I’ve been reading Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography and wanted to shed light on this book. But before I begin, much has already been written about this book and the wave of interest has gone by for many. However, a great deal can be learned from this man who won so much over his career and managed some of the biggest personalities in world football.
A famous sports psychologist beautifully illustrated the physiology of what happens when we are under pressure. Place a 12 foot long 2 X 8 piece of wood on the ground, and ask one of your players to run across it. What happens? That player doesn’t even think twice. He or she says, “No problem,” and runs across the board with ease and enjoyment. Now take this same 2 X 8 and raise it 8 feet by stretching it across two ladders and ask that same player to run across. What happens?
Cico Kranjčar is a gentleman’s football manager. After an injury to one of the players on the opposing team, the ball was kicked out to allow the player to be tended to. Kranjcar’s visiting team gave the ball back to the keeper of the home side in a fair play gesture, but for some reason one of the forwards of his team (yellow jersey) took the ball and tried to score. A penalty was awarded after the keeper had to the bring the player down. Kranjčar then ordered his player to not attempt to score and return the ball to the keeper for an unsportsmanlike and undeserved penalty.
In many of our blogs on Goalden, we’ve talked about the lack of a system in North America to develop players that have the calibre required to play at any level in the world. When someone tells me something isn’t good, I like to ask: ‘ok, well compared to what?’ In this particular situation, I am talking about the North American soccer system compared to the European soccer system which, without a doubt, is the best in the world. But what if we’re asking the wrong question? What if we’re comparing it to the wrong system? What if we have the wrong goals? Suddenly, things change…
Canadian author Declan Hill wrote in the Ottawa Citizen regarding the heavily publicized boxing match between Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau which raised money for cancer research. Hill touches on a number of subjects that we see in professional sport and compares the behavior of boxers and soccer players.
“What a lesson for these young people, that if you share, you give up some of yourself for everyone around you, if you care more about your teammates than yourself, it’s amazing what you can accomplish,” Kentucky coach John Calipari after winning the 2012 NCAA national championship.
I recently read an interview with Anson Dorrance, famous University of North Carolina women’s soccer coach. In his interview, he talked about the importance of the psychological aspect of soccer – more specifically, core values that help create a positive psychology.
A good team captain is just as important has having a good coach. A captains responsibilities stretch far beyond the role of a field general; he/she assume the role of motivator, authority, friend, enemy, guard, idol and warrior. A captain is responsible – more than anyone else on the field – for the teams successes and failures. It is for this reason that one of the most important decisions a coach will make is who will assume the captains armband.