'A way to improve everyone and the game'

Hope Powell called the event "essential" and Kenneth Heiner-Møller spoke of how it raised standards as the second UEFA Women's National Team Coaches Conference came to a close.

Béatrice von Siebenthal speaking at the conference in Nyon
Béatrice von Siebenthal speaking at the conference in Nyon ©UEFA

The second UEFA Women's National Team Coaches Conference closed on Wednesday evening with the words "keep your hunger" as the speeches and working groups of the two-day event not only offered the chance for participants to reflect on the strides made in recent times, but also to engender excitement for the years to come.

Being a Women's EURO year, it was no surprise much of the debate among the visiting community of women's national and club coaches, plus national association elite technicians, surrounded what was witnessed on Sweden's thrillling fields last summer. Following Tuesday's competition technical report review and tribute to champions Germany, one of the main activities on Wednesday in Nyon was the trends and talking points forum which allowed small groups of coaches to discuss the lessons learned from UEFA Women's EURO 2013 and how teams can develop.

Various topics – from how to choose your formation to the question of whether a side needs a playmaker – were covered and then the lead name in each group presented their findings to all the participants. Many long-term coaching styles and the chosen philosophies of national teams were mentioned, with members of the panel agreeing that the size of an association can determine such approaches.

On formations, Siggi Eyjólfsson, who took Iceland to the EURO quarter-finals, said: "We discussed if players define the formation or if formations should pick the players. Smaller countries may be more likely to have their type of players determine the formation. We agreed we should try to base it on our own players' strengths – but we also discussed the differences between your formation and how you want to play."

Another of the subjects was the step up national team players must make from Under-19 level to the seniors. A technical observer at EURO, Béatrice von Siebenthal said: "We believe you can bring these players into the fold when they are at youth level so they experience the atmosphere of the senior team, but they continue to play in their own category. National squads should aim to train together [periodically] as well."

After this debate, there was a talk from Pia Sundhage about leading Sweden on home soil; a session on the importance of physical preparation – again using the example of EURO – with fitness experts who helped condition players for, and during, the tournament; and a speech on leadership and pressure from former England coach Hope Powell. "It was a huge learning curve for me when I started," she said. "The expectation is what brings the pressure. I am quite a calm person so it's about exuding that in games, in training and in the camp."

Between sessions, the coaches and other delegates commented on a productive couple of days. "I think that it's fantastic," Powell said. "It is about us, as coaches, continually developing ourselves and it's really important. It's important as well to share best practice and to look at trends after major tournaments – this stimulates learning. But to come together as a group of coaches and like-minded people, talking about football is essential for personal development."

Kenneth Heiner-Møller was Denmark coach for seven years, bowing out after EURO, and he added: "I think we have had quite a few very good sessions but it's all the stuff in between that's important too. We've had some great input from everyone down on the floor but in smaller sessions, everyone has to give input into what we can do better. It's all about knowledge-sharing, it's a way of improving everyone and it's a way of improving the game."