One is the player and coach of AS Gérardmer and the other is SA Spinalien. Over the course of several seasons, Jérôme Jan and François Mérel have developed the habit of taking on these two tasks, which are particularly time-consuming. The peculiarities of this dual role were discussed by two Vosges technicians, who were always at the center of the game.
What brought you into the player-coach position?
Jerome Jane “I’ve been training for fifteen years now. At Gérardmer we are a small club and you need a coaching diploma to practice at this level. We don’t have many options. »
Francois Merrell “I came to Epinal as a player, but after two or three years, I became player-manager. It was the logical next step because I had been coaching the reserves for a while. It helped everyone. . »
Can you take a step back from this dual role?
without saying a word “That’s the hardest part. It’s not easy to have an opinion on the collective performance when you’re in the field. When you’re giving directions, and at the same time, when you’re not doing the work yourself…you have to be doubly legal. »
FM “I’ve been in this role for a long time now, and it’s easy, but it’s not easy. You have to be able to perform well on the field and off the bench. I’m lucky to have experienced players who understand the role. As a free agent, in Back row position, we’ll see if our players are in a good position. This position helps to combine the two roles. »
Playing and training must consume a lot of energy?
without saying a word “Yes, you can’t be everywhere all the time. In Gérardmer we don’t have a lot of young people and I ask for autonomy and rigor in training in order for the team to turn. I ask a lot of Mathieu Dieudonné to prepare the course in order to be better to become a player. I handed him the reins when he was injured. »
FM : “You have to try to split the two tasks in the game, focus as a player and provide solutions when necessary. My players are also able to recall certain instructions, take them from me. Sometimes I tell my players , I really need to focus on the game, they’ll take over a little bit. It’s a character I really like. »
Have you ever been questioned by your players?
without saying a word “They have to be able to ask me questions about certain failures, and I can take some responsibility for that. Like all teams that lose, we ask ourselves questions at the management level. The team lost this year, and the questions came naturally. . »
FM “No, not necessarily, but we can discuss. I think players have always known that this is not an easy character. I told them I could be wrong, like they were. From the moment they knew it was going, it was going Good luck. I’m lucky to be surrounded by players who are smart enough with volleyball IQs to understand all of this.»
Have you ever thought about giving up a task or two?
without saying a word “Yes, every year!” If I keep racing, it’s because Théo Durand is gone. I was actually just a coach before he went to CNVB (National Volleyball Center). Then I took over after he left because the adventure was fun and we didn’t necessarily have a profile at the club that matched the position. Quitting smoking is a question I ask myself every year, and you should never consider yourself essential. »
FM “Every year, I tell myself it’s my last year as a player, but I’m happy on the pitch. It’s hard to hang up, but if I really can’t do both at the same time, I’m not worried I’m out of the field, but I’m feeling good at the moment. I won’t think about it too much during the season, but as usual, there will be reflections at the end of the season. »