Football Coaches - Be a Part of the Process, Not the Outcome

“People never want to be a part of the process, but they want to be part of the outcome. The process is where you figure out who’s worth being a part of the outcome.”

Photographs are snapshots that capture a moment in time. They etch pictures into our memory for us to never forget. They help us remember legendary scenes of heroic football captains raising coveted trophies high in the air after a hard fought league or tournament; Iker Casillas raising the World Cup against all odds, Cristiano Ronaldo lifting the ungraspable Euro Trophy, Claudio Ranieri defying all expectations to lift the majestic Premier League Trophy. We remember these moments. They are the results that give meaning to all of the hard work put in over the course of lifetimes to culminate into one moment captured forever in time. But would these snapshots be relevant if there was no journey?

In this modern era of instant gratification, results have become the be all end all measurement of success. Even more saddening is when this is seen at the youth level, where development and growth should be of the highest priority. We have forgotten the journey that we must embark on in order to reach that success. This is “where you figure out who’s worth being a part of the outcome.”

As managers, and more importantly youth coaches, we mustn’t get caught up in the hype of wins and losses. They are inefficient ways of measuring success and only skew the perception of growth at the individual and team level. In addition, there are so many facets of the game that are out of our control that it would be foolish to measure our success on results alone.

As Carlo Ancelotti  said in an interview with ESPN FC, “But this is an unpredictable sport; it’s a low-scoring sport where individual episodes have outsized influence. And a manager can’t really control that. There are good managers and there are bad ones, sure, but nobody can control outcomes.” He understands that when a manager embarks on the task of improving his team’s performance, he must see the bigger picture. He has to set benchmarks and objectives which match results cannot affect and are completely controllable by the team.

In order to see the bigger picture, it is absolutely fundamental to establish a road map which will guide you along the way to your team’s desired success. This road map must establish the starting point (your team’s strengths, weaknesses, style etc.), the path (your coaching style and methodology), and the destination (your team’s desired strengths and style). As you can see, it’s important to analyze your team in great detail upon starting your work, as well as implementing effective evaluation tools to assess your team’s progress with attainable and measureable objectives. This is the process which world class managers talk about when they are asked about a bad result. They know their road map, and consequently are not bothered by undesirable results.

As we all know, every player, manager, and team is different, therefore it’s impossible for me to tell you how you should create your road map. However, I would advise you to scrutinize yourself as a coach; analyze your style and methods as much as you can so you will never come to doubt yourself once you have embarked on your coaching endeavor. As a coach, you must be the light along the shore for your players as they undertake the task of navigating through the uncertainty of a long season. Your self-confidence will transmit belief to your team, and ultimately that is the first step along the path to success.

Without the process, results are insignificant and meaningless. That being said, I implore you to look beyond the goals conceded and the goals scored, look beyond the wins and the losses, look beyond the bad referee, look beyond the outcome. Once you are no longer blinded by results, you will see that the journey you and your players take is where the memorable snapshot really is. Next time you see a photograph of the captain of a team lifting a trophy, try to imagine the voyage he and his teammates have had and how they must have enjoyed it.     

Posted in Football / Soccer, Coaching

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