Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, manager of Cardiff City should talk with Olympic and World gold medalist Mo Farah. A conversation will help the young manager get better. Below is an interview of Ole after a defeat at the weekend, despite his Cardiff team playing very well against Spurs. In his interview he talks about how the ‘fine margins’ have been going against his team. Yes Ole, sport is about fine margins. Here is what football can learn from the ‘fine margins according to Mo’.
A decade ago when Mo Farah was a young, promising long distance runner he decided to do some training with the Kenyan runners. What better way to learn from the best he thought – join them! But he didn’t just learn. As a consequence of spending just a little time with them, he changed his whole way of life. His whole existence!
The Kenyan runners have a motto: “Work Hard, Win Easy”. They leave no stone left unturned to be the very best they can be. The time Mo Farah spent with them showed him what excellence really meant. Get up, run, eat, run, eat, run, rest, bed. Over-training? Perhaps! Countless champions produced from such a regime? Tick!
From this early experience Mo decided to change his programme. He worked harder. A lot harder! And he incorporated sport science into his training structure, perhaps more so than the Kenyans did (and do!) These new set of processes enabled Mo to improve his times. Not massively – a second here or a second there – but enough to help him win gold medal after gold medal.
And this is the lesson for any coach or any player. Sport is about fine margins. But to achieve those margins takes an enormous amount of work, an enormous amount of self-awareness (to know what needs to improve in the first place) and an enormous amount of self-discipline (to engage in the things you know will only make a very small difference.) Changing fine margins requires big shifts in thinking and behaviour.
As a sport psychologist I know my work makes a very small difference to my clients. But that very small difference can lead to big improvements in performance. It can lead to completely new, spectacular outcomes.
So whether you’re a coach or a player, ignore any development or performance factor at your peril – if you fail to leave no stone left unturned, you’ll fail to learn how good you can really be. If you’re keen to find those 1%’s and small inches here’s a couple of questions you can ask yourself:
The coach: If we had performed better what would it have looked like? What processes do I need to put in place to help my team achieve this? What strengths do I need to reinforce daily? What weaknesses do we need to improve?
The player: If I had performed better what would it have looked like? What processes do I need to put in place to help me achieve this? What strengths do I need to magnify everyday? What weaknesses do I need to improve?
For player and coach: Is there any team or player out there who is doing this differently? If so, in what way? Is it better than what we are doing/I am doing?
Great questions help you leverage, help you exploit, help you build, help you improve, help you develop…..help you win!
Clip taken from YouTube and can be found on the BBC website here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26410667