Total Football - the Dutch coaching philosophy

At Jobs in Football we regularly read up on various coaching techniques and have always been fascinated by Total Football, the Dutch coaching philosophy developed from the 1960’s.

The approach to the game comes from a uniform philosophy, culture and training methodology that is utilised at a youth level through to seniors all over the country.


Total Football is the label given to an influential tactical theory of football in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team. It was best known by Dutch football club Ajax in the period of 1965 to 1973, and further used by the Netherlands National Football Team in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. 


Some of the teachings obviously involve a technical foundation but other key skills taken into account include things like recognition and reacting and communication and personality. At Jobs in Football, we feel this coaching technique is a fantastic way to develop the future of tomorrow and instill skills within them for going out into the football industry – both on and off the pitch.


When asked what Total Football is about, Johann Cruyff, former Dutch professional footballer, manager and one of the strategy’s most famous advocates, simply said that attackers could play as defenders and defenders as attackers. Everyone could play everywhere.


It is this multi-skilled approach that interests us in terms of implementing this across the industry and also making youngsters aware that this approach will benefit them in later life. There have always been references to sports in management teaching. The games we play as children in many cases were designed to prepare us for life as functioning adults.


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Total Football - the Dutch coaching philosophy