Header Image

Frederico Morais

UEFA Pro License Holder

Frederico is a UEFA Pro Licensed coach with a Sports Science degree with a specialisation in Football at the Faculty of Sports from the University of Porto and is a Tactical Periodisation expert.

Worked with the Porto FA, Boavista FC, AC Milan, AS Monaco and Leyton Orient at youth and senior level. He has given Coach Education for AC Milan Soccer Schools and the Danish FA.

Interview Learning Outcomes:

  • Frederico tells us what it was like studying under Tactical Periodisation expert Vitór Frade
  • We learn about the history of Tactical Periodisation and an overview of the methodology
  • Frederico busts some myths about Tactical Periodisation
  • He suggests how youth coaches can apply Tactical Periodisation
  • Frederico tells us more about his presentation on ‘Tactical Periodisation’ for our Virtual Conference (See trailer below the transcript)


The following is the transcript of the above video.
Today we are chatting with Frederico Morais, a professional football coach with expertise in Tactical Periodisation. Frederico earned his UEFA Pro Licence at just 28 years of age, graduated with a degree from the University of Porto and he will be presenting at the #NextGenCoaches 24 hour Virtual Conference hosted by InspireCoachEd.com on July 29th 2017. 24 Presentations in 24 hours.


I encourage you to go to www.inspirecoached.com for more details on how you can get access to Frederico’s presentation and the 23 other great presentations from world leaders in coaching and coach education.


Frederico, thanks for sitting down with us today and joining us…how are you?


All good and yourselves?


Very good! Happy to talk with you because we actually had a little bit of a connection through social media. You commented There are so many podcasts with guys talking about tactical periodisation you made a really nice comment which we appreciated which was like People are neglecting to cite the work which is from Vitor Frade maybe you can talk a little bit about that misconception just not citing the appropriate person.


Obviously being a student of Vitor Frade, I understand his frustration. He also mentioned it in his classes and his lessons he would soon say that if people want to call it ‘Tactical Periodisation’ they have to coach the way it should be. People are using that name in vain really because they don’t really understand what tactical periodisation is, they don’t understand the principles and unfortunately because of the majority of the work that the professor has done was in Portuguese and a bit in French, because he speaks French but not in English the word has been spread in the wrong way.


I think. The word ‘Tactical Periodisation’ people think you just coach tactics which is not necessarily the truth. Just very briefly the story behind it from Matveyev in athletics, people started talking about periodisation and he used tactical as a provocation as a way of inciting thought and make the people think about this methology the same way this university dissertation was written upside down half way through it, you would have to flip it and read it and people would say “That’s not how things work!” “yeah, but that’s exactly my idea!” as you get to a certain point in his dissertation and go “this is different” so your attention span restarts and reboots if you flip it, your brain kicks off and you’re paying attention to what he’s presenting to you. Tactical Periodisation was the same principle provoking a thought of being clearly the opposite of what Matveyev brought to football and what the classical periodisation brings to football.


Well it’s funny that you bring up Matveyev and obviously guys like Tudor Bompa who wrote books on periodisation more talking about the athletics background and like you said strength training but that was right around the time the 70’s and 80’s when we saw this big division in sport, where we saw a sport like soccer, where we said ‘ok’

let’s take the strength and train it separately, the fitness and train it separately, the tactics train it separately the technique train it separately and even guys like Wiel Coerver took the technique and said we can disseminate that into all these parts. So, a big question but we still think a lot and a lot of coaches I see think that the best way to train is to train everything individually and then put it back together and we know that not to be the case we know that football is more than the sum of its parts, so maybe you can talk about that quote which is Sometimes often associated with Tactical Periodisation.


It goes back to the complex systems and Tactical Periodisation bases itself on complex systems

and neuroscience and the funny thing is and what is really interesting and how the classes with the professor were so captivating, was that he would bring articles and things that he had written by hand 20 or 30 years old and he would say “See, I said this” “I wrote this in August 1980”. And this is how ahead he was and how ahead he still is because you now understand the things that are coming up every day or every month of studies and things that prove what he was saying was right.


One of the best well known neuroscientists Antonio Dimasio, who is huge in the US created this hypothesis and one of his books is the Descates’ Mistake (error) He went through how the duality of mind and body doesn’t really exist and he was already talking about this before but it was empirical, he didn’t have much of a science background but now slowly, things are starting towards that way. That’s one side of the thing, the Tactical Periodisation side of things On the other side, I understand that it’s easier for coaches, it’s easier for people to separate things and then try to combine the problem is that football is a complex sport. It’s a team sport, it’s a sport that doesn’t have massive breaks only for injuries for example, but it’s a continuous game.


Decisions are constantly being made if you compare it to American football there’s breaks where there’s no decision being made in football, even if the ref blows the whistle and there’s a foul, you’re making decisions. You’re adjusting, you’re setting the wall up, you’re always in focus, and you’re always on. So when you divide the tactics and the skills and the technique, you can’t really emulate what football is analytically trying to build everything together. We have seen that in football it’s not the best way forwards in our opinion it’s not the best way forwards because you’re losing time. You can do exactly the same thing you can have exactly the same outcomes with a lot less time and now slowly people are going from that perspective of train more and more and more and that will take us longer and further and better and that’s not necessarily the case.


Especially at the top level, we are seeing teams that are being coached and are having less of training input more recovery times and how sessions are delivered and how sessions are organised, more of a recovery session but at the same time having a tactical side to it. I understand why things have gone that way especially when coaching was ex pros getting sports science graduates from university and saying “you get 30 minutes every session, just make sure that the players can run are fit. I’ll do the football” So I understand that how that built in and the philosophy behind that was a progression and then franchises like you mentioned slowly brought something in, people saw the videos…but what people forget is that they picked the best boys and they shoot 100 times. They made loads of mistakes before they made that video but it’s still interesting how productive you can be and I’m not against it at all. We just think, especially at the top level there’s different priorities. If you have loads of time, if you are coaching kids and you have 6 sessions a week, which I don’t think makes any sense but if you do then probably you can cut your sessions in that way but again, that’s not Tactical Periodisation.


If you do that you cannot say that you coach that methodology. In the same breath people who use articles and podcasts for Tactical Periodisation relate it to things outside of football like strength training or physical preparations stuff in the gym and I could misinterpret this from Vitors’ original work. I don’t believe that strength training has any fit in Tactical Periodisation because he would argue the muscular contractions are different.


So, could you speak about that isolated strength training?

To give a bit of a background in our university with Vitor Frade and the other department of football, there are different views of the game and how you should coach we had a more physical approach. Certain professors would coach us and teach us about that other physical side of the game and he would talk about Tactical Periodisation we have that perspective of what strength training can be and on my UEFA Pro Licence I had the luck to meet Mourinho’s assistant Rui Faria with us and he’s probably the one at the moment that we could say is coaching definitely Tactical Periodisation at a top level. He would mention that and he would tell us stories about players, about clubs and it’s funny to see how he described it. He went to Italy, for example, and Italy has a great history of strength training. They had players like Zanetti, Crespo that felt the need to go to the gym When he first started he said we are not going to do gym, they go “Nah, nah, we have to do it. We don’t feel comfortable if we don’t do it.” and he goes “ok then” and that’s where you come into their beliefs. If they have been doing it for 20 years and you suddenly go “you’re not going to do it” then you’re going to affect the way they perform. Negatively. So what they did and what we do is we say “Ok, that’s fine. We just need to control what you do, when you do it and how you do it” “If that’s controlled and if that’s in accordance to where we want to go then that’s fine” It’s what professor Vitor Frade called the coffee and the milk. You want them to drink milk but they prefer the coffee. You mix both and they get the best of the two. They get their coffee but at the same time they get their nutritious milk


Now I want to go to the other side of the coin, because there are going to be coaches who are going to continuously fall to those beliefs and it might be hard for them to look into this and apply this. And you’ve mentioned it a couple of times of it at the top level. Is tactical periodisation something that we can generate right out of the gate with youngsters so the 6’s, the 7’s, the 8’s, the 9’s, the 10’s and have it applicable to that and you have those coaches who as you said “we need that isolated skill work, we need the individual stuff could you talk a little about how that begins, how the genesis of it goes at the younger stages.


The whole point of tactical periodisation is the morphocycle. We have the microcycle which then spits into mesocycle and macrocycle in tactical periodisation, we don’t have a micro cycle we have a morphocycle. What that means is that the way we do things is always fractal. The morphal cycle is the same throughout the whole season the way we do things is exactly the same throughout the whole season. The Tuesday session is the same way, the Wednesday session is the same way so there is a pattern that prevents us from having impacts and shocks to the players and that also allows us to have a set plan and going into Youth Development football, that allows us to divide the week into different principles; What we call fractions of play.


So, you have sub principles which then grow onto the macro principles or the principles of play.

If we say for example that I have a youth team, or under 10’s team that I want to play possession football, to dominate the game to have the ball as much as we can, and then create chances by that. What do I need to aim to do? I need to have players that are technically able to do that, they have the passive technique, they have the movement they have the receiving skills for that. We need to have the understanding of when to move, how to move, triggers and the timing of the whole thing. Then we divide that throughout the whole week. So we can say we played a game on Sunday and we have a session on Monday. The boys or adults are not ready for 11 v 11 for 40 minutes. They are still tired, there is no need to have 11 v 11 for 40 minutes. What we can do is spilt into little fractions and we can go into detail of the sub principles.


So if we want to develop a skill or a dribble, a shooting technique, etc…We can do that on that. I say Tuesday as an example. The first session can be a session of recovery of where they do that dribble or that skill or shooting practice and then they rest. They have the combination play, finish, rest. That then builds onto what we look at in the Adult level. That’s what we usually do. Usually the first session of the week, the day after the rest, you play and the following day should be a passing rest day. They don’t come in they do their own bits at home but it’s what we feel is the best for everyone. To go home, to go to their families and to relax. Take their minds off the game because if they lost, they think they are the worst or if they won, they think they are the best.


We give them time to stabilise on that. Going back to youth football. That is the whole point. We can divide the week and the working week into different principles sub principles, principles and then we link all of that into what should be the game. we have time to do set pieces, we have time to do skills, we have time to focus on the individual side, we have time to transition drills so we can coach all that and linked to the sub principles are how your body is affected. The physiology

is always affected every day and the way we look training over the days, we have an idea if this is sub principle day, if this is a Tuesday I can’t obviously do an endurance drill, can’t play for 45 minutes, you’re not ready. I might get someone injured it might affect the rest of the week because they haven’t recovered. If I do an endurance drill, let’s say, on that first day, it will kill the rest of my week. These youth coaches, how would they go about developing this playing style or game model. You said the sub principles is that a game to game format? In other words, we have the same thing each week in terms of smaller or bigger mesocycle portion of it or is each week developed by what happened on Saturday in youth football, or is there more of a curriculum base that is set and everything comes from that?


This curriculum idea is a bit of an Anglo-saxophonic way. The same in England, we need to follow a curriculum. Tactical periodisation doesn’t necessarily see it in that way. The style of play in youth football at certain clubs like Porto like Barcelona, it’s linked to the first team. The first team play in a certain way and you want our boys from age 8 to play that way. You want them to progressively understand that game and the way we want them to play and then we get there playing that way. Playing the Porto way, playing the Barcelona way. Other clubs do it differently. The first team has very little to do with the youth development. In clubs that want to have that philosophy, the style of play is the philosophy of the club. So let me use an example,

Porto under 10’s, we know this is how we need to play. In possession, out of possession, offensive organisation, defensive organisation, offensive transition and defensive transition. These are our principles we want possession football, combine throughout the pitch, build through the thirds, aggressive in the last third, through passes, shots, one v ones, this is what we want. Defensively we want to be aggressive, be very close to your opponents. Go press the ball really high, win it, and decide what to do with it. This is just an example. So, these are our four moments. Within those four moments, we have to coach them. It takes time, some teams will be unbelievable in possession, in offensive organisation, but the other three may be very poor. For those three we need to adapt and our training sessions need to have a reflection of those three.


We have to adjust, we have to understand what we need. If we think that offensive organisation is the strongest then we can consider is to adjust in accordance to the opponent. That could be the previous Saturday, this happened. We can speak about that during the week. On Saturday, this happened. What can we do next? How can we adjust if this happens again and give it a strategic side. At the top level the same happens, we get to a certain point where the players have videos of the opponent, so the whole week is prepared towards that. Our style of play needs to persist and that’s our goal. A certain style of play is the way we want to play, this is the way we are going to win…or not but this is the way we want to play and we want to win with our ideas.


We don’t change everything for that but we adjust the way we play, we adjust the four moments for a certain opponent or game. For a final, it depends. A moment within that process, it’s the same as fractals. We need to see a clear idea. The whole point is, you take your shirts off, you play with a different shirt and you know that’s this team. Creating that identity is the whole point of our methodology.


I’m already excited for your presentation (we need some more time) Yes, we do!

As we start to wrap up. What are some of the biggest myths out there, regarding Tactical Periodisation and you just think to yourself ‘that’s not right’.

I post some online and I started last week. A myth busting kind of tweet. I hope that it will be interesting. I think the biggest is the name “Tactical Periodisation”. “Oh, we’re just tactics, there’s no place for skill, there is no space for psychology” No, as I said and during the presentation I’ll talk about that. It’s a provocation. It’s just a word that wanted to break free of the classical periodisation of the physical focus. That’s one of the myths. The second myth is small sided games, we just do small sided games. 3v3s, 4v4s, and that’s it, that’s the training session. Which is not necessarily the case. There is space for other things. There is space for 11v11 and to get the perspective and to get the understanding of how spaces work and how you need to adjust, you need to do an 11v11. But when we do that, which part of the week. When are the players ready to do an 11v11? When have they physically recovered, when are they fresh to do that. That’s another one. The other myth, I could probably say is the days of the week: This is an endurance day, this is a strength day, which is slowly picked up…everyone mentions it. In that way, it’s not necessarily the focus, the focus is the sub principles. So, today is a sub principle day or a sub, sub principle day. Within that, if we are coaching the details, we are not going to do an 11v11. It’s not going to be an endurance day. People look it and go “Today is my strength day”, not necessarily

Today is your sub principle day. You’re going to work on this. You’re going to work on your back four…whatever! How your back four adjusts to balls in the air…that’s your idea. Within that you need to be aware and smart enough to go “If I make 4 repetitions in two minutes, then it’s going to have an impact of their physiology. What is the impact that it’s going to have? Can they have this impact on Tuesday? No, they can’t, so we’ll do two groups of four. They rotate, and they rest and they work and they rest. The same happens on a Thursday for example or in the middle of the week. We want to work on the same back four but you want it to be continuous. You want them to work and work and work and those principles are happening and emerging all the time. Excellent, we do that. Four minute periods, work for four minutes, rest, work for four minutes, you know.

That’s the main myth. The way we organise the week is not through endurance, strength, speed

Its sub principles and obviously those physiological aspects of the game are involved but there is time for the other principles, for psychology. How can you, do a drill on Friday that will really fire them up for Saturday? What can you do on Thursday to put a lot of pressure on the players?

How can you promote that intense session, competitive mind set? How can you do that? What rules can you put on your sessions?

What drills can you put in a session for that type of intensity? That winning mentality. All of that is linked to Tactical Periodisation and the whole morphocycle of how we do things and how we use the week for our benefit.

Before we talk about your presentation, one of the last questions I want to ask is, do you have a quote or a thought from Vitor Frade that ever since you heard it, it has shaped everything that you do.

Yeah, it’s hard to translate it but the quote is “No one feels the need for the unknown”. If you’re not aware of something you don’t feel the need for it. You’ve never thought about it if you don’t know about it.

Tactical Periodisation is one of the things where you start understanding it and reading about it you go “this actually makes sense” if you put it in to practice, that’s another question. Once you go through the theory of it and the practical side of it, you go “this makes sense”. “If it works or not, I’ll have to try it” that’s usually what people say.

It does makes sense and that’s the whole point. You don’t feel the need for something you don’t know.

I like that! Your presentation, we talked a little about it already but it’s going to be on Tactical Periodisation in Youth Football could you tell people who are listening what they can anticipate learning in your presentation?

It will be an introductory concept for the methodology that we are currently talking about.

Tactical Periodisation is quite complex, it’s difficult to understand, there are set principles and that is the most difficult part that people go through, which is the principles not rules. So, if you look at another methodology they have rules, “we have to being doing this to be doing this kind of methodology”.

In Tactical Periodisation there are principles. We’ll talk about the four principles we work under and those principles are interpreted in those different ways. Obviously learning and reading a lot through Vitor Frade, you understand what these principles mean but each coach interprets it in each way. We’ll go through that and what the principles are.

How can you adjust those principles to your own needs because the advantage of Tactical Periodisation is that it’s one of the only methodologies just for football. It doesn’t have the classical periodisation of getting things from athletics and Matveyev and try to blend things in. Tactical Periodisation was just created for football. It has football in mind. Other sports like rugby and basketball have read and drunk a lot if it’s knowledge but it’s not quite the same because basketball is not the same as football and its breaks and time outs…it’s not really the same but other sports have drunk a lot of our knowledge. That’s what the presentation will focus on a very practical approach of how to do things. It won’t focus on the complex system, people are already aware of that from neuro science and complex systems and the theory of chaos and fractals. We understand that, we know that but what does this actually mean on a day to day basis. So, it will be a focus on the coaches and what they can take back to their clubs and own philosophy

What can they learn from tactical periodisation and giving them a really hands on approach to that.

Brian and I look forward to your presentation, dispelling some myths but also giving out good and correct information

Frederico, thanks for joining us for a short 30 minute chat, really enjoyed it and we look forward to your presentation.

Thank you very much, it’s been great talking to you.

Presentation Trailer