You began coaching the Swiss Men’s National Team after they got a disappointing 5th final rank at the last World Championships in Austria, but you led them to the European Championships title one year later in 2012. Switzerland won silver at the World Games in Columbia in 2013, and they came second at the European Championships in their own country. What’s your formula for success?
Oliver Lang: Team spirit is the highest point on my list for success. It is important to me that the chemistry is right between the whole team, including the staff. I try to recognize the problems relatively early and to solve them before they happen or put the team at risk.
Two other important factors are the distribution of roles and communication. I would hazard that every player knows how things stand with me. That means he knows why he is in the squad and what we expect from him in the national team. I tell every player about the real chances for him to be a part of the World Championships or not.
Further it is important as a trainer to set the players an example of what you expect from them. You can’t demand that they have to make a good atmosphere on the field but you’re standing like a sleeping tablet at the line.
It’s a long season for the European teams because the World Championships in Argentina will start in November. How do you make sure that your national team players stay fit after the championships which finish in September?
We have planned some training in the evening during autumn in Switzerland. Further we’ll hold a training camp at the beginning of November in Side (South Turkey). We’ll be going there in form for the World Championships.
Switzerland possesses Cyrill Schreiber who is an exceptional athlete and has been playing at the top level for about 10 years. He was missing at the European Championships in his own country in 2014. Will he be at the national teams command for the World Championships 2015 in Argentina?
Yes. That’s all I have to say.
Nations like South Africa, Australia, India and Pakistan will take part in Argentina. What do you think about this development?
Of course I’m happy when as many nations as possible take part in the World Championships. But it’s important for the teams and spectators to find an interesting game mode.
In my view it would be useful to adapt the match schedule so that in the first round of games the 8 best nations play among themselves and the new and weaker participants play among themselves. Then the teams will meet each other in intermediate stage or knock-out games, and afterwards they can play off the ranks among themselves again. Thereby we would have more good games with the top teams and exciting games with the so called “B-teams.
Furthermore I think we should especially take care of all the countries which are playing already because the numbers of the active players and young talents, especially in the German-speaking countries, are on the decrease.
The national team of Switzerland is always accompanied by a big red-white set of fans. We’re already happy to welcome the Swiss in Cordoba. How important are these fans to you?
I think the national team of Switzerland has the best fans worldwide!
I’m always surprised how many fans are present in South America. The fans are hugely important to us. On the one hand because of their vocal support and also because the relatives of the players travel with these sets of fans.
My heartful thanks for the supporters who will be in Argentina!
Thankyou very much Oliver. We wish you and your team success at the “Mundial 2015”.
Thank you very much, us Swiss are looking forward to Argentina.
(Translated by Jan N. – Fistball Federation of Australia)