Football Manager, Life, Thoughts, Philosophy

Bill Shankly Management

The great football manager, Bill Shankly of Liverpool, used a good technique to manage his players’ consistency. When a team is trying to win the league championship, they have to play a lot of games, and there is pressure. You can be at the top, and then start worrying about how many more games you have to win. Knowing how many points you need to get can cause you to stress about the scale of what you have to do.

So to stop his young players looking ahead at these big challenges and getting nervous- those nerves can mean the difference between putting the ball into the net and missing- to keep them on form, he emphasised something. He got them to focus on only the next game, just about winning that.

This is a simple solution to anxiety about big goals and it works. It works better than saying ‘don’t worry it’ll be fine’. It works better because ‘don’t worry’ gives you nothing to focus on, and your mind wanders back to the anxiety. So Shankly was cleverly giving the players something to focus on, something to fire their competitive spirit, – winning the next match.

And that is how a league is won, one match at a time. Interesting though how this technique works in a lot of life, breaking down big goals into small achievable ones, and celebrating each successful step.

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