players – and not the coach! – make all tactical decisions. Training takes place in the seminar room, never on the field, since the number of variations of attack is limitless.

The third eye

The fourth most important element of power-football is the ability to learn to see through one’s third eye. Every player has to know at all times, where team members and opponents are on the field, and how they move. To be able to do this, a player has several options. He can develop the habit to look up every four or five seconds to scan the field. Or he can learn to assess the situation out of the corner of his eyes, or clandestinely from under his eyebrows. Or he can learn to employ and sharpen his sixth sense, which some call the third eye, based on short-interval scanning of the playing field. The latter is a kind of seeing without looking.

In this way players will always know, where their team members and their opponents stand and how they move. From this split-second assessment, they apply power-tactic . They can in this way assess the probability, whether an intended pass will reach its target or is likely to be intercepted, or whether a shot on goal will actually land in goal (perhaps, because the goalie is not positioned correctly or does not cover the angles). They also can see gaps and openings – and use them.

Players who learn to see with their third eye notice therefore possibilities, which the opponent is not aware of. In this way will the team gain many advantages. The opponent will also not be able to figure out one’s own team. They will be constantly surprised. This will undermine their confidence, particularly if the own team scores many goals.

The less essential

Next to the four essentials, a player who plays power-football needs to know various additional skills. He needs to learn to run without exerting himself (a deer-like run), how to relax and regenerate his body during the game (a cat imitation), how to muster new energies (through deep breathing), how to develop endurance (a mental thing) and how to change his body posture (to accommodate different shots and occasions). Further, he needs to learn how to train through visualisation, that is, to create and work with mental images and to build up a library of images, which he regularly visits.

He needs to practice and perfect dribble tricks, deceptive and evasive movements – to defend and to attack. Headers, standard situations, free kicks and corners need also to be practised. But these skills are additional, not essential. Right now they are essential, while the real essentials are treated as additional skills. What is not essential should take up a relative small amount of training time. 

The eleven players have to grow together also as a team. To develop autonomous players – that is, players who can think for themselves, make their own decisions and willingly accept responsibility – is one of the main tasks of the coach. Team chemistry, a word often used but very difficult to achieve, is the glue that helps bind and unite the essential and the less essential skills. 

Since football is played through the head (though it is called football and goals should, to be true, be scored with the foot), the players should spend every day at least one hour in the seminar room. Here they learn a couple of hundred additional abilities and attitudes. These are some examples:

to develop self confidence; to motivate oneself; to take on responsibility for one’s own and the team’s actions; to learn to be patient; to remain always a beginner; to develop endurance; to remain focussed, modest and conscientious; to strive for excellence; to build on successes; to develop strong impulses; to set personal and team goals; to surpass personal boundaries; to enjoy the game; to regard football as an art; to learn to love the game; to cultivate the inner teacher; to learn to deal with success; to become a role model for others; to develop an “I can do that!” attitude; to figure out, how to behave toward referees and opposing players; to deal with losses; to conquer fear; to manage crises; to learn to think positively; to retune one’s personal unconscious; to learn to adjust quickly to change; to accept situations; to keep the game simple – etc., etc.

In this way players develop play intelligence and learn to differentiate between what counts and what does not count in football. Players also enlarge their range of possibilities, which helps them make better decisions.

Furthermore, the players should learn how to live properly. This includes to keep their personal lives simple and to take time out to reflect on one’s professional and personal life. To eat properly is important, because a player cannot give his best, if he eats too much or the wrong food.

The players need also to develop a good knowledge of people. Jung’s type theory, well known in North America, but relatively unknown in Europe, is a good vehicle (through the PET or the MBTI) to learn about different types of people. In this way, one can get to know and understand team members and opponents quite well.

The coach

In power-football the role of the coach changes dramatically. Autocratic coaches, who make all decisions, will no longer be needed. Not that they were needed before, because team sport and autocracy are opposites, an oxymoron; but they are currently in control, reigning like little Caesars. In power-football the coach needs to be or become a teacher, a facilitator. A facilitator helps, enables and guides with a soft hand. During the game he has no advice to give, because the players know what they have to do, before they enter the field. They have discussed every aspect and possible happening beforehand, in countless seminars (which the coach attends but does not chair). The players are therefore ready for every occurrence. They cannot be surprised by anything, they will not lose their balance nor will they allow the flow of their game be disrupted. Before each game, each player goes through all possible scenarios again – in his head. The players are autonomous, they make all decisions, even “holy” ones, like who will be substituted. They further take full responsibility for their individual and joint actions.

The coach learns and communicates how one does things. How one solves problems, makes decisions, settles conflicts, encourages creativity, analyses the opponent, sets up and controls individual training plans, communicates, etc. The coach learns and teaches his players, not by talking continually, but by saying little. Teaching, without saying much is the art of the educator. He knows: everything must come from the players, because there is nothing the players do no already know. The coach merely releases what is latent. He guides and teaches players, how to apply this knowledge. In this way, he turns into a respected adviser and friend. That is the role of the facilitator in power-football.

The club

A “we” feeling of unity and harmony permeates the club. All activities within the club need to be concentrated on the next game. No loss of energy should be allowed, that does not serve this single, all-important goal. Board members, management, clerical and maintenance staff, the team of coaches and the players – all help, each in their own way, to prepare for, to focus energies on the next game. That is presently not the case. The ego of people stands in the way. This prevents unity and focus. A “we” feeling cannot arise.

In power-football the club changes into a learning organisation. The goals of each member of the club is to learn something new each day, something constructive, that will help the club succeed. In this way, a club cannot go under. It will survive. This applies especially to the players. If all players nearly vibrate in their thirst for knowledge concerning the game, and if they actually do learn something new each day – even if they have, say, merely sobering insights – the team will always play up to their abilities. If they learn nothing, and that is the norm, then the outcome of the game is due to chance. Again, does the knowledge have to come from the outside? No, it is there, it slumbers in the players, in the coach, in management. It just needs to be made conscious. But as long as the welfare of the club is dependent on one man, the coach, who decides for the players, there can be no progress. Autocratic coaches and managers who insist on hierarchy are responsible for the current flatness of the learning curve in football. They all seem to have learned the same and not necessarily the best. The game of football has not changed in decades. Coaches are almost interchangeable, as the yearly merry-go-round of coaches confirms. Their leadership style is the same. But inappropriate, as pointed out.

Football players are made, not bought

Football players one does not buy. One makes them! Nobody is born a football player; neither is anybody born a conductor, ice skater, tennis star, manager, leader, swimmer, piano virtuosi, or anything else. But through intelligent practice, more practice and still more practice, one makes people into what they would like to be. The liking indicates inherent predispositions. All the great players on earth got to become great players because they practiced more than others. There are countless such stories. One wonders why those responsible for the welfare of their club do not recognize this fact and act on it. 

When one buys players, one really admits that one is unable to produce good players. In other words, one’s training program is third rate. That is what it means. I have written to the German Football Association telling them that they should be ashamed to have 6 Million active member yet almost only foreign players in their top teams. It means one has a lousy training/teaching/development program. But the Germans hate change of any kind. The probability that Powerfootball will start in Germany within the next ten years are next to nil.

If the education system is already poor, the training system in football will be even poorer, since it draws players mainly from the lowest echelon in the education system. Clubs have to develop a youth development program, which provides their top team with excellent new players. In order to do that, coaches need a one-year training program in, among a long list of “musts”, teaching adults (andragogy). Each coach in a club has to be truly enlightened. 

Coaches should get the high salaries, not the players, because they should be able to produce an unending stream of new players, each of whom fits seamlessly into the first team. In Powerfootball, that is the case. Therefore, the salaries of the players need not be high, just fair, since you can produce good players unendingly. But only with good coaches. It is not enough to have once been a left back with 200 games in the Premier League and 50 callings into the national team. This is how coaches are selected however. What idiocy! Any excellent teacher will make a better coach, even without the slightest knowledge of football. What is there to learn? The game is simple, one of the simplest. The art is to educate (to draw out skilfully what is inherent), and make out of 22 individual brains one super brain. Who has mastered this art? Nobody.

That is how the football club of the future will look like. Scores will be high. Two digit scores will be the norm, because a shot on goal results from only two, three or four passes. And most shots result in goals, say, half of them after five years of training.

Training Program

The training program is divided into two phases. The first phase consists of a three-year (apprenticeship) program. The second phase of a two-year (mastery) program. What will a player learn in those years? The basics: the ability to score goals (the aim of the game); the ability to pass the ball (the means toward the aim); the organic tactic, that is, to reconsider every three seconds, where all players stand or move. The unessential: headers, throw-ins, standard situations. Plus about 1,000 attitudes, beliefs and values connected to football (one one-hour seminar a day). That’s it.

What will a student of Powerfootball not learn? To pass the ball higher than two inches above the ground; to stop the ball, then pass it on; to play in only one position; to pass the ball backwards; to engage in one-on-one tackles; to wait for instructions from the coach; to make second- or third-rate decisions on the field; to play the same every week; to behave egocentrically; to shout at team mates; to argue with the referee; to fight for the ball; to run around stunned; to dribble or run with the ball; to head the ball (except in defence, when playing against traditional football teams); to engage in body building; lack of concentration; to run like a steam engine; to get depressed when the team is down; to waste energy; to play for oneself; to present oneself to the fans; to have highs and lows during the game; to play without risk; to get discouraged, regardless of score; to not give 100%; to not play for the team; to develop stars; to scream at team players when they make a mistake; etc.

Analysis of a Game

You can arrive at the principles of Powerfootball yourself. Here is how. Put a game of your liking (to be unbiased, take out-of-town teams) on DVD. Stop the recording anytime a player (either just your own or also your opponent) touches the ball. Write down your findings in four columns: Describe what happened – grade this action – give a note (from A to E, or 1 to 5) to the player of that action – and write down the reason for the note. Something like this:

What happened 

What happened    




Receives ball and passes it on   



well received, poor pass Backward pass in midfield

Backward pass in midfield



without rhyme or reason, simply knocked it backwards

Direct pass


Big Boot

quick and accurate, led to first goal

Shot on goal



poor shot, missed the goal by yards

Pass to own player



inaccurate, leads to nothing

Intercepts pass



guessed where the pass would go, but wasted own pass

Continue the analysis. It will take you about 8 to 10 hours per game to assess a game critically. Then summarize the results by categories. From this analysis you will derive a valuation of actions and players. From the analysis of the action you can derive a training plan. The player evaluation will give you the value of players for the club. If all notes are “good” or “very good”, you club plays Powerfootball!

But that will not be the case. The game and player evaluations will not look good, despite the high salaries. Therefore, there is a great potential for a mighty paradigm shift. The end result will be Powerfootball.

A Bet

Well, it really is not a bet, because the odds are in one’s favour. If your club would select twenty-two (2x11) young, fast, nimble, agile, flexible, intelligent players, these young people would draw even with your present team (in a 3 or 5 game shootout), after three years 40-hours a week full time training, and win all games by a three goal margin within five years. That is power. That is Powerfootball. To up the bet: You could fortify the present team with the best players in the world, and the bet would not change.