I often use metaphors to illustrate ideas that make it easier for my football players to understand them. One metaphor that is quite recurrent in relation to the game in general, the game plan, and the style is that of the “blank canvas.”

Let’s imagine a painter who is commissioned to create a painting by a client. Or even better, let’s imagine that we are our own clients and want to decorate the walls of our house. Starting with some broad strokes that I (the coach) draw on the blank canvas, the artist (the painter), or rather, the artists (the football players), have to be capable of completing a painting worthy of being hung in the main living room for everyone to see. In other words, as a team, we must be able to produce a work that meets those expectations.

The broad strokes that I, as the coach, provide to my football players are part of the initial plan. They serve as a guide through which our game must flow. Two, three, four ideas that the team must understand, complete, and develop with their respective brushes (talent).

If I draw an oval circle, it is very possible that the player, or players, interpret that shape as a sketch of a face and see in it an opportunity to continue shaping it (fine brush = talent) until it is completed to their liking and in our own way. Continuing with this same example, one player could be responsible for drawing the eyes, others might add the hair, another would handle the mouth, another artist (player) would outline the lips, and so on, until the work is completed with varying levels of detail.

Naturally, we can opt for minimalism, which is also a style in itself and has its own beauty. In fact, there are countless practical teams whose simple yet effective gameplay results in works that are well- known and valued by everyone. Similarly, we all know teams whose artists lean more towards the baroque and equally earn our recognition and produce remarkable works. Ultimately, it all depends on the artists we have and their ability to handle the brush. This circumstance, and no other, is what will define our artistic style.

Regardless of what we paint, as coaches, we must encourage our artists to express themselves based on a few strokes, and together, we should be capable of creating something that enhances a blank wall, that is pleasing, emotional, fits with the rest of the decor, inspires, and adds value, whether it be economic, sentimental, or of any other kind, making us proud to see it hanging on the main wall of our living room.

So, let’s get to it! Paint, brush, and brushstroke!