Zhang Lu, as one of the most senior football commentators in China, accompanied the Chinese fans to spend one day after another with football. From professional football players to sports school class studies, from institutional units to professional club executives, he has worked hard for Chinese football for decades.
In addition to the commentary, how to better popularize football is the core of his football work. And the column series "Football Education Should Start from Blind Playing", pushed by him in the ECO krypton body, has become one of the most constructive articles in the analysis of the chronic problems of Chinese football in recent years.
Therefore, on the eve of the final match of the Super League in the late winter of 2019, we were fortunate enough to meet Director Zhang himself in a cafe next to the Workers’ Stadium and had a good chat with him about the past, present and future of Chinese football.
To get the pulse of Chinese football, the first thing that needs to be done may be to think: What are we doing football for?
"Don't forget why you started because you went too far."
"Why are we playing football?"
Zhang Lu: What are we doing football for? No one has asked this question for a long time. Everyone might as well think about it. Including our fans, our football association, our football department, right? Have you ever thought about what is going on in football?
When we talk about this question now, whether it is the fans or the department, (the answer) must be the World Cup qualifying. Won the Chinese Super League, scored in the AFC Champions League, cultivated stars, right? Stars have high incomes, right? (Accompanied by) fake gambling black and so on, just these things.
But are these things the fundamental goal of football? Is it the purpose of football? No one thought about it for a long time.
So, I recently checked the FIFA regulations. How do you define the goals of football? Very simple, (translated) is just a few lines of Chinese characters: "Unity, education, culture, and humanitarianism." This is the goal of football, the positioning of FIFA (for football).
So, the Chinese Football Association's constitution (for this) also has a position. It is to "enhance the people's physique; satisfy the cultural life of the masses; improve the level of football sports; improve the level of social spiritual civilization." Among them, improving the level of football is only one of them. What are the other three emphasized? It is the education of people and the improvement of people's overall quality. Therefore, these things are the essence of football and the main task.
"How does Chinese football go wrong"
Zhang Lu: When the leader met with FIFA President Infantino for 17 years, he said: We play football not only to improve the level of competition, but to improve the patriotism, collectivism and tenacious fighting spirit of the people. Put it on the education of people. However, we are now engaged in football, how many people are concerned about the education of people? Everyone's eyes are on the World Cup (such events). If you lose, you will complain, and if you win, you will forget about it. Going wrong, our football goes wrong, Chinese football will have such a bleak situation today.
Why do you say that? That is, when we are engaged in football, we have not paid attention to the problem of popularization, the problem of serving the general public (soccer), and the problem of involving the general public (soccer).
No one pays attention to these issues. We just caught a few top players. We will give him a high salary and let him play. How can you have a solid foundation in Chinese football? Without a deep foundation, how can one finally reach a high level? So this is the biggest problem of Chinese football. I think this is the essence of the problem. We footballers have not thought about it seriously.
"Everyone is picking fruit, who is planting fruit?"
Zhang Lu: Another consideration is the relationship between "popularization and improvement."
Everyone is trying to improve, who will do it? Let's make an analogy, saying that everyone is waiting to pick the fruit, who will grow the fruit?
The World Cup, the national team, this is a revolving restaurant on the top floor of a skyscraper. We all want to build the revolving restaurant to be extremely luxurious and brightly lit, but who will be the foundation of this building? No one will lay the foundation. You revolving restaurant, can you stay in with a bamboo pole? This is the biggest problem of Chinese football. The level of football can only be improved if the foundation is laid and there is widespread popularity. The problem with Chinese football is precisely this place.
"10,000 people and 100,000 people"
Zhang Lu: From 2000 to 2014, these 15 years have been a huge trough in Chinese football.
How deep is this trough? In 15 years, the average number of primary and middle school students who played football every year was 10,000 in China. Some people even say that there are less than 10,000, maybe only 5,000.
So, how many people are our "rivals"? Japanese elementary and middle school students play football all the year round, not to say that they generally play but receive training. There will be no less than 600,000 people. There are 100,000 students participating in the Japanese high school league (every year).
There are 100,000 students who can participate in official games, and we only have 10,000 people playing football. Someone said that you can't even play in Thailand or Vietnam. Someone in Thailand once told me that Thailand has 1 million primary and middle school students playing football all the year round. I asked Thai people and he said that there are not so many, but two to three million. Yes, Vietnam will probably not be less than 100,000. Now we are 10,000 compared with others, how can you play?
"Excellent athletes are "selected""
Zhang Lu: Some people say that the soldiers don’t rely on their excellence. We train hard. We train from one to the next. We train scientifically. We hire high-level foreign teachers...Can we improve?
That's not the case.
Because what does sports depend on to reach the highest level? It depends on the talent of the athlete. Everyone is training hard, and some people may practice harder than you. In the end, why did he come out? He didn't come out. In the end, it was determined by talent.
Football players demand all kinds of talents. Some people say that middle- and long-distance running depends on physical strength, so you don't need to rely on talent, just fight, just practice hard. wrong! Long-distance running also requires talent. What determines the ability of these sports? Rely on testosterone-the hormone level of male hormones.
This thing is born, this ordinary person, like our yellow race, 300 (ng/DL) 500 (ng/DL) is almost the same. But for high-level athletes, 1000 (ng/DL) or even some can reach 2000 (ng/DL), he is born he can run. If the same training, he can definitely run more than the 300 (ng/DL) 500 (ng/DL), this is all talent.
这个东西是天生的，这个普通人，就像我们的黄种人一样，300（ng / DL）500（ng / DL）差不多。但是对于高水平的运动员来说，他是天生的，可以跑1000（ng / DL）甚至有些可以达到2000（ng / DL）。如果进行相同的训练，他肯定可以跑出超过300（ng / DL）500（ng / DL）的水平，这就是所有的天赋。
What's more, football has other (requirements). Your technical ability, your football intelligence, and your psychological quality, etc., but the factors that determine these are also talents.
I once asked an American sports psychologist, how much of a person's psychological quality comes from talent? He said that more than 70% are genetic. Then our football includes other sports. The first thing you have to popularize is to cover as large a crowd as possible. Only the most talented people scattered among these crowds can he show his talent. Only if he participates in this activity can he finally (let) you know that this is a talent, and you can select him again and train again. This is a conclusion in the theory of sports training.
The emergence of outstanding athletes, the first thing is to select talents. To find talent, select him, and then training.
To put it more simply, excellent athletes are "selected", not trained.
But how to choose? First, popularize. There are 1.4 billion people in China. There must be many outstanding talents, but they are scattered in various places. Maybe there is one hidden in any ravine, right? If you don't popularize and you can't cover him, his talents won't show up, and he may never know that he can play football. So what we are doing now is to popularize
"Let football take root: popularize the joy of football"
Zhang Lu: This "rooted" has two meanings. The first meaning is what we just said, the essence of football is to let the broad masses of people enjoy the health and happiness it brings.
Those who can't play professional teams, those who play national teams, they are the majority. However, they also have the right to play football. They also need to participate in football activities, because football will bring them a healthy and happy lifestyle. Now that there are so many people playing amateur football, you ask him can you still play a professional team? It's impossible. Then ask why do you want to play football?
It's simple, he likes it.
He likes and enjoys this process and he has experienced the benefits of football. This is the first effect of (rooted) popularization.
"Let football take root: discover more Wu Lei"
Zhang Lu: The second function of (rooted) is that we are doing the most basic work to discover outstanding athletes. Only when it is popularized in a large area can these outstanding athletes be discovered.
How many top Asian athletes are there in the current Chinese national team? I have asked all the experts and said, Wu Lei can barely count as one. Zheng Zhi used to be top-notch in Asia and everyone recognized it. Wu Lei barely counts as one now.
However, Wu Lei and his generation were born out of "10,000 people" more than ten years ago. In terms of probability, there will be an Asian first-rate out of 10,000 people. If we have 600,000 people, (there will be) 60 Asian first-rate players, what can the national team worry about? Therefore, only a large-scale popularization can promote the improvement of football level.
"Football is only a performance theory, it is destined to be short-lived"
Zhang Lu: We didn't do (football) popularization in the past, but we have been doing it. I have been playing football in Beijing since 1981. The purpose is to popularize, but our method is wrong, our understanding of football is wrong.
Our original understanding is what I just criticized: "We just want to cultivate outstanding athletes." We have promoted football since elementary school. Our goal is to cultivate outstanding athletes, improve their sports, and win glory for the country in the future, right?
But because of this, we always focus on improving and selecting athletes as the core. What result does this lead to? "Early specialization", let this child practice football to become an athlete in the future, the child does not need to study, do nothing else, just play football all day, but how many really become talents in the end? Not many. A school team comes out and one is incredible.
But what about the other children? The ball was not kicked out, and the study was wasteful. After a long time, parents will not let their children play football. This is the contradiction in learning and training caused by the early "specialization". Parents do not support, schools do not support, teachers do not support. It is difficult to reverse it.
You said that it is difficult to promote popularization now, and where is the difficulty, first of all is the concept.
Most people's ideas still stay on this. Where do you go to play football, the leaders are also very concerned. The leader came and asked, how is our school football going? Say, well done. I asked again, which number do we have? What's the result? First of all, this is all.
However, if you engage in football for your performance, you will inevitably move towards "early specialization." The grade-only theory creates a lot of contradictions in learning and training, and finally causes unanimous opposition from parents and teachers.
"One team, two teams, two games a week, playing in small fields, healthy and happy."
Zhang Lu: We are now engaged in the popularization of campus football, which has changed the way. We learn the lessons of the past and let the children "play freely."
The "small game, big dream" we have done in the past two years in China He Guoan is to let children play freely. But this (form) was not created by us. This is what the "FIFA Grassroots Football Project" promotes-children aged 6-12 play football, what form is it, it is a small field game, four-on-four or five-on-five The game is a free game. Don’t let the coach or teacher control him or tell him what to do, just let the kids play freely. We’re doing this now. In this way, children can easily like football.
Zhang Lu participates in children's football activities
There is a slogan called "Simply and easily, share the happy time on the football field." Simple, easy, sharing, happy. When a child likes football, he will voluntarily and actively participate in football activities, and obtain physical and mental health and happiness. Our basic goal of developing campus football has been achieved.
At the same time, our approach to popularizing football has also changed. Don’t play for too long. You can play twice a week, once for 40 minutes. This will not affect your study or children’s participation in other extracurricular activities. Parents are also very supportive.
Our slogan is "One team, two teams, two games a week, small games, healthy and happy."
The so-called "two teams in one class" means two small teams in one class. I don't require all members to participate. Half the boys and individual girls will do. Two teams are formed. In the school's class competition, no points are counted, and there is no pressure on the children, just to play; "Two matches a week" means two matches a week, once for 40 minutes.
There is also a crucial "small field blind kick", small field competition. If the school does not have enough campus football venues, it will be difficult for the National Development and Reform Commission to allocate funds, requisition land, and demolish. So one of our innovations is to enclose (fields) one by one with an activity fence. A basketball court can circle three small fields. This kind of small venue, children are five to five or even six to six, no problem.
Why do you want to make a "small field"?
For example, in some schools in Beijing, the grounds are very large and empty. Children play on top, kicking far away, chasing the ball for a long time. Others just waited there, (slowly) they don't like kicking. In some places, the school grounds are very small, just a basketball court, but we can play with a fence around it. A dozen or twenty venues have been enclosed by the large venue. One hundred and two hundred children can play at the same time. This will solve the venue problem.
There is also the question of teachers. Our request is: no teacher. The teacher problem is solved.
Our children are particularly interested in this project, especially like it. In many places, it is said that one class and two teams are not acceptable, and the whole class must participate. You can't let anyone participate. It is very happy. And it's very simple. To be honest, there is nothing simpler than this. Enclose a field, throw a ball, and the kids from the two teams can kick it and it's over.
In addition, the amount of exercise (the children) has also increased. This small venue is surrounded by non-stop competitions, children can always kick the ball, the amount of exercise is high, and it is not easy to get hurt.
"As long as someone kicks, everything can be solved."
Zhang Lu: We have been working on this project for a year. From September 1st in 2018 to July 18th in 2019, for the whole school year, 37,000 children played 100,000 matches (cumulative). 1.3 million people participated, this figure is quite amazing.
Moreover, there were 1.3 million person-times, there was not a single injury that needed to be treated in the hospital, and the small venue did not run and bump too violently, so it was not easy to suffer serious injuries. Therefore, through such an event, we can be regarded as truly popularized, allowing students to participate in football and enjoy the happiness brought by football. At the same time, we have solved all the problems that plague campus football: venues, teachers, student enthusiasm, injuries Illness, insufficient exercise, contradiction in learning and training...all resolved.
So, what is the final effect? The effect is that the health of these children has improved, their psychological quality has improved, and
Among our 37,000 children, there will be 10% of children, that is, 3,700. He will participate in amateur training, which is equivalent to an increase in our football reserve by 3,700. Hundreds of students. With these 3,700 students, one student in Beijing now charges about 6,000 yuan a year, which means that we have created a market of more than 22 million yuan.
So, who will share this market? Just shared by those amateur clubs and coaches who engage in amateur training, they can enjoy this result.
So, as long as someone kicks, any problem can be solved. The key is that the concept must change.
In fact, the most difficult thing is to change this concept. For so many years, we have been adhering to the concept of "improvement". This is not to blame others, because it started with us.
However, we realized that the method was wrong, and now we have to reverse the situation.
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Editor of this article: Yin Haonan
editor of this article: yin ha o男