So you’ve just been appointed to a club in the Championship. Congratulations! Your playing career has been long and distinguished hasn’t it. Some international caps. Hundreds of league games. But now is the time to step out of your playing role and into a completely different world. This is what you must consider. This is what you must do.

Put your Coaching Culture First

Do what Stuart Lancaster is doing for England Rugby. After all, he’s turned things around hasn’t he. He’s put his coaching culture first. He’s put what he and his coaching staff ‘say and do’ first. Because that is what culture is – it’s what you say and what you do. And that sets up club relationships, club behaviour and subsequent performance.

You see Mr. Manager – managing is so much about how you make players feel. That is what paying attention to football psychology can do for you. It can help your players to feel. That is what paying attention to your coaching culture can do. It can help your players to feel. This is how you want them to feel:

Help them Feel Understood and Important

Get to know your players Mr. Manager. Get to know their needs, wants, doubts, hopes, expectations, personalities, fears, worries and dreams. That kaleidoscope of personal functioning is what makes your job so challenging, so complex!

Get to know them and use this information to help you build a relationship with each of them. In many respects they are your family – they are your professional blood.

When you embark on this process you start to help them feel understood. This will help them feel important. Both are linked to loyalty. If you help them feel understood, if you help them feel important they’ll work for you. They’ll play for you. They’ll come with you on your journey towards excellence. All this from a little football psychology.

Help them Feel Certainty and Competitive

Give your players certainty. Let them know what role they will be playing within your squad. Will they be a team member or a squad member – it’s fine to let them know straight away. That kind of certainty helps build a platform for trust, for development.

Give them tactical certainty. Wishy-washy is the enemy of excellence. Wishy-washy is the enemy of positive result. Repeat and reinforce how you want your team to shape and to play. Drill and drill and drill until they’ve got it. Disguise your pattern and shape play within inventive games if you must, but make sure they get it! Make sure they know!

Help them Feel Better and Great

Sell them your coaching. Give them a vision of the kind of player they can become and blow their minds by introducing them to practice protocols that enhance their play. Help them become better and they’ll love you for it.

Praise them. Help them feel great. No need for over-blown statements or over the top actions. But tell them when they’ve done something good. Tell them what you like about them. Find things to complement them on. Not enough people experience complements. Give them the inner luxury that results from powerful words.

Mr. Manager

Mr. Manager help your players to feel. That is how you keep your job in this day and age of hiring and firing. Help your players to feel. That is how you win games, win promotion, win cups and win Championships. Help your players to feel. Help them to feel by building your football psychology culture. Help them to feel!