#BehindTheGame – Ashwin Crasto
In conversation with Ashwin Crasto, one of FC Goa’s top grassroots coaches, dedicated to nurturing well-rounded footballers from the ground up.
What is the main objective of this grassroots program?
Ashwin: It has always been my constant endeavour to inspire kids to fall in love with the game. To accomplish this, I’ve introduced fun training exercises and have even incorporated creative ways to discipline latecomers so as to not steer them away from the sport.
The priority has always been to make them enjoy the game while also making them aware of the technical and tactical aspects of the sport. My curriculum is mostly ball oriented; this means that every training exercise is done with a ball at their feet. This style of training gets them comfortable with the ball and improves their ability to manoeuver it while playing.
What qualities are you trying to build amongst these kids?
Ashwin: The core of any coaching structure revolves around discipline, hard work, confidence building, and punctuality, while keeping it fun and entertaining. Through this combination, my aim is to better their technical ability and help the kids build a winning attitude.
Do you subscribe to a particular coaching style or philosophy?
Ashwin: I’m a firm believer in the “Total Football” philosophy, which focuses on creating space and opportunity for creative football. While my team starts off with a formation in mind, every player has the license to mix it up and venture beyond his or her designated positions while other provide cover. This formula gives freedom to the players and allows them to express their style.
All in all, more than winning the game, the emphasis is on playing the game the right way by playing great attacking football that is a joy to watch.
Which coach do you look up to?
Ashwin: My coaching idol is the legendary Johan Cruyff; the Dutch footballer is still regarded as one of the greatest footballers of his generation. His style of play with the Dutch national team and FC Barcelona continue to be a source of inspiration when I need it the most. I consider his autobiography ‘My Turn’ as one of my most prized possessions till date.
How do you measure success as a coach?
Ashwin: I’m not a coach that measures success by the silverware in my cabinet; instead I would like my kids to be good human beings, playing top-notch football. My goal is to improve every footballer’s ability, while also making the team work as a unit and play beautiful football.