Lillo on Intentionality

I’m continuously asking myself, “What is my intention? What am I trying to accomplish? What is the purpose of this?” In a way, thinking about each action with its intention in mind allows you to be objective what you are doing. 

In my opinion, football isn’t different. There is a clear objective set out by the rules of the game and the way in which you achieve that objective is up to the individuals partaking in the game. Juan Manuel Lillo, Spanish coach and philosopher, views football extremely objectively. On countless occasions, he has pointed out the rules clearly stipulate the objective of the game and all tactics must be based around said objectives. (If you’re interested in learning more about Juanma Lillo, check out my article for These Football Times: What if success looked a lot like failure? The story of Juanma Lillo.)

Recently, I rediscovered a clip of Lillo describing Guardiola’s philosophy. In it he alludes to the need of intentionality in football. He specifically mentions passing and the importance of understanding the purpose of a pass. 

“The pass is an intentional means.”
— Juanma Lillo

Lillo, Guardiola, and all the best football minds understand the purpose behind the pass. It’s not simply to make as many passes as possible but to move the ball towards the goal with the final objective to put the ball in the net. A pass is used to move the opponent to create space. Once having created space, a pass is used to get the ball as quickly as possible to that space. Using a pass in this way gives it intentionality. 

Pass to move opponent. Pass to advance the ball. 

When watching the clip you will notice the subtitles don’t ever include the word intention. However, when speaking in his native Spanish, Lillo makes a direct emphasis on the word ‘Intencional’, which, as you can assume, means ‘Intentional’. The point he is trying to get across is the importance of intentions in one’s actions and in understanding this you know the why behind the game.

Read: Intentionality in Sport

I believe Lillo and I both agree this emphasis on the why is what has sets Guardiola apart from the rest. This is the key to transmitting an idea to your players. Being able to explain the why behind each and every point you deliver makes the world of difference to your players. And by analysing your intentions, you will naturally create your own beliefs and philosophy. 

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