What can we learn from successful football coaches

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Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancellotti. They are all successful football coaches who have won a bagful of titles wherever they have managed. Here are what we can learn a thing or two based on their success.


1) Have a Clear Goal

As leaders, we must have a clear goal in mind and know exactly what we want to achieve. Without setting a clear goal, it is like driving at night without any lights. It’s directionless. Alex Ferguson prided himself on setting clear direction for his team mentally and tactically, resulted in win rate of 65%, the highest in Premier League during his tenure.

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2) Trust your Players

Football coaches can prepare all they want on the training ground, but once the players step out on the pitch, they have very little control on the result. They have to trust their players to execute the game plan accordingly. Similarly at the workplace, managers must trust their team to execute the strategy and not interfere by micromanaging.

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3) Balance between Fun and Serious

It’s common that during training sessions, coaches inject some fun into the sessions to help the team bond and to release some of the pre-match stress However, once the match starts, that’s where the focus and seriousness kicks in. In life, we must know when to have fun and when to put our game face on!

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4) Celebrate the Moment

Whether it’s a goal scored in a match, winning a match, or winning a competition, coaches always practice the habits of celebrating the moment. Who can forget Jose Mourinho’s enthusiastic celebration and Alex Ferguson’s child-like celebration even at the twilight of his age. The next time you managed to stop yourself from eating that extra bar of chocolate, consider it a success and celebrate the moment!

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5) Encourage the Players

Everyone has an off-day. A day when nothing seems to go your way and everything you do has the opposite effect. Successful coaches know this and continue to encourage their players. After all, form is temporary, but class is permanent. The next time someone in your team looks demotivated, continue to encourage them and be prepared to reap the rewards.

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6) Have an Eye for Talent

Successful football coaches promote talent from within by looking at their youth team and hand-pick the high performing stars to start for the senior team. Alex Ferguson probably founded this by introducing the “Class of ‘92” who were mainly youths who went on to contribute to the club’s success for years. The next time an intern comes your way, he or she might just be your next “Class of ‘92” story!

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7) It’s a Team Sport

All successful coaches have a great support team made up of medical staff, nutritionist, sporting directors, etc. All of them play a key role to the overall success of the team. The next time you enjoy success or win something, remember your support team who contributed to that!

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8) Plan B

Your favourite football team is losing. The manager makes formation changes and throws on a couple of substitutes. At the end, the team wins. This is a classic case of the manager executing Plan B as Plan A was failing. In life, remember your Plan B and if Plan B doesn’t work, remember, there is another 24 alphabets to create new plans.

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9) Anticipate Challenges

Football coaches can train with the perfect formation and relying on their star players. But injuries can strike at any time. That’s where coaches must suddenly modify their plans. Even in our personal life, we must anticipate challenges and be prepared to change from there.

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10) Great Communicators

Football coaches must be great communicators. They must communicate to their players who come from various countries and speak various languages. Football coaches must also speak to the media after the game. They must constantly tweak their communication style to ensure their message is delivered across accurately. In the workplace, remember this point and to tweak your communication style based on the audience.

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There you have it!

Now, you have an excuse or two to continue watching your favorite team play and learn at the same time!


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Tarminder Singh
Tarminder is a fitness enthusiast and believes that one can achieve anything in life with great passion and character. A Subang boy with a dream that his boyhood club Liverpool can win the Premier League within his lifetime.