Soccer snark-meister José Mourinho using drone to film AS Roma soccer training mistakes

drone soccer training

European soccer coach José Mourihno has been called many, many things in his career ­– “innovative” being among the few printable descriptions. Now the man who ever so modestly once nicknamed himself “The Special One” is using drones to film soccer training sessions in the hopes they’ll help get some of his former winning mojo back.

Will the drone tool be a weapon with Mourinho flying?

As anyone knows who follows global football (aka soccer to North American types), Mourinho has established himself as a figure one either loves or loathes – frequently the latter. When he hasn’t been baiting rivals or unabashedly boasting about his wins and titles – which have been many – the Portuguese tactician has been creating very public (and, always, terminal) bad blood with other coaches, referees, members of his own staffs, star players, and pretty much anyone else around. 

There therefore must be just a little bit of apprehension among the current members of his AS Roma squad about what Mourinho’s actual objective is in using a drone to film soccer training sessions at their Trigoria practice ground so videos of their errors can be immediately broadcast on a giant screen for larger-than-life critiquing.

Roma announced the addition of the drone video tech to Mourinho’s coaching toolbox via Twitter as one of the “few upgrades and changes at Trigoria this summer, to help with training.” As soccer specialist Football Italia described it, Mourinho “requested a personalised Roma drone to hover above the pitch and film his players” so he can “pause training, pull them all back and allow the players to watch their errors within seconds of committing them.” All while an amplified mosquito buzzes overhead as a notoriously ornery coach points out how what they’ve just done sucked. 

That’ll go over well with today’s temperamental, rich, and precociously entitled young soccer pros.

“Innovative” deployment of drone to film soccer training not so new

Meanwhile, for all the fan and media comments about how “innovative” Mourinho’s adoption of drones is, it actually pretty old hat. Rival Italian club Napoli has used the aerial video tech for a while, as have coaches at Spanish titan Real Madrid. Earlier this year officials of Chile’s national soccer attacked a drone they claimed arch-foe Argentina was using to spy on them ahead of a match. What risks being novel with drones this time is Mourinho’s deployment of the craft on a mission all his own: to sew strife everywhere he goes.

Indeed, Roma is now the fifth club the former Tottenham and Manchester United and Chelsea and Real Madrid and Inter Milan and Chelsea (a first time) coach has headed in the last decade – a record that would qualify him for the notorious “much traveled” soubriquet in American sports. Prior to exiting, he created controversy at every team he worked for – including feuding with his own players. His last stint at Chelsea ended with Mourinho throwing the players under his losing bus with claims they couldn’t handle the excellence he’d imparted.

“I think I did such an amazing job I brought players to a level that is not their level,” Mourinho said in, for him, a relatively modest mode as the Chelsea door struck him in the bum. “I brought them to such a level where this season they couldn’t keep the super motivation to be leaders and champions.”

So, the question now remains whether the truly powerful and instructive capacities a drone filming soccer training sessions can provide will be used in a constructive manner to up Roma’s game; or whether its role in Mourinho’s toolbox will be to replace the sledgehammer he usually wrecks things with.

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