Managers -are you feeling the stress? It doesn't have to be that way.

Article written on behalf of football agents and sports lawyers

If you're involved in football management, I'll assume you've completed some kind of qualification and/or have some playing experience.  You have a passion and figured the next logical step is management.  When you're put in a managers position or choose to take up a managers role, expectations can often be out of line with reality and when this happens, stress is just round the corneBut stress is part of the game right?  Well, no is the straight forward answer. Stress brings on heart problems, high blood pressure, illness, fatigue and broken relationships, all of which will bring you down as a human and a manager.  When your health is suffering, it doesn't matter how great a manager you are, you won't be doing a good job and you'll probably end up in a bad place.

I believe Martin Ling, former manager at a lower level club left after 56 days because he couldn't handle the pressure.  In a way he made the right choice because he realised his health was suffering and made a choice to walk away.  What if he could find a way of looking at the role from a calmer perspective and a more productive manner? Would he be tempted to come back?

Many people overlook a very important aspect of the role. That oversight happens when managers put more emphasis and focus on results and processes rather than growing people which can raise stress levels when expectations aren't being met.

Let's look at a striker.  The manager has an expectation of them to score goals.  The owner has spent money on this player and expects results.  So what happens when he stops scoring goals?  Clubs will look to offload the player before their value goes down too much but often they will make a loss when the player stops producing.  Or they hope they find their form by implementing extra training.  I'm aware the majority of clubs operate in the red. Perhaps if there was a consistent way to retain or grow the value and worth in players, more teams would operate in profit?

So what other options are there?

Football at the highest level is a business and when results aren't forthcoming, blame is dished out.  A simple mental shift in perspective can alleviate the stress and frustration which will lead to a change in behaviour and will retain the value of a player whilst also finding the lost form.

The secret to this success is learning how to understand your players are thriving and are able to express themselves in a way that is best suited to them.

A rigid expectation doesn't work, a "one size fits all" approach to managing players doesn't work. Allowing a time for feedback, actively listening and different practices will allow players to find a flow where they are in synch and results take care of themselves.  It takes an open mind to discover such strategies but once they have been learnt, a whole new world opens up that feels calmer and more productive.

If you, as a manager or player want to know how to find your flow and remove stress, or simply just want to know more please get in touch. I'm actively seeking an open minded manager/team who wants to make a change for the better. Perhaps you're in a relegation position and understand how the financial loss from being relegated will affect all involved?

This article was written for football agents by Michael Nichols, Mindfulness Performance Elite Coach (Director at Mindfulness Performance)


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