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Tacalabala

Mottoes, sketches and notes from the secret notebooks of the famous soccer coach Helenio Herrera.
Herrera, who achieved mythical status in his field for the success of his teams (which included the national teams of France, Spain, and Italy), was a practical visionary who discovered and used techniques previously unknown in sports for motivating his players and inspiring them to win.
Tacalabala - Cover Tacalabala - 1 Tacalabala - 2
The title of the book, "Tacalabala," comes from one of Herrera's first exclamations to the team after becoming head coach for the Italian team Inter FC of Milan. What he actually meant to say was "Keep your foot on the ball," which he believed was called "bala" in Italian. Actually the soccer ball is "palla" in Italian but several of the players were from the Veneto area and called it "bala" in their dialect. "taca" was intended to mean "Stick to the ball (and don't mess around with acrobatics)" He also liked the fact that it was alliterative, and seemed to have a touch of magic like "abracadabra".

St. Ignatius of Loyola was one of Herrera's principal inspirations. Perhaps his favourite and most significant exhortation is: "Things are only as important as you make them." Adhering to this principle with near-fanaticism, his philosophy allowed him to cope with defeat and disappointment as well as victory and success. He was always capable of turning failure into a positive experience.

Originally from Argentina HH often spoke a mixture of Spanish, French, English, and Italian and his speech was pungent and idiosyncratic, frequently combining several languages. The following are just a small sample of his mottoes.

Published by Supernova Editore, Profili Veneziani del 900, Venezia 2003

¡Con diez se gana mejor!

"It's easier to win with ten (players)!" HH often said this when one of the 11 members of the team was expelled from the game.


¿Por que' non puedes ser er mejor?

"Why can't you be the best?" This sign appeared on the wall of the locker room of Seville's team.


Evita la monotonia, nei discorsi, negli allenamenti, nell'alimentazione

Avoid monotony in speeches, training, and meals.


Intelligenza e piacere del lavoro: ecco il segreto del successo

Intelligence and taking pleasure in your work: that's the secret of success.


Tutto girerà sempre nella maniera giusta

Everything will work out the way it should.


Il peggio è sbagliare con le idee degli altri

The worst thing is to make a mistake with someone else's ideas.


Lo stile è nella limitazione

Style is in limitation.


Silenzio è potere

Silence is power.

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