Sergio Markarián: Magic for Perú

he experienced Uruguayan coach, committed to dedication and with a great legacy in Peru, returns with the mission of recovering some values ​​and returning the smile to Peruvian football …

The beaten Peruvian football, last in the tie for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and not attending a World Cup since Spain 1982, needed a coach with a first-rate profile, but who knows the idiosyncrasies of Peruvian football. In this line, the consensus was that the best option was Professor Sergio Markarián, tempted several times before, but who considered that the conditions were not given (sports, leadership, political, social, media, fans, among others) to assume the direction of the selection.

Thus, he arrives in Peru in 2010 with a very high approval and with a great credit in his personal account, due to the successes achieved in the past (national champion with Universitario 1993 and Cristal 1996 and runner-up in the Copa Libertadores with Cristal 1997). He got into the hearts of the people after these achievements and at the head of the authorities for his international achievements (he qualified Paraguay for the 2002 World Cup, he was two-time champion with Libertad de Paraguay 2006 – 2007, he was coach of Panathinaikos and Iraklis of Greece, Cruz Azul in Mexico and champion with the U. de Chile in 2009, among others). Beyond the knowledge of tactics and strategies, discounted by far in his case, his experience endorsed his ability to manage human groups, having led for so many years. He has been a coach since 1976, in different countries, with different cultures and players of so many nationalities, which shows his ability to adapt to new circumstances and challenges. It was not easy to find such a complete profile, with so many qualities and who will be supported more than others in difficult times because of having a wide “line of credit” in Peru, with the latest results of the 2011 Copa América this line is has increased.

We consider that a driving force to change the idea of ​​him was what was achieved in Uruguay with the teacher Oscar Washington Tabárez when he achieved fourth place in the last World Cup, although he had been negotiating before and closed during the World Cup. Seeing the social impact this had on a country, he must have realized that his opportunity to do something really important for a country was no longer in his country but in ours, which had already adopted it many years ago. Likewise, he is in an evolutionary stage in life (he was born in 1944) of emotional maturity, more reflective, of acceptance of life, peace of mind and economic (he already made a lot of money in football), personal satisfaction (wife, children and grandchildren) and with a desire to give and transcend; understanding what soccer can achieve for a country like Peru. I’m at my best as a coach (Fox sports, 2011).

He is known as the magician in Peru. Nickname that since he arrived he tries to shake himself off, explaining that his only magic is his work, but that it is already established in the collective imagination of the people and his legend grows more and more with the results of the 2011 Copa América. Magician without a wand because Its magic is generated by the quantity and quality of its work. He does not have vacations, weekends or holidays and even uses his sleep hours (he did not sleep thinking about the strategy to apply in the quarterfinal match against Colombia in the 2011 Copa América), he gives everything of himself. His leadership is proactive and full of very significant, thoughtful and detailed gestures; For example, the beautiful gesture of singing the national anthem with his piece of paper, he transmits a great example with his actions for his technical command, players, team and for Peruvians in general. But these efforts do not feel like a sacrifice because he is passionate about his work and as he refers, this is how he conceives happiness in life, that one enjoys the professional activity that he performs. This can end up being magic in the sense that it occurs in a context, Peruvian football, in which many times this has not been seen.

Winning binomial (CMD, 2011): for Markarián the path of success is shaped by the combination of work and faith.

Work: work depends on two variables that he mentions repeatedly, will and perseverance, and it is something that he is trying to internalize in Peruvian players.

  • Technical command: he creates a technical command that he trusts with many well-trained elements from his country, some national elements and even a group of collaborators who are not formally within his technical command but who contribute to him. Likewise, if he has to request the help of other specialists, as he has already done, he has the openness to do so.
  • Media and fans: the first thing he did when he arrived in Peru was to attack another team that was not with the national team and it was the relationship with journalism, which is who feeds the fan, since the relationship with both had been very deteriorated of the previous process. He always understood that for the process to be successful everyone had to add from their role, we cannot be divided, if the team goes to the World Cup, everyone wins. Since he arrived, he spent at least a month attending to all the media (television, print and radio), he gave it to anyone who wanted a note and explained his plan with admirable patience, tranquility and clarity. The consequence of this was that tensions with the media and with the fans fell.
  • Studious: upon arrival he began to go to the stadiums every weekend, to study players and teams, he asked for all the videos of the previous process, he saw the first and the last, like this until he completed them all, contextualizing them with what the newspapers said about those dates and internal events, for this he met with people involved in previous processes, coaches, leaders, etc. He spared no effort to meet with people who could help him open his mind on the way to reach the promised land (CMD, 2011) as he calls Brazil 2014, he interviewed players, coaches, leaders, journalists, sociologists, psychologists , military, among others. He is a coach who watches football and considers football as chess, he does not do what he likes the most but what is best for each circumstance, he is a strategist in the broad and complete sense of the word. He likes to be aware of the details regardless of the area, he does not settle for specialists telling him that it is, and he handles the concepts at such a level that he can explain it to the media:

1 Physical: how they get what they need and why.

1 Medical: injuries, types of injuries, overloads, among others.

1 Psychological: personalities, customs, tastes, personal and / or family situations, etc.

Tactic: Peruvian players and opponents. Establish the strategies according to the human material we have (summoned, suspended and / or injuries) and the rivals.

  • Planning: he divided his work with short, medium and long term goals, set in performance goals * or result ** we put some points as examples of this. u Short term:
  • Microcycles (2 – 3 days): trainings with the nationals
  • Explain your project to them. *
  • Encourage them to strive and grow and that they will have opportunities. *
  • Visit the players from Europe. *
  • Friendlies *
  • Certain number of matches. *
  • Difficulty of the rivals from lowest to highest. *
    1 Medium term:
  • America Cup:
  • Coexistence time. *
  • Increase the “mileage” in matches of this requirement to players who have not had much international friction (he put 22 out of 23): shorten distances between those in Europe and the rest.
  • Create team. **
  • Finish convincing players, media and fans • *
  • 6 matches was the ideal (goal achieved although for most it was a utopia at the time), more days of coexistence and more matches of international friction almost the requirement of the qualifying rounds • *
    u Long term: Brazil 2014
  • Luck: you are eliminating the word luck, good or bad, from the vocabulary. Even when there was talk of bad luck for the injured (Farfán, Pizarro, Ramírez and Zambrano) prior to the 20011 Copa América, there were reasons for it. Stephen Leacock: I believe very much in luck and I discover that the more I work, the luckier I am (Morilla, 2002). This phrase has been paraphrased by many coaches. The so-called luck, especially bad luck, are variables (technical, tactical, physical and psychology) that have been worked on or not. You persevered in the effort. That was what brought you good luck, the piano instructor told the girl as she gave her the green ribbon of good luck. Since then, whenever she played the piano, the little girl wore the green bow, because she reminded him that it was her own effort that brought her good luck (Koda-Callan, 1990).
  • Game approaches: he poses his matches based on his human material (he does not always have all the players for cards, injuries or penalties) to the rivals and that he rethinks based on the reading of the game at the time. To do this properly, he has previously studied and tested what each of his players can give, he tested performances in flat, height, positions, pressure, among others, thanks to microcycles, and analysis of videos, technology, friendlies, among others. . He also has the good will not to summon them when he has an important international competition (it happened with the Sana Martin University in the last Copa Libertadores and with that management he improves relations with the clubs).
  • Leadership: presents the characteristics of the leader that are intelligence, enthusiasm, firmness, empathy, intrinsic motivation, flexibility, ambition, self-confidence and optimism (Weinberg and Gould, 1996). He made a tour of Europe to get to know the characters first-hand, they had told him many things, what they were like and what they thought of the national team, remember that several of these players were expelled from the previous process due to the Golf Los Inkas case, which is not worth the worth remembering. This was done in order to commit them to the selection. She manages a situational leadership (authoritarian, democratic or permissive) according to what the circumstances warrant. For example, in the Veneto case in Panama, he showed firmness —flexibility with Farfán, “waist”, after forgiving Farfán for his lack in the case, the human group has been strengthened thanks to his management and “waist”, he knows when to “adjust” and when to drop, and it is seen that they are on the right track to team up. If this issue had been mishandled, the group would have cracked and it has been seen in the America’s Cup that the human group is getting stronger and beginning to create a team. He has managed to commit many players of the Peruvian team with his idea, his speech and, therefore, with the national team.
  • Technology: since he arrived he requested a bunker with the latest technology to analyze the videos of the Peruvian team, rivals, Peruvian players, etc. to create a database of him, of what he had, lacked and could, as well as of rivals. He bought the famous GPS’s to analyze the performances of the players on the flat, in the altitude and in general. His credibility allowed the Peruvian Football Federation to buy him the latest in sports technology for football, not cheap instruments. Spanish specialists were brought in to analyze the physical conditions and how the players were in loads, bodybuilding, among others for the Copa América. This makes a huge difference at work, minimizing the chances of error.
  • Psychology: despite having knowledge of psychology, especially in relation to group management, he does not fall into the arrogance of believing that he knows everything, in which many of his colleagues have stumbled. Jean Piaget (one of the most important psychologists in the history of psychology): almost everyone has a tendency that leads them to think that they can assume the role of psychologists, despite the fact that it takes a more than average culture to understand that any information in psychology involves rather difficult experimental checks (Coon, 1999). He is aware from his experience and humility that his knowledge has a limit since he is not a specialist on the subject. For me, psychological work is very important at the level of players, both young and old, that is why I have personally decided that a professional advise me regarding some problems that may arise with the team along the way (El Comercio, 2010 ). His openness is commendable and his approach spot on. In the modern approach and in developed countries in sports psychology applied to football, psychologists are part of the technical command. Reading the Peruvian soccer environment correctly and the training that the local soccer players have had, one realizes that almost no club has psychologists in their teams and / or minor divisions and if they have had it it has been sporadically, in addition to that we can count on the fingers of one hand Peruvian sports psychologists trained as such. That is to say, he will not be able to bring a psychologist to the technical command of the national team because there will be a lot of resistance from the environment, players, leaders, etc. because they are not used to this figure, they have not seen him in minor divisions, they have not seen him in their clubs and, therefore, they will see him as the “loquero” and the first, natural defensive reaction, is “I’m not crazy ”, Nobody wants to be. He is currently consulting with a psychologist with experience in soccer.
  • Faith: faith, leaving religious beliefs aside, in its scientific conception would become the psychological construct optimism that emerges from the scientific branch of psychology known as Positive Psychology, made up of the elements optimism, resilience, fluidity, happiness -well-being, creativity, humor-laughter and emotional intelligence. We will only delve into the concept of optimism, later also on that of emotional intelligence, which is what interests us. Optimism is considered as a dispositional characteristic of the personality that serves as a mediator between the personal interpretation of events and external events. It is the predisposition to hope for a positive future. This courage gives us strength to persevere and stay positive despite difficulties because it is considered that what will come will be good, but not gratuitously but by relying on and relying on our own abilities. Crises are seen as opportunities for growth. Likewise, it allows us to discover the positive even in the bad, the adversities or circumstances of life (Seligman, 1991). A good self-examination is that of a glass half full of water, depending on the predisposition, the glass will be half full or half empty and these can give us lights if you have an optimistic or pessimistic style. Optimism (Seligman, 2002) is developed by studying the positive traits, strengths, virtues and abilities (intelligence, athletic ability, etc.), positive institutions (democracy, united families, freedom of information, etc.) and fostering experiences that provoke positive emotions , this causes the negatives to disappear. According to the research carried out, optimism increases when living in a democracy, being married, avoiding negative events and emotions, forging oneself in a rich social environment and approaching religion (Seligman, 2002).
  • Prayers: he refers that his work supports him with his prayers, again leaving us out of religion, this has relaxation implications, provides peace, calm and tranquility. On the other hand, you are visualizing what you want to achieve, making this more achievable (Weinberg and Gould, 1996

Self-knowledge: knowing yourself, both in the good (strengths) and in the bad
(weaknesses). Recognize the emotions that are experienced and their triggers.

II Self-control: ability to self-regulate one’s own emotional responses, pleasant (euphoria, joy, exhilaration, pleasure, satisfaction, serenity, hope, ecstasy, to name a few) and unpleasant (anger, anger, frustration, sadness, to name a few). Know how to identify the situations that can get out of control and establish self-regulation strategies.

1 Self-motivation: ability to self-stimulate for one’s own personal goals and objectives.

II Empathy: ability to recognize the emotions, desires and intentions of others. Ability to put oneself in the place of the other.

I Social skills: skills that make it easier to talk to people, relate to them and do something in common. Includes leadership and communication skills.

Unfortunately, for other sports, soccer is the sport with the greatest social, economic, political, identity and collective self-esteem impact for better and for worse. “Pepe” Reina (substitute goalkeeper for the Spanish soccer team) after the 2010 world title: It is that uniting an entire country… that is only done by soccer (Robinson Report, 2010). And that in full economic crisis and with the regionalisms that Spain shows. And that is why it is necessary to take care of it and work it for the good of the nation. The heroes of today are not those of war but those of sports and without deaths in between.


Bibliographic references:

Coon, D. (1999). Psychology: Exploration and Applications. Madrid: International Thomson Editores.
Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional Intelligence. Buenos Aires: Vergara.
The Trade (2010). Sergio Markarián will seek the advice of a psychologist for the Peruvian team.
Koda-Callan, E. (1990). The loop of luck.
Morilla, M., León, V. and Bohórquez, R. (2007). Train and improve your emotional intelligence: the key to personal and sports success. Seville: Sevilla Fútbol Club Foundation.
Morilla, M. (2002). Some reflections on the psychology of sport and the football coach. Fitness portal.
Nieri, D. (June 25, 2011). Workshop: emotional intelligence in sport: stress and emotion management in coaches. Lime. Trener College.
Seligman, M. (2002). Authentic Happiness. Barcelona. Byblos.
Seligman, M.E.P. (1991) Leamed Optimism.How to change your mind and your lile. New York: A.A. Kopf.
Weinberg, R. S. and Gould, D. (1996). Fundamentals of Sports Psychology and Physical Exercise. Barcelona: Ariel.
Sergio Markarián. http: //es.wikipedia.orghviki/Sergio_Markari%C3%A1n
Videographic references:

CMD: Cable Mágico Deportes (July 16, 2011. Press conference with Sergio Markarián after the quarterfinal match. Media Network: Lima.
Fox Sports (July 20, 2011). Interview Sergio Markarián. Buenos Aires.
Robinson Report (2010). Spain World Champion. Spain: Canal +.