Rafa Benitez is one of the top football managers in the world. The ex-Liverpool, Valencia and Inter Milan manager has won trophies at just about every club he has been in charge of and now he is the boss of European Champions League and FA Cup holders Chelsea, at least until the end of the current football season.
What many may not know about him, however, is that he is also a technology nut and has designed his own training and tactics software for the iPad that will help him in his new job - and many other managers and coaches around the world.
Globall Coach is no mere app. Although a cut-down version of the training tool is available on iTunes - as Globall Coach Lite - the expanded edition is an incredibly powerful way to help with training schedules, record match statistics and illustrate to players - professional or otherwise - the patterns and tactics managers and coaches want them to utilise. It brings traditional methods bang up to date, using the iPad as a tool to help improve a club's training and match analysis behind the scenes, and potentially on the field.
Unlike many endorsed applications and software on the app store, Globall Coach has been directly developed by Rafa Benitez and a team of top-class coaches, many of whom worked with him at Liverpool.
It already has numerous admirers among the professional football circuit worldwide, and Benitez took time out before he became manager of Chelsea to talk it over exclusively with Pocket-lint.
To begin with, he explained why he developed the software in the first place, and hinted at his love for technology. "When I was a young coach," Benitez told us. "I had two VHS video players and I was using both to prepare my case for my players. I would spend maybe five hours in the morning to prepare clips. With this technology you can do things [snaps fingers] like that."
He also revealed that it was important to create a version that could be used by anyone, not just professionals. "We’ve created three versions. The first was the Premier version for professional coaches and academies. Afterwards, we thought that maybe the young coaches would not have the money to access this technology, so we did the Lite version. They can test the program.”
The Globall Coach team also created Elite, which is similar to the Premier version but is designed for coaches working in a multiple coach set-up. It has extra functionality that allows the network of coaches at a professional club, for example, to share their animations, sessions and analysis through email.
Benitez also told us that the app isn't just to help managers and coaches but players, too. Especially as there's an added benefit over conventional methods.
"The other thing is that I have been at a lot of top sides and they have a lot of foreign players, sometimes it’s difficult to communicate," he said. "Liverpool had 14 nationalities. And, at other teams, I’ve seen a translator on the pitch explaining the exercises during the training sessions. With this you can show them the exercises yourself.
"It’s a tool that can help the coaching process. It is great for the coaches, and we are updating the program all the time."
The new Chelsea manager told Pocket-lint that iPads are becoming more common on the sidelines among coaches. "A lot of people have iPads now," said Benitez. "But I haven't seen anything like this program.
"A lot of them have a PC, which they can use to download videos, etc. But to go to the pitch with this, this level of information and the way you can change everything, I haven't seen this."
Globall Coach Lite is available on iPad to download now from iTunes for £4.99. The Premier version of Globall Coach, with much more control for professionals in the football business costs £50, and the Elite version for multiple coach set-ups costs £300.
You can find out more from the dedicated website at www.globall-coach.com.