Strategic, steady, detached even, Vicente del Bosque, Manager of the Spanish football team, is the archetype cool, calm and cerebral football coach. His temperament is typical of Salamanca, the city where he was born.
He prepares the strategy for each match carefully, drawing in his notebook the arrangements for each position of the team players in the field. He or his assistants bring these notes to the pitch and they often refer to them during matches. If you look at the notes they are similar to the moves in a game of chess. He believes that playing well is a result of a carefully developed plan. For him, strategy takes priority over passion. He rarely shouts or expresses his emotions, keeping his cool instead. He is highly respectful towards the competition and often praises the strengths of rivals, both before the match and on winning. He very rarely accepts tributes and refers all congratulations to his team and the players. He is probably a prime example of elegant, effective and collaborative leadership. Unlike more outspoken showmen like Flavio Capello or José Mourinho, Del Bosque adopts a low profile and a somewhat austere attitude, which is proving to be a more intelligent and successful approach in the long run.
Del Bosque was a football player in his early years and believes that games are won in the middle of the field, as his positioning of the Spanish football team players on the pitch shows. He was also coach of Real Madrid Football Club between 1999 and 2003. During this time, he steered the club to its most successful achievements in modern history, taking it to two UEFA Champions League titles in 2000 and 2002, two domestic La Liga titles in 2001 and 2003, a Spanish Super cup in 2001, a UEFA Super Cup in2002, and the Intercontinental Cup in 2002, as well as ensuring they finished among the last four of the UEFA Champions League every year he was in charge. Consequently, his replacement, just after the Real Madrid won its 23rd Spanish League Cup, sparked rumors about his differences with Florentino Perez, the then President of the Club.
Del Bosque’s attitude and leadership style evidences how important it is to show sportsmanship and courtesy on the coach’s bench. Football is not all about passion, rivalry and emotions. It is, or rather it should be, primarily a sport and an opportunity to bring out the best in people. In short, we need more examples like Vicente del Bosque.