Who is more important? – Leaders or Managers?

Friday, 6 July 2017

Introduction

When general audience are talking about leaders and managers often they use that words synonymously (Ratcliffe, 2013). After analysing the skills of those two roles from different sources, I can finally highlight the diversity between leadership and management and give a clear answer that who is more important in the sport organizations.

Manager vs Leaders

By definition, managers is a trustworthy in working with the assets of the organization. They are dedicated to the organizational success and they emphasizes rationality and control. They are analytical and recognize patterns. Their management style is transactional, they have subordinates and their power is a formal authority. Managers are subordinate too. They are problem solver and risk-averse and they will try to avoid conflict where possible. (Zotos, 2008) (Changingminds.org, 2002) (Zaleznik 2004).

Billy Beane (kitmanlabs.com)Billy Beane (kitmanlabs.com)

A great manager is Billy Beane portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball. He decided to minimize the expenditure and save money to the organization. He was using a scientific approach to evaluate potential and capabilities of the players with the support of statistical analysis; small teams can compete with the big clubs by buying assets that are undervalued by other teams and selling ones that are overvalued by other organizations. Those are merely managerial decisions.

By definition leaders demonstrate integrity and exercise self-denial for the good of the organization. They are dedicated to the well-being of all stakeholders and completely service oriented. They have a transformational style, they develop new approaches to problems and create issues to new opportunity. Leaders even if they are working for the organizations they never belong to them. Their sense of who they are does not depend on position in the work place as indicator of their identity. Leaders have the ability to engage and attract followers with their charismatic style and it does not require a loud personality. They are good with people but in order to keep the leadership, they often retain a degree of separation and aloofness. Their quiet styles that giving credit to others are very effective at creating the loyalty that great leaders engender. (Zotos, 2008) (Haslam and Reicher, 2016) (Zaleznik 2004) (Changingminds.org, 2002).

Carlo Ancelotti (Getty Photo)

Carlo Ancelotti one of the most successful football manager is an expert practitioner in leading talented players and he is the best person to explain the quiet approach to leadership. It is might sound soft and weak but Mr. Ancelotti is highlighting that the quiet leadership is a strength. There is authority being calm and measured, in building trust and making decision in a composed manner, in using influence and encouragement and in being professional in the approach. The power should be implicit, their authority must result from respect and trust than fear. (Ancelotti, Brady, Forde, 2016). Leaders are risk-seeking when they pursuing their vision, they are comfortable with problems and will see ways that others avoid as potential opportunities. (Changingminds.org, 2002).

Ranieri in the light put Mourinho in the shade (Skysport 2016)

The antagonism between Jose Mourinho vs Claudio Ranieri can explain better what leadership means. Mr. Mourinho is the ‘Special One’, Mr. Ranieri is ‘the One who makes Leicester City Special’. Mourinho’s failure follow a path from ‘WE’ to ‘I’. It is a route that lost the support from his followers both players, supporters and the owner. In total contrast Ranieri follow the course from ‘I’ to ‘We’. Claudio by the time arrived at the Foxes had learned the hard way to become a leader from his previous managerial failures. His redemption born when he understand that no longer was his coaching a subject matter of imposing his personal views on the team; rather it was a matter of helping the team discover their collective will (Haslam and Reicher, 2016): ‘When I spoke with the players I realized that they were afraid of the Italian tactics… So I told the players that I trusted them and would speak very little of tactics… They need to be relaxed and not harassed…’ (Percy, 2016). That is one of the reasons that have driven his players to success. It underlies their joint talent to make history (Haslam and Reicher, 2016).

The framework below highlight and give the awareness of differences between being a leader and being a manager.

Subject Leader Manager
Essence Change Stability
Focus Leading people Managing work
Have Followers Subordinates
Horizon Long-term Short-term
Seeks Vision Objectives
Approach Sets direction  Plans detail
Decision Facilitates Makes
Power Personal charisma Formal authority
Appeal to Heart Head
Energy Passion Control
Culture Shapes Enacts
Dynamic Proactive Reactive
Persuasion Sell Tell
Style Transformational Transactional
Exchange Excitement for work Money for work
Likes Striving Action
Wants Achievement Results
Risk Takes Minimizes
Rules Breaks Makes
Conflict Uses Avoids
Direction New roads Existing roads
Truth Seeks Establishes
Concern What is right Being right
Credit Gives Takes
Blame Takes Blames

changingminds.org

Keep in mind that a single person can be a leader and simultaneously a manager too. In many sport organization leaders do have subordinates but only because they are also managers. Also managers can be leaders and tend to have followers too (changingminds.org, 2002). All three football managers I mentioned above they have both roles in their club with some differences. Some is more leader than other but all of them are winners.

Conclusion

We can’t say one role is more important than other. Sport organizations need both managers and leaders to succeed and reach their own goals. They both are playing an integral role in the operation of the sport business (Zeleznik, 2004). If a sport institution is running effectively, managers and leaders will work in tandem (Ratcliffe, 2013). Leadership and management need to be collaborative between them and with the organizations. Sport businesses must have a balance between management and leadership depends on the environment in which they operates. If the situation is not changing and the club is stable, the management is essential but at the time of crisis and organizational transformation, leaders has never be more essential. (Ratcliffe, 2013).

In conclusion we can summarize all above descriptions and informations with the follow religious symbol ‘Yin and Yang’. This image describe perfectly how two different roles as Manager and Leader, can actually be compatible and interdependent in the sport business and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

‘Black-White’=‘Manager-Leader’

(Paul Recchia Photo)
Any sport organization to be a successful must have managers with some leadership skills and leaders with some management skills.

Reference

Ratcliffe, R. (Monday 29 July 2013) What’s the difference between leadership and management? The Guardian. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/careers/difference-between-leadership-management[Accessed: October 3, 2016].

Zotos C. (No Date) Are You A “Manager” or A “Leader”? Sports Management Resources. Available: http://www.sportsmanagementresources.com/library/manager-or-leader[Accessed October 3, 2016].

Zaleznik, A. (2004) Managers and leaders: Are they different? Harvard Business Review82 (1), pp. 74-81.

Oakland Athletics [Billy Beane], [MBL] [Online] Available:http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/oak/team/executive_bio.jsp?loc=beane [Accessed: October 9, 2016].

Moneyball [Moneyball], [IMDb] [Online] Available:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1210166/ [Accessed: October9, 2016].

Lewis, M. D. (2003) Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W. W. Norton.

Grier, K. (2011) The Economics of Moneyball. Grantland. Available:http://grantland.com/features/the-economics-moneyball/ [Accessed: October 9, 2016].

Haslam, S. A. and Reicher, S. D. (2016) Leicester’s lesson in leadership. The Psychologist. Available: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/leicesters-lesson-leadership [Accessed October 3,2016].

Carlo Ancelotti [Carlo Ancelotti], [Online]. Available: http://www.carloancelotti.it/en/[Accessed: October 4, 2016].

Ancelotti, C., Brady, C. and Forde, M. (2016) Quiet Leadership. 1st ed. Milton Keynes UK: Penguin Random House.

Manchecester United [Jose Mourinho], [manutd] [Online] Available: http://www.manutd.com/en/Players-And-Staff/Managers/Jose-Mourinho.aspx[Accessed: October 4, 2016].

Leicester City [Claudio Ranieri], [lcfc] [Online] Available:http://www.lcfc.com/team/coaching_staff/ [Accessed: October 4, 2016].

Football Daily, Mourinho’s legendary moment: ‘I am a Special One’ Available:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pybQAg2YUxY [Accessed: October4, 2017].

Stuart, J. (May 3, 2016) Leicester City’s title triumph: the inside story of an extraordinary season. The Guardian. Available:https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/may/03/leicester-city-title-inside-story-premier-league-champions-claudioranieri [Accessed: October4, 2017].

Percy, J. (2016) Claudio Ranieri reveals the secrets behind Leicester City’s Premier League success. The Telegraph.  Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/leicester-city/12146839/Claudio-Ranieri-reveals-the-secrets-behind-Leicester-Citys-Premier-League-success.html[Accessed October 3, 2016].

Stewart, B., Hoye, R., Smith, A.C.T., Nicholson, M. and Stewart B. (2005) Sport management: principles and applications. 4th Ed. New York: Routledge.

Taylor, P. (2011) Torkildsen’s Sport and Leisure Management. 6th ed. Milton Park: Routledge.

O’Hare, R. (2016) Why Leicester FC’s Claudio Ranieri is a better manager than Jose Mourinho, according to SCIENCE. Daily MailAvailable:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3573268/Why-Leicester-s-Claudio-Ranieri-better-manager-Jose-Mourinho-according-SCIENCE.html [Accessed October 3, 2016].

Cave A. (2016). Lessons From Leicester City: Is Manager Claudio Ranieri A Journeyman Or Genius? Forbes. Available:http://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewcave/2016/05/06/lessons-from-leicester-city-is-manager-claudio-ranieri-a-journeyman-or-genius/#5ca43d145504 [Accessed October 3, 2016].

Bennis W. (1999) The end of leadership: Exemplary leadership is impossible without full inclusion, initiatives and co-operation of followers. Organizational Dynamic. 28, 71-79.

How can the Scottish Football Association create a competitive advantage?

America Saves Scottish Football

Can an American pastime be beneficial to the Scottish Football Association and can create a competitive advantage?  Don’t worry… Donald Trump has nothing to do with this.

The SFA website literally states: “The Scottish FA exists to promote, foster, and develop the game at all levels in this country” (Scottish Football Association, 2016).  They are currently focused on creating a competitive advantage by ‘fostering’ youth ‘development’ by heavily investing resources into the future of Scottish football (PA Sport, 2016).  That leaves one thing the SFA is not currently doing… ‘promoting’.  Hands down the most successfully marketed league in the world is the NFL.  So, what can Scottish football copy from this league and take back home to create a competitive advantage?

An introduction to tailgating…


(SHOWTIME Sports, 2011)

Competitive advantage currently operates on the idea of universality.  While there are many negatives surrounding that idea (especially in the Olympic movement) it is a great concept that the SFA should be looking to make better.  It is beautifully integrated into the culture of tailgating.  Everybody should be able to participate regardless of whether you have tickets to the game.

(Bauer, 2011)

Generally, there are activities set up that allow fan interaction and participation.  Football stadiums have large field goal posts set up for people to practice kicking a ball through, sometimes there are simple combine tests such as the 40-yard dash or vertical jump set up to test people’s athleticism.  Here are some of the basic rules for a successful tailgate party!

“A competitive advantage is an advantage over competitors gained by offering consumers greater value” (Riley, 2016).

(Riley, 2016)

By using a Differentiation Strategy, the SFA will be able to create a competitive advantage and offer customers a unique experience.  Tailgating is something that no other league in Europe currently offers and it has proven successful in other countries around the world.  For further proof the SFA can study the well received tailgating experience outside the NFL in London series.


(Miketinac, 2014)

An NFL goer spends $196 USD per game on tailgating food, drinks, and other supplies (Wolff-Mann, 2015).  There is a huge opportunity to provide these services to fans at the stadium and see them spend money at the game instead of at the pub where it is already expensive.  The value added from a unique experience like tailgating allows for premium prices to be charged (Michail, 2011).  Additional long term benefits for clubs include increased tickets sales and alumni support (Drenten, Peters, Leigh & Hollenbeck, 2009).

(De Bosscher, De Knop, Van Bottenburg & Shibli, 2006 )

We can look at the SPLISS model for direction on how successful sports organizations and countries create a competitive advantage.  The SFA should be focusing its resources and shaping its structure to achieve competitive advantage based on the pillars outlined.

As stated before, Scotland wants to invest heavily in youth player development.  I believe the SFA are to some extent following this model.  Their focus is on youth development which requires better training facilities, coaching development, talent development, talent identification, etc.  The first pillar in De Bosscher et al (2006) graph is ‘Financial Support’.  What tailgating will do is allow Scotland to create a stronger bottom pillar from which the SFA can balance on.  How can you climb a ladder without the bottom rung?  Increased revenue and fan involvement will allow them to have a larger pool of resources of which to work with.

Can tailgating be considered a useful resource for the SFA in creating a competitive advantage?

Resources are the key to an organisation creating a sustainable competitive advantage (Anderson, Birrer 2011).  The VRIO framework helps to distinguish the difference between temporary and sustainable.

Valuable An experience not seen before in this country which generates further interest in the sport as well as more opportunities for the SFA to profit.

Rare American style tailgating has not been done before in football across the United Kingdom and Scotland would be the first to market; was done with success for the recent NFL games in London.

Imitability It is… if you want to fly 5000 miles to America.  You could argue that a substitute is the current tradition of pub culture in the UK but the concept of tailgating is a very different experience so I would argue it is not.

Organisationally Appropriate Tailgating is accessible for everybody that can come down to the stadium.  You don’t need a ticket to the match to participate, the limit literally comes down to the size of the car park.

What does the SFA currently have to work with?

Scottish football has an incredibly loyal fan base who spend a lot of money on supporting their team.  Supporters are far more likely to attend home matches than they are to travel for away games with 52% of respondents attending 11+ home matches a year (Scottish Football Association, 2013).  64% of those people travel to the stadium by car and 51% attend the match with a group of their male friends (Scottish Football Association, 2013).  Just under a quarter of respondents (23%) go to the games with family or their spouse or children (Scottish Football Association, 2013).  Tailgating will help to change these statistics and bring more families to the game.

Their current spending habits are outlined below:

(Scottish Football Association, 2013)

These are all areas where the NFL tailgating experience takes advantage.  The money goes straight into the team’s pockets and increases their resources with which that can use to improve their team by building better facilities, hiring better coaches, and paying for better players.  A successful tailgate experience directly creates a successful on field product.

Further interest in the report can be found here.

Steps the SFA needs to undertake to implement this:

(Adams, 2012)

To start the SFA should look to implement this concept at national team matches only; control and monitor how well this phenomenon translates to Scotland.  First with the women’s team as traditionally their environment is tamer and easer to see how fans react before rolling it out for the men’s side.

Start by charging food truck vendors to use the space to sell to customers outside the stadium fan zone (Belson, 2013).  It would not be hard to construct a few tents with additional food and drink options.  Set up a beer garden for additional sales before the match starts and intrigue some of the people out of neighbouring bars.  Have a general store that sells a few essential items that tailgaters might need (i.e. weather ponchos, ice for coolers) (Kaplan, 2015).  Finally, maximize on merchandising opportunities by bringing kit and scarf sales outside to official team store kiosks on the car park plaza (Belson, 2013).  Steph made a great comment to me, tailgating isn’t something that requires a lot of time to implement.  This can be tested by the SFA as early as next year.

Why it might not work:

The first thing that pops into everyone’s mind is the weather.  It rains too much in the UK for people to stand out in the cold car park for hours socializing.  Although that doesn’t stop fans in the United States when winter gets to be -25 Celsius and the snow mounds are ten feet tall…

There is history of rival fans being violent.  This separation is already happening in pubs where fans of one team will go to their bar and fans of the other go to a different one.  Some obvious major differences between pubs and car parks but the general concept isn’t too far off.  In America the crowds at NFL games can get rowdy but not to the same level that they do here in the UK.  A more in depth look at whether or not Scottish football fans can support this idea without violence is required.

(Koken, 2012)

Are the car parks large enough to host people outside the stadium (Chula, 2010)?  I haven’t been to very many stadiums across the UK but I feel like Hampden park has a large enough area to trial run some national team games.

Conclusion

(McCarthy, 2016)

The SFA can toy with wearing highlighter pink jerseys all it wants but these small attempts at differentiation have not been effective. It is time for Scottish football to use Porter’s Differential Strategy and go a different direction in trying to fund their projects.  Tailgating can create a unique experience and generate increased fan support as well as provide additional revenue boosts which in turn will create a larger resource pool for the SFA to execute its master plan of exceptional youth development.  These funds are used to create better training facilities and coaching development, boosting the Scottish national program for the long term.  That is how the SFA is going to create a successful, sustainable competitive advantage.  Maybe they can also pay for a different jersey while they’re at it… there must have been a discount on these in the store.

Resources

Adams, S. 2012, Dilbert – Monday October 29, 2012. Available: http://dilbert.com/strip/2012-10-29.

Anderson, K. & Birrer, G.E. 2011, “Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage: A Resource Based Analysis of the Gonzaga University Men’s Basketball Program”, Journal of Sports Administration & Supervision, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. November 18, 2016. Available: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jsas/6776111.0003.104/–creating-a-sustainable-competitive-advantage-a-resource?rgn=main;view=fulltext.

Bauer, J. 2011, The Demise Of The Buffalo Bills Tailgate [Football Nation], Available: http://www.footballnation.com/content/the-demise-the-buffalo-bills-tailgate/9059/.

BBC 2014, Why have tailgate parties not spread to the UK?. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28775062.

Belson, K. 2013, The Tailgate Experience, British Style [The New York Times], Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/30/sports/football/in-britain-learning-that-tailgating-is-as-american-as-their-football.html.

Blend, D. 2014, The 21 Cruicial Rules of Tailgating Etiquette [Thrillist], Available: https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/tailgating-etiquette-food-and-drink-rules-for-tailgaters.

Chula, J. 2010, Comparing England’s Pub Culture and America’s Tailgating Rituals [World Soccer Talk], Available: http://worldsoccertalk.com/2010/08/26/comparing-englands-pub-culture-and-americas-tailgating-rituals/.

De Bosscher, V., De Knop, P., Van Bottenburg, M. & Shibli, S. 2006, “A Conceptual Framework for Analysing Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success”, European Sport Management Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 185.

Drenten, J., Peters, C.O., Leigh, T. & Hollenbeck, C.R. 2009, “Not Just a Party in the Parking Lot: An Exploratory Investigation of the Motives Underlying the Ritual Commitment of Football Tailgaters”, Sport Marketing Quarterly, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 92.

Glassman, T., Werch, C.E., Jobli, E. & Bian, H. 2007, “Alcohol-Related Fan Behavior on College Football Game Day”, Journal of American College Health, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 255.

Kaplan, D. Dolphins see potential for tailgating revenue [Sports Business Journal], Available: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2015/08/17/In-Depth/Dolphins.aspx.

Keen, J. 2012, Tailgating isn’t just a party, research shows [USA Today], Available: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/04/tailgating-study-culture-history/1608741/.

Koken, A. 2012, Study: Women are better at parking than men [EGM Car Tech], Available: http://www.egmcartech.com/2012/02/01/study-women-are-better-at-parking-than-men/.

McCarthy, D. 2016, World Cup crunch at Wembley could be finished in the tunnel when England laugh at ridiculous pink Scotland kits [Daily Record], Available: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/-david-mccarthy-9174438.

Michail, A. 2011, Porter’s Differentiation Strategy & Ways of Achieving it. Available: http://strategy-models.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/porters-differentiation-strategy-ways.html.

Miketinac, C. 2014, London NFL Tailgating (long version) [Youtube], Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCIN0FWRG8Q.

Moser, K., Pearson, M.T., Hustad, J.T.P. & Borsari, B. 2014, “Drinking games, tailgating, and pregaming: Precollege predictors of risky college drinking”, American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 367.

NFL 2016, NFL 101: The 40-Yard Dash I NFL Combine [Youtube], Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jBc0B4MukE.

NFL 2016, NFL 101: Vertical Jump I NFL Combine [Youtube], Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKZCqWMQmVI.

NFL UK 2016, Tailgate. Available: http://www.nfluk.com/events/tailgate.html.

PA Sport 2016, SFA presents revamped vision for youth development in Scotland [EuroSport], Available: http://www.eurosport.com/football/sfa-presents-revamped-vision-for-youth-development-in-scotland_sto5074911/story.shtml.

Riley, J. 2016, Competitive Advantage [tutor2u], Available: http://www.tutor2u.net/business/reference/competitive-advantage.

Scottish Football Association 2016, 2015 Annual Review.

Scottish Football Association 2016, About. Available: http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_football.cfm?page=2551.

SHOWTIME Sports 2011, Tailgating at Green Bay – Inside the NFL – Football Fans with Susannah Collins [Youtube], Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLNck_qnvAs.

Waddell, G. 2015, Scots nightmare to American dream: How to fix Scottish football, according to Martin Calladine [Daily Record], Available: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/scots-nightmare-american-dream-how-7045348.

Wolff-Mann, E. 2015, , This is How Much NFL Tailgaters Spend Per Game [TIME], Available: http://time.com/money/4025286/nfl-tailgaters-spending/.

WorkLAD , I live in Maine and this is our General Store [Pinterest], Available: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/494692340300855217/.

How can the Scottish Football Association create a competitive advantage?

With the men’s national squad sitting at 67th in the FIFA world rankings, and having failed to reach a major tournament since 1998, gaining a competitive advantage is perhaps more important than ever before for the SFA. But short of cloning everyone’s favourite Scotsman, Steven Naismith, ten times to form a world-class team, what can really be done to drag our beloved Football Association out of these dark times?

 

Steven Naismith faces up to Ireland’s James McClean in last year’s Euro 2016 qualifier (Daily Record, 2015)

So, what exactly is competitive advantage?

According to Robinson and Minikin (2012), competitive advantage is “the strategic advantage that one organisation has over others that operate within its competitive industry”. My immediate reaction would be that Scotland has absolutely no chance. How can a nation of around 5,000,000 people even begin to compete with Germany, Brazil or even (dare I say it) the Auld Enemy?

The same could be asked about Portugal, a relatively small nation who achieved success at this year’s European Championships in France, despite the disappointment of Ronaldo’s early exit from the final. We could also look at Iceland, who surpassed all expectations at Euro 2016 to knock England out in the last 16. The key point in the definition above is that competitive advantage is a result of strategic planning. To gain this advantage, an organisation must know its strengths, and its weaknesses, and play to these. This is obviously an area in which both Portugal and Iceland are ahead of Scotland’s game…

How can the SFA gain competitive advantage?

Leigh’s lecture slides note that in order to gain a competitive advantage, an organisation must have strategies which:

  • Focus resources on priorities
  • Create alliances with other sports/nations
  • Focus on other events

I hope that by looking at these in turn, a conclusion can be reached on the steps I feel would be appropriate for the SFA to take on this journey.

Focus Resources on Priorities

The obvious priority for the SFA is the men’s first team – the pinnacle of sport in Scotland (albeit not a very high one). I agree with this, but I do feel that to gain this elusive competitive advantage, the organisation needs to look to the future. Writing off a generation, and looking to the future, is possibly the most effective move here. Karamoko Dembele, the 13-year old ‘wonder-kid’ currently playing at Celtic, is eligible for Scotland, England or the Ivory Coast. Having represented Scotland at under 16 level in the Victory Shield, it is widely rumoured that Dembele wants to be a Scotland player, having grown up in the country. If he, and others of his age, meet their potential, is it maybe best for the SFA to pin their hopes on Euro 2024?

If this is the case, the SFA must put as much as it can into youth football. In steps Oriam, Scotland’s new performance sport facility at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Now hosting Youth Internationals and training camps on a regular basis, facilities like this one could become invaluable to the SFA, providing the organisation with access to world-class pitches and sports science technologies.

Create Alliances With Other Nations

It’s no secret that the SPFL is far from world-class in terms of the quality of football being played. The most recent Scotland squad contained just 8 players plying their trade in the domestic leagues, with all but one of the remaining players featuring for English clubs. This may not be an official partnership or alliance, but I would argue that this pattern should continue if we want success on an international level. To gain an advantage, Scottish players must be pitting themselves against the world’s best on a regular basis, and unfortunately this just isn’t going to happen if they’re playing against Partick Thistle four times a year. Having Scottish players competing in the EPL or English Championship (or even further afield in Europe’s other top leagues) will improve the quality of the squad.

Focus on Other Events

I’ve already said that the SFA’s current priority is the men’s first team. But what if they moved away from that? The Women’s National Team, in stark contrast to their male counterparts, sit at a respectable 21st in the FIFA Rankings, and have just qualified for their first major tournament – next year’s European Championships in the Netherlands.

Across the world, footballing nations tend to (with the exception, perhaps, of countries such as Canada and the USA) put the focus on their men’s representative squads. It could be the case that, if the SFA wants to create something with allows them to differentiate themselves and gain a competitive advantage, they should focus on Women’s football, where they are already performing above the level which may be expected of such a small nation.

In women’s football, Scotland again has the issue that the league is not providing a competitive environment for our top players. The SWPL is dominated by Glasgow City, who have won the league for the past 10 seasons. Their only realistic competition comes from Hibs, who this season managed to take both domestic cups back to Edinburgh. This, however, is something which can still be changed. In comparison to the longstanding dominance of the Old Firm in the men’s game, this pattern is relatively new. Professional players are starting to pop up at women’s clubs across the country, which will improve the quality of the league and can hopefully reverse the trend of young girls leaving Scotland to ply their trade in the English WSL or on the Continent.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember that gaining a competitive advantage doesn’t necessarily mean you become the best in the world (which is lucky for the SFA, as that’s just not going to happen). It’s about playing to your strengths, and doing something different so that you can reach your strategic goals. After considering the options above, I would argue that the SFA should look to the future. Whilst it may upset the Tartan Army, it is important that the nation focuses on the promising youth players we have coming through. All too often, young stars fail to live up to their potential and are lost, only to reappear years later in the lower leagues.

Women’s football should also become a priority – this is an area in which Scotland can really excel by being an ‘early adopter’. The SFA should focus on marketing and promoting the team – and encouraging the Tartan Army to follow them in their journey to the Euros next summer. Success breeds success – and it just might be that having a successful and well-supported women’s squad can only serve to help improve the quality and performance of our men’s team too!

References 

BBC Sport Scotland. (2016). Glasgow City clinch 10 league titles in a row by beating Hibs. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37744981. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

BBC Sport Scotland. (2016). Scottish Women’s Cup: Hibernian win final on penalties against Glasgow City. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37891305. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

Daily Record –  Kyle, G. (2015). Scotland star Steven Naismith: Courage and character pulled us through ‘derby’ draw with Ireland. Available: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/scotland-star-steven-naismith-courage-5878435. Last accessed 17th November 2016.

Daily Record. (2016). Scotland women make football history by qualifying for their first major tournament. Available: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/scotland-women-make-history-qualifying-8. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

FIFA. (2016). Men’s Ranking. Available: http://www.fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/men/. Last accessed 27th November 2016

FIFA. (2016). Women’s Ranking. Available: http://www.fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/women/. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

Oriam. (2016). Oriam Facilities. Available: http://www.oriamscotland.com/home/facilities/. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

Robinson, L., and Minikin, B., (2012). Understanding the Competitive Advantage of National Olympic Committees. Managing Leisure. vol. 17, no. 3, p. 139-154.

Scottish FA. (2016). Scotland Squad Announced for Wembley.Available: http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_fa_news.cfm?page=2986&newsID=16616&newsCategoryID=1. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

Scottish National Team. (2013). Steven Naismith celebrates 25 Scotland caps with a goal against Croatia. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kpIWhTgBTE. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

SPFL. (2016). Scottish Professional Football League. Available: http://spfl.co.uk/. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

Taylor, D. (2016). England humiliated as Iceland knock them out of Euro 2016. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/jun/27/england-iceland-euro-2016-match-report. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

Wikipedia. (2016). Tartan Army. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartan_Army. Last accessed 27th November 2016.

YouTube –  GC 23. (2016). UEFA Euro 2016 Final : Cristiano Ronaldo exits with knee injury. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPYQzo4H614. Last accessed 15th November 2016.

YouTube – Scout Nation. (2016). KARAMOKO DEMBELE | Goals, Skills, Assists | Celtic | 2016. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYalopfnyPw. Last accessed 15th November 2016.

Women in Coaching – Why so Few? by Michael Leatt

What is the Story?

In November 2017, Stacey Frances of Sports Coach UK reported to Skythat “Only 10 per cent of UK coaches are women, which is a problem,”. If she is right, that is a stark statistic. A coach tracking study undertaken by Sports Coach UK in 2012 identified 30% of the coaching population to be made up of women. So, which is accurate? Probably both; the first statistic may be to be referring to the ratio within the British Olympic Team, whilst the latter encompasses all categories including volunteers. That same report also identified that women make up only 18% of the qualified coaching workforce. None of these figures reflects the UK society gender ratio of 51% of women.

As part of a continuing social trend, various movements have been established with the aim of increasing women’s involvement in previously male dominated environments, of which sports coaching is no exception. The Women’s Sport Foundation, started by Billie Jean King to advance the lives of girls through sport and physical activity, produced a hard hitting statement  to address several ‘myths’ around the premise that women prefer male coaches. In a similar vein to Stacey France’s comment, it appears to take a relatively extreme view by focussing strongly on the problem rather than seeking to address the solution. This use of a Critical Theory approach (Coakley, 2009) may have the desired effect of raising profile but does not necessarily win support. On the other hand, some sports still retain values firmly based in the interests of men with power. Where such sports are global, and ownership sits within countries whose cultures have moved very little with the times, even a hardcore Feminist Theory approach would have little impact.

Evidence of Change

Nevertheless, there is growing evidence from interviews, shifts in theemphasis of NGBs and research (Light, 2013) to suggest that the sporting landscape is changing and female coaches are gaining credibility. It is easier in some sports to make the transition towards a gender balance of coaches. In my sport of hockey, whilst I identify with the 30% figure quoted by Sports Coach UK in 2012, I see a  more equitable state of affairs. The Regional Performance Centre set up in Bristol, this year, has a female manager in  charge, a male lead coach and coaches in the ratio of 50:50, albeit 3:1 in favour of the sex being coached. In the Regional Women’s Premier League in which I coach, 40% of the head coaches are women, although there are no female coaches in the parallel men’s league. Additionally, hockey coaches in schools locally are predominantly female. However, as far as I can ascertain, the approach taken by England Hockey has been to recruit and develop the best coaches they can and it does not have an overt policy to recruit women. That said, this is a sport with a good gender balance and where, in the public eye, women have the spotlight.

In other, male dominated sports, changing the fabric will take longer. A more successful policy in such an environment may be to stay grounded in the continuing change of social order and shifting culture clearly expressed in the Coaching Plan for England (2016) , rather than force supporters of the status quo to dig in. This aligns with the Interactionist Social Theory and a bottom up approach that is slowly seeing women moving into positions that can help shape organizations into becoming more open and democratic. However, it does not address the economic power issues based on exploitation and wealth creation. This is a matter much wider that the topic we are discussing today!

Other Factors

Trying to address social issues in a pragmatic way, and working through institutions to change a social construct in a manner, consistent with Functionalist Social Theory, may have unintended consequences. The US Government attempted to adjust the system top down in 1972 with the introduction of Title IX legislation, which prohibited sexed based discrimination on any education or activity based programme receiving federal funding. By 2012, the numbers of college women’s teams coached by women dropped from 90% to 42.9% and men’s teams coached by women remained around 2%. With it has come further conflict.

There are also some practical issues around the type of work and associated demands that may not be as attractive to women as men. That has been highlighted recently by Leanne Norman (2016) where she has used the Keyes’ Model of well-being to examine women in coaching. Again she points to the need for system change to enable women coaches to flourish.

Accelerating Progress

How else can we accelerate the slow wind of change and start to influence the inclusion of more female coaches of male teams and in performance areas, in particular? An illuminating document produced by Sports Coach UK and the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation  about the coaching of women, highlighted the different response in intellectual function, base reaction to stimulae, stress response, innate interests, survival strategies and methods of processing information of males and females. It could be argued that there is a similar difference in a female coach’s approach to these factors that is more in line with the requirements of the increasingly valued athlete-centred approach to coaching (Mageau and Vallarand, 2003). Two things might happen: if the emphasis of coach education follows this expressed wisdom of how to maximise athletes’ potential, then women may be more inclined to take qualifications and stay with coaching as a career and; employers may see that women possess a more appropriate skills-set to meet the challenges of the coaching environment. So men better watch out!

References:

Coakley, J.J, and Pyke, E, (2009) Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies; pp26-46. McGraw Hill 

Light. A, (2013) How are student athletes perceiving female coaches, Lavery Library, St John Fisher College,  Digital Fisher Publications

Mageau, G. A, and Vallarand, R. J. (2003) The coach-athlete relationship and motivational model, Journal of Sports Sciences, 21, pp 383-904

Norman, L, and Rankin-Wright, A. (2016) Surviving rather than Thriving; Understanding the Experiences of Women Coaches using a theory of gendered social well-being, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 1-27

Adaptation and how it informs Sport Coaching. by Edward Conway

Adaptation is the “process whereby a population becomes better suited to its habitat”. I like this definition because it is concise, to the point and has a wide range of implications for coaching beyond purely the physiological response to training. The athletes we coach will be molded, adapted, by the habitat and environment that we create around them. When dealing with young athletes, this is quite the responsibility and the importance of the coach in their development is clear. I believe that consideration of adaptation is also important when dealing with change to the environment or routine. In this blog, I’ll consider the role of challenge in helping athletes develop and adapt to higher competition, how I have utilized adaptation in my coaching and, finally, how I personally have adapted as a coach.

“Periodised Challenge”

Nearly two years ago, I drove to the midlands to visit Denstone College and their then Director of Rugby, Jamie Taylor. It was an interesting learning experience for me, with three words that really stuck out – “challenge and support”. Jamie explained how it was critical to their vision for developing the young student sportsmen and sportswomen at the school. Within a year, the following tweet caught my eye:

Stu Armstrong Tweet

There was the word challenge again. Stuart’s tweet linked to this article, explaining how Manchester United set in place a plan whereby Rashford would occasionally train with the Under 21s to give him exposure to competition that was tougher than what he was used to at Under 18. However, rather than simply remove him from the U18s, it was his fluctuation between the two groups that they believed was crucial to his development. In this case, Rashford was adapting to the challenge of his U21 counterparts over time, thus making his U18 performances even more noticeable and “easier”. This shows that the process of adaptation isn’t just physiological – it can also be technical, tactical, psychological and sociological. Even Tom Brady, arguably the greatest Quarter Back of all time, references the importance of challenge in his own, ongoing, development.

The Importance of Individualisation

What worked for Marcus Rashford may not have worked for all young players. The adaptation process is more than just applying a programme and expecting it to work – individual athletes will respond differently when undertaking an identical session (Kiely, 2012). Maro Itoje is one of the most impressive young players in world rugby. His development continued at such a pace that Saracens had to ignore the plan that they had in place for him, unable to “hold him back any more”. This highlights the importance of knowing, and truly understanding, the athletes that you work with. Whilst Itoje was highly impressive on and off the pitch, that may not be the case for all individuals and the external pressures (education, work, family) can have a significant impact. I am soon to finish my third season as coach for a University rugby team, however I learnt quickly that my situation was slightly different to the norm – I coach the medics. Existing within a university, but as an entirely separate club, the medics posed interesting problems to me as a coach because of their intense work schedule. Our first season was troubled with constant injuries for which there may have been many reasons – training methods, conditioning, lifestyle, bad luck etc. But I soon realised it was important that the players were able to be honest about their work load, and therefore be allowed to miss training or matches accordingly. Research has found that the chance of injuries doubles during periods of high academic stress for college athletes (Mann, Bryant, Johnstone, Ivey and Sayers, 2016). I needed to be aware of these periods, either individually or across the squad, and manage training as a result.

My Coaching

One area that I have embraced the notion of adaptation within my coaching is when it comes to fatigue. Research has found that there is a significant detriment in performance under fatigue (Lyons, Al-Nakeeb and Nevill, 2006) caused by a deterioration of both cognitive and psychomotor skills (Kahal et al, 2008) and ability to perceive visual information (Hancock and McNaughton, 1986). When practicing a learned skill (i.e. not new information), we therefore try to combine it with our conditioning work. Not only does this make the conditioning more fun and rugby-specific, but it also tests their skills under fatigue. This should, hopefully, transfer to executing skills when tired during competition. Recently many journalists picked up on Eddie Jones’ use of ‘tactical periodisation’ as taken from football. I’d argue that this isn’t necessarily as new to rugby as the article asserts, however it is further proof of coaches finding ways to help their athletes adapt to, and beyond, the level demanded of them in competition.

Personal Adaptation

During my coaching career, I have undergone a number of changes to my style, outlook, personality. Some are very small and subtle, others more obvious. However, I have made a purposeful effort to work in varying environments and meet lots of different people. At first, and to a degree still, this was majorly outside my comfort zone. Importantly, I noticed the improvements as a result and keep forcing myself to do it. Whether this is working with players who are much younger than I am used to, or working with adults, or coaching with both genders – all have provided learning experiences that allow me to adapt and evolve.

When we make those adaptations, we discover new facets of ourselves. This is an excellent blog post, highlighting the potential benefits of seeking new environments. On a personal level, I am undoubtedly an improved coach for working in various coaching domains. Furthermore, it has allowed me to be adaptable when there is a significant, but unexpected, change. Whether on a small scale with players missing from training limiting what I had planned, or to big events like new coaching roles. In considering the latter point, earlier in my career I was often focused on MY role within the new role and how it made ME feel and act. Nowadays I realise that, in taking a new role, the athletes themselves are undergoing a change too – new vocabulary, new methods, new priorities. I feel that the following video, on change management, is just as useful for coaches as it is for executives:

Conclusion

Adaptation, therefore, is more than just bicep size or VO2 max. It can effect both the coaches and the athletes in a number of ways. What works for one athlete may not work for all. It is crucial for coaches to be aware of this and to understand how to manage change personally and how to assist their athletes to do the same.

References

Hancock, S. & McNaughton, L. (1986). “Effects of fatigue on ability to process visual information by experienced orienteers”. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 62(2): 491-498.

Kahal, K., Leyba, M.J., Deka, M., Deka, V., Mayes, S., Smith, M., Ferrara, J.J. & Panchanathan, S. (2008). “Effect of fatigue on psychomotor and cognitive skills”. American Journal of Surgery, 195(2): 195-204.

Kiely, J. (2012). “Periodization paradigms in the 21st century: Evidence-led or tradition-driven?”. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 7: 242-250.

Lyons, M., Al-Nakeeb, Y. & Nevill, A.M. (2006). “The impact of moderate and high intensity total body fatigue on passing accuracy in expert and novice basketball players”. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 5(2): 215-227.

Mann, J.B., Bryant, K.R., Johnstone, B., Ivey, P.A. & Sayers, S.P. (2016). “Effect of physical and academic stress on illness and injury in Division 1 college football players”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(1): 20-25.

A visit to the Singapore Institute of Sport

Posted by   Ee Goh  at Thursday, 19 January 2017 18:54:26 as part of the Sport Work Expereince Module held at the Singapore Institute of Management.

The visit to the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) was to provide both a better understanding of sports and the types of sports related jobs in Singapore. With Vision 2030, Singapore identifies the importance of sport in progressing the national priorities of developing the people and bonding the communities. Sport can convey the skill sets necessary to achieve success and upward progression in life, as well as, help individuals lead happier, healthier lifestyles. The vision is about encouraging people to live better lives through sports. I feel that it is definitely a remarkable step for the country to plan and dedicate a commitment way ahead of the future as long term planning requires skillful forecasting and is absolutely difficult to implement.

Richard Gordan, Head of High Performance Sports of SSI, began his presentation with a brief introduction to his background and career in the sports industry and how it took unexpected turns. “Do something you are passionate about and you will find your way,” Gordan said to explain that as long as we work hard towards our passion, things will fall into place. He also mentioned that the fruits of his labour only came about 8 to 12 years later.

Gordan made me realise that it takes a whole lot of courage and believing in the process just to observe the outcome of your commitment and passion years later, as the saying goes, great things take time. I will certainly remind myself often that even when the outcome can yet to be seen, always focus on keeping your passion burning and take risks!

We were then brought on a tour around the SSI which showcased the well appointed facilities such as the gym, nutrition lab, altitude room and sports biomechanics laboratory to serve carded athletes for training and performance purposes.

SSI Gym

Nutrition Lab

Altitude Room

Banners showing the usage of sports biomechanics for development and enhancement

There have been a distinct improvement in the facilities since I last visited SSI in 2014. I am pleasantly surprised at how SSI has changed over 3 years. Previously, some of the equipment were not set up yet and the altitude room was empty without any furniture displayed.

Other than improving the facilities, SSI also placed emphasis on improving athletes’ performance with the aid of these facilities. For example, it invested in an equipment used in sports rehabilitation as seen during the tour, an anti- gravity treadmill to push athletes’ physical therapy rehabilitation and allowing them to train further than ever before.

Currently, Singapore has the hardware (facilities) but facilities themselves do not make high performance sports even though they help assist. Our country needs more software (e.g. coaches) in years to come as there will be an increase in the number of sports clubs which leads to an increase in demand for coaches and coach education. There are also more young people out there making deliberate choices to be coaches. Through this visit, I am able to understand the significance of support offered by SSI for the carded athletes and the insights of practical working environment in the sports venue of the future. If given a chance in the future, I would love to work in SSI and make a difference and impact in the nation and athletes’ lives. I am now more motivated to do well and work towards my dream of being a physiotherapist!

Who Watches the Watchers? Sports Governance – A Very Hobbesian Problem

Posted by   Matt Pocock  at Friday, 14 October 2016 01:27:37

Matt is studying for a MSc in Sport Management at the University of Stirling.

In 1651, English philosopher Thomas Hobbes published his most famous political work, Leviathan. Leviathan laid out Hobbes’ vision on how society functioned, how a legitimate government is created and was one of the earliest influences on what is now known as ‘social contract theory’.

In Leviathan, Hobbes sees humans existing in a ‘state of nature’, ‘a war of all against all’ which he describes as a lawless society in which humans would compete with each other over the basic resources needed to survive. As a result of this constant battle for survival, life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. The only way to escape the state of nature is for humans to band together and agree to appoint a sole arbiter (the titular Leviathan) that will settle all disputes between individuals, allowing them to live freely under the Leviathan’s upholding of the law.

So what does this have to do with sport organisations and governance?

Well every sport is governed by its own set of rules. While there is nothing physically stopping me from picking up the soccer ball during a match and running with it, I would be breaking the rules of the game by doing so. These rules of every sport have been created by a group of individuals or clubs coming together and agreeing that these rules, whatever they may be, are the rules of the game. Now to enforce these rules the individuals or clubs must form a governing body which defines the rules and deals with disputes between individuals and clubs in the fairest manner over the interpretation of the rules, just like the role of the Leviathan that Hobbes wrote about over 350 years ago.

In sport, every individual and club must agree with the decisions that the governing board makes, if they do not then the governing body can place sanctions upon them or expel them from the sport entirely. If enough individuals or clubs agree to break away as has happened in Darts with the PDC splitting away from the BDO in 1993 or the split between Rugby Union and Rugby League in 1895, then they can form their own game and rules. But even in these extreme circumstances such the rogue individuals/clubs still have to create a governing body in order to uphold the laws of the game and settle internal disputes. It might not be the Leviathan they have left, but it is still a Leviathan all the same.

And this is the root of a lot of the problems that occur within sports governance. For a governing body to be independent and fair to all its members, it must remain outside the influence of any one or more individuals or clubs, however this leaves the governing body unable to be truly accountable to its members and thus free to run the sport in whatever fashion it chooses. This creates an unsolvable conundrum of how do we govern the governing bodies of our sports without adding additional governing bodies or affecting their independence by limiting some of their power.

This in essence, is what agency theory is within sports organisations, the governing bodies for sports have agency over the sports they each manage. But with no-one to answer to then it is very easy for these organisations to become corrupt internally in some form as individuals become tempted to act in their own self-interest. The biggest and most-high profile example of this is FIFA, which was found over the last few years by the FBI to be suffering from millions of dollars-worth of financial corruption which influenced the decision-making process around the bidding process for tournaments.

FIFA are not alone in this, the IAAF is also under a lot of pressure currently about corruption as well, as is AIBA for match-fixing and even the IOC can’t escape the accusations of dodgy backroom dealings. When levels of corruption are so high that it becomes part of the culture of the organisation, the resistance to external governance and auditing grows even further.

Can this be stopped from occurring? In short, the answer is not completely, as the way international governing bodies currently operate prevent this. However as alluded to above, if the culture of the organisation can be moved away from self-interest and agency theory to one of responsibility and to act as stewards, managing the day to day governance of the sport, then it will at least limit the spread of that corruption within that governing body even if it can’t stop it at the very top levels.

This stewardship theory of governance is vital to keeping sports in contact with the membership and stakeholders that support them. In fact, it was both the BDO’s and the RFU’s mistake in not doing this that led to the splits within those respective sports.

But how do we change that culture? That is the tricky question, as it is not immediately obvious to those who are corrupt that they are behaving improperly.

Is travelling to a meeting by free business class train corrupt?

Probably not.

Is taking payments in exchange for voting a certain way on a decision corrupt?

Definitely.

But is staying in a 5-star hotel for a week all expenses paid when there are cheaper 3-Star hotel alternatives an abuse of privileges?

It’s difficult to call.

Where do we draw the line between improper behaviour and proper behaviour by our governing bodies? If we’re not watertight with our definition of corruption, then that just leaves loopholes that can be exploited by those who are corrupt and we’ll never break the cycle of bad governance.

In light of this rather downbeat and negative view of sports governance, perhaps we should go back to Thomas Hobbes for some words of comfort. As he wrote, and as Sepp Blatter found out to his cost, ‘no matter how big or powerful a despot is, even the greatest of tyrants must sleep sometime.’

References and Bibliography

BBC News

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Guardian Newspaper

VOA News

Hobbes, Thomas (1651), Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil

Hoye et al, (2005), Sports Management – Principles and Applications, Routledge

King, N. (2015), Sports Governance, Routledge

Moorhouse, Geoffrey (1995). A people’s game: the centenary history of rugby league football, 1895–1995. Hodder & Stoughton.