5 Jun 2014 | Football

Football; The sport of Apollo. It’s a messenger that speeds up when the journey’s end is near

As The Football World Cup is damned on the front pages for financial corruption and sexual exploitation and lauded on the back pages in anticipation of the forthcoming on-the-pitch carnival, it can still offer valid parallels for life and work.

As a coach who extols the virtues of ‘football thinking’ I remain convinced that if organisations (businesses, schools, farms, factories, shops, restaurants) were to put more effort in emulating football teams’ end of season or end of tournament run-in they’d be more successful.

We’ve just been through the time of year (spring) when success fell to the teams that upped their game just at the right time.

As the end of the season approached, cups were won, relegation was avoided and the fans of these teams are able to enjoy the summer months more than their rivals. This feeling of success does not have to apply only to the likes of Sunderland (avoided relegation), Arsenal (won a cup after a nine year gap) and Real Madrid (Champions League winners) but also to the likes of West Barns Star (winners of the {Scottish} Border Cup 2014 or Vaduz, Winners of the Swiss Challenge League.


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Commentators have always called this time of the season ‘the business end’ and with good reason. It’s called the business end because although the proceeding eight months have all been important, it is only these last few weeks that offer up an almost visual finishing line. In fact, the above mentioned Lichtensteiners’ failed to win their 4 penultimate matches and managed to up the ante for the final match; the business end.

This is because we humans are largely visualisers meaning that we tend to think in terms of images and that when the end of a time period is looming; we describe it in terms of what we can see.

An irony is that many organisations fail to set targets and goals and thus miss out on the opportunity to give their colleagues and teams something tangible to aim for.

I’m not a blind believer in goal setting; there are many occasions when this can hamper creativity and success. It’s not the setting of goals per-se that’s to be promoted but the fact that when you can see the end is approaching fast, you can put your foot down and really go for it, this is what good soccer teams do.’


The second edition The Beautiful Mind Game, (How To Use Football Thinking To Score More Work/Life Goals) is available from Amazon.co.uk (Kindle and paperback formats) and Waterstones in the UK and Barnes & Noble in the USA.