Rafa Benitez has a degree in Physical Education, and he has been coaching and teaching all his life – something he was born to do.
In the interviews Rafa has recently given he reveals he was always interested in keeping information on the performance of his students (and later his players).
And Rafa could be one of the first people to put this performance-related data on a personal computer – he used a Commodore 64 and wrote his own programs in MS/DOS and then BASIC.
It was something Rafa was interested in doing, and you couldn’t do too much with PCs back in those days.
Rafa Benitez – computer savvy at the very least
He could have been one of the first coaches ever to use PCs in coaching.
This is some of what said as reported in the Chronicle and the Mirror:
“I was a PE teacher and when you teach, you can say ‘you have to do this.’ It’s an order. That’s one way.”
“When I was 13 years old I used to keep notes on all my teammates,” “I still have the books.
“At 13, I went to Real Madrid and started taking notes. I was giving points and marks to our players after every game, writing down the top scorers.”
“I still have everything. When I was 16, I was coach in the summer and a player. When I was at university at 17, 18, I was player, coach, manager.
“I used to put all the training sessions on to a computer, a Commodore 64, I didn’t play games on it, I put information on there.”
“I used MS-DOS, then learned Basic, to hold the info.”
“It was very basic, but at this time I was using computers when nobody was using computers.”
“What I learned is that you have to be careful with computers. They give too much information.”
“You need to be sure you have the right information and at the same time, one thing I don’t want to do – and it’s a key thing – is lose the feeling.
“I know how you feel when you make a mistake. Like a lot of professionals, I can hear when you are kicking the ball properly or not just by the sound.”
“I now have all the training sessions of my players. For instance, my coaches here at Newcastle, Antonio Gomez Perez and Mikel Antia.”
“I saw them play at 16 and now they are 45 and with me. I have them on my computers!”
At some point in the future, Rafa needs to write a book about his unique coaching methods – maybe after he’s won his first trophy for Newcastle.
One of the local journalists could write it with Rafa and do most of the writing.
It would be a fascinating book from a fascinating coach.
Here’s what the Commodore 64 looked like way back then …