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lake district canary

The inner game of football

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Posted (edited)

There is a series of books called "The Inner Game of - - - - -" which got me thinking about the football under Farke. The first book in the series is called "The Inner Game of Tennis" and there are others about skiing, music etc etc. 

The principle is to do the activity in question in a state of awareness, living in the moment and in a state of relaxed concentration, without trying too hard.  Now it sounds wrong at first - surely the main thing is to try hard.....but then surely every footballer worth his salt is going to try hard as a matter of course so "trying hard" is not the main thing that leads to success. 

What has marked our football out this last season has been the relaxed nature of it - it didn't matter if we got one goal down or two goals down....or even three! We still were able to keep that relaxed concentration and nearly always find a way back into the game. Even the matches we lost could so easily have been different, even the 0-3 against Leeds. 

The "Inner Game" is something that individuals can pursue - we can all find that when we do an activity we enjoy and get so immersed in it that we almost stop thinking - sportsmen call it being "in the zone" - it is a state of mind. So the goal of a coach is to get all his players "in the zone" at the same time, all the time - something that is very difficult when you have so many personalities and egos.

Farke achieves it though - but he goes further with it - he not only includes players, but includes everyone - fans too. It is almost as if 30 odd thousand people are all totally together and in the zone. Klopp does it too - and Guardiola. Brian Clough did it at Forest all those years ago - the secret is getting everyone working in a state of togetherness. 

Now all teams experience that feeling from time to time, but the really successful ones have it all the time. That is what we have had this season. The players are so focused in what they are doing, they don't get anxious, they don't let the pressure get to them, they don't fret too much when they go behind, they simply focus on each other, stick to the principles of teamwork that they have been instilled with and  believe in - and as we have seen, the results have been way above expectation. 

This is why Farke - and the Dortmund way - works. Paul Lambert imitated it when he was at Norwich, he brought that focused togetherness he learned at Dortmund and it worked for him with us. That he has failed to create it elsewhere is because the bigger clubs he went to had too many egos in and he wasn't able to breakdown those egos. 

Alex Neil was brilliant to start with as he got everyone working together, but longer term he couldn't control the egos. He even sent Maddison away because he couldn't handle his precocious ego. But look what Farke did with Maddison - he showed trust in him and allowed him to be at his best. Same with the other youngsters who have come through.

But Farke goes further - he trusts all his players totally - unless they don't want to or are unable to fit in with the required attitude - the attitude I started talking about at the start of this thread - that attitude  of being able to be totally focused on the collective, rather than themselves. Oliveira was the prime example - an individualist in a team of people trying to act as a whole. A likeable guy, a talented player, but just not able to adapt to the mentality required. 

OK, if you've followed me so far, the "Inner Game" is absolutely integral in the way we play football - relaxed concentration - allowing the mind to be free of non helpful thoughts and being in the zone for 90 minutes or more minutes of a match. It doesn't always work, we all make mistakes, but the underlying principle is there. It works for Klopp and Guadiola - they of course have vast resources to be able to buy the best kind of players that fit their ethic - and what makes our success so remarkable is that it has been done on a relatively small budget. 

I firmly believe we can do fantastically well as we progress under Farke, that the principles he instills in everyone will see us go a long way to negate the mindsets that exist in the PL - the fear of failure, the tension of so many clubs seem under - the principles he instills transcend all that negativity  and I thoroughly recommend the book The Inner Game of Tennis and any of the others in the series - it teaches a way of learning about how to be better at sports that is fascinating in terms of freeing the mind to enable best performance - it applies to individuals, but it is totally clear to me that when you apply those principles across a collective of people as in at a football club - you get something really special. Dortmund is a beacon of this kind of thinking - Farke is applying those principles in much the same way as Klopp is at Liverpool and Wagner did at Huddersfield, although that club didn't follow it through which is why they started to struggle and why Webber left. We won't make that same mistake.  The football may be slightly different under these different coaches, but the underlying principles are the same. 

Football psychology is fascinating - we have witnessed something really special this season and there is no reason why that can not continue next season. The psychology behind our success is to do with the 'inner game' - it stops overthinking in its tracks and enables the sub-conscious mind to take the lead, which in turn allows best performance.

Thanks for reading. 

Edited by lake district canary
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Expect the usual abuse, LDC, but I think you're dead right. That's why we've got to be so careful when bringing in new players.

To create a squad that F/W have done is remarkable - & does include a fair slice of luck (Farke has admitted this - who saw Teemu scoring 30 goals?). Once achieved the balance is fairly fragile, & could be wrecked by a couple of players with the wrong attitude. That's why I'm sceptical about demands for " proven PL strikers" etc. & would be happy to see us continue with our present players.

Stasis is impossible of course. The team must evolve. I trust F/W to do this in the most responsible, sustainable way.

But of course lady luck can change everything.

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Posted (edited)

You've got it bang on there LDC . I remember a team ... same story ... when I was in Belgium (lived there 2 years as a student) . They did a "Leicester" in the Belgian competition (not a high level , but the story is worth it 😉 ) . The team was called Lierse SK and they were managed by Eric Gerets , who put in the same philosophy as Farke is doing now. Very small club who achieved the impossible by good management. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lierse_S.K. But apparently they got mismanaged afterwards and are now bankrupt. This is what will not be happening at NCFC!

I think Farke and Webber are doing an immense job , by getting everybody on the same page! 
I like the fact that they're being realistic but in the same time they are ambitious ... which makes me confident that we will make the right choices and we won't plunge the club in the same mire when we got promoted the last time (high wages, big money signings that didn't work out etc...)

Edited by ROBFLECK
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Posted (edited)

Farke put it in layman's terms when he said that it was all about just playing football with your mates. Getting that feeling throughout the team, that when you make a mistake it doesn't matter and to keep trying the impossible. How many times have we heard about players who are great in training but not in games? Getting that training feeling into games and keeping the fans onside - otherwise we would never see things like Emi's flick, or even Pukki's backheel.

Edited by sgncfc

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7 hours ago, lake district canary said:

There is a series of books called "The Inner Game of - - - - -" which got me thinking about the football under Farke. The first book in the series is called "the inner game of tennis" and there are others about skiing, music etc etc. 

The principle is to do the activity in question in a state of awareness, living in the moment and in a state of relaxed concentration, without trying too hard.  Now it sounds wrong at first - surely the main thing is to try hard.....but then surely every footballer worth his salt is going to try hard as a matter of course so "trying hard" is not the main thing that leads to success. 

What has marked our football out this last season has been the relaxed nature of it - it didn't matter if we got one goal down or two goals down....or even three! We still were able to keep that relaxed concentration and nearly always find a way back into the game. Even the matches we lost could so easily have been different, even the 0-3 against Leeds. 

The "Inner Game" is something that individuals can pursue - we can all find that when we do an activity we enjoy and get so immersed in it that we almost stop thinking - sportsmen call it being "in the zone" - it is a state of mind. So the goal of a coach is to get all his players "in the zone" at the same time, all the time - something that is very difficult when you have so many personalities and egos.

Farke achieves it though - but he goes further with it - he not only includes players, but includes everyone - fans too. It is almost as if 30 odd thousand people are all totally together and in the zone. Klopp does it too - and Guadiola. Brian Clough did it at Forest all those years ago - the secret is getting everyone working in a state of togetherness. 

Now all teams experience that feeling from time to time, but the really successful ones have it all the time. That is what we have had this season. The players are so focused in what they are doing, they don't get anxious, they don't let the pressure get to them, they don't fret too much when they go behind, they simply focus on each other, stick to the principles of teamwork that they have been instilled with and  believe in - and as we have seen, the results have been way above expectation. 

This is why Farke - and the Dortmund way - works. Paul Lambert imitated it when he was at Norwich, he brought that focused togetherness he learned at Dortmund and it worked for him with us. That he has failed to create it elsewhere is because the bigger clubs he went to had too many egos in and he wasn't able to breakdown those egos. 

Alex Neil was brilliant to start with as he got everyone working together, but longer term he couldn't control the egos. He even sent Maddison away because he couldn't handle his precocious ego. But look what Farke did with Maddison - he showed trust in him and allowed him to be at his best. Same with the other youngsters who have come through.

But Farke goes further - he trusts all his players totally - unless they don't want to or are unable to fit in with the required attitude - the attitude I started talking about at the start of this thread - that attitude  of being able to be totally focused on the collective, rather than themselves. Oliveira was the prime example - an individualist in a team of people trying to act as a whole. A likeable guy, a talented player, but just not able to adapt to the mentality required. 

OK, if you've followed me so far, the "Inner Game" is absolutely integral in the way we play football - relaxed concentration - allowing the mind to be free of non helpful thoughts and being in the zone for 90 minutes or more minutes of a match. It doesn't always work, we all make mistakes, but the underlying principle is there. It works for Klopp and Guadiola - they of course have vast resources to be able to buy the best kind of players that fit their ethic - what makes our success so remarkable is that it has been done on a relatively small budget. 

I firmly believe we can do fantastically well as we progress under Farke, that the principles he instills in everyone will see us go a long way to negate the mindsets that exist in the PL - the fear of failure, the tension of so many clubs seem under - the principles he instills transcend all that negativity - I thoroughly recommend the book The Inner Game of Tennis and any of the others in the series - it teaches a way of learning about how to be better at sports that is fascinating in terms of freeing the mind to enable best performance - it applies to individuals, but it is totally clear to me that when you apply those principles across a collective of people as in at a football club - you get something really special. Dortmund is a beacon of this kind of thinking - Farke is applying those principles in much the same way as Klopp is at Liverpool and Wagner did at Huddersfield, although that club didn't follow it through which is why they started to struggle and why Webber left. We won't make that same mistake.  The football may be slightly different under these different coaches, but the underlying principles are the same. 

Football psychology is fascinating - we have witnessed something really special this season and there is no reason why that can not continue next season. The psychology behind our success is to do with the 'inner game' - it stops overthinking in its tracks and enables the sub-conscious mind to take the lead, which in turn allows best performance.

Thanks for reading. 

You should submit this to the pink un proper. It could do with more insightful opinion pieces like this. 

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Teamwork only gets you so far though. If it was just to try your hardest and don't have an ego, I could be a professional. :classic_tongue:

When every player in the squad talks of how Farke's improved their game, it highlights what a good coach he is.

Webber's buying to a plan, instead of say Huddersfield, buying a disparate collection of players and trying to glue them together. There's a clear vision of what a Norwich player should be like, and who fits into Farke's tactical systems.

Then you've got  Trybull, Leitner, Stiepermann and Vrancic players of talent relishing their second chance. 

The academy needs credit for producing Aarons, Lewis and Cantwell (and polishing up Godfrey) having the technical ability and tactical nous to be able to step into the first team where several experienced Championship players failed (eg Watkins and Husband)

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Really good read that, Lakey. The 'relaxed concentration' principle you mention has a lot in common with the concept of mindfulness - something that I've studied and practised myself. Shutting out the 'noise' and being able to focus on - and relax into - an activity definitely makes you perform better, and adapt better and more quickly to changes in your situation. I'd be interested to know how much of that Farke introduces into his coaching techniques, as the players do seem able to exercise a remarkable degree of calm and control in challenging situations.

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You'll upset (and confuse) quite a lot on here who tell us it is all about formations, and how many you can fit on top while someone is swimming the channels wearing a false sized number 10 out fit.... blah blah

However this is nothing new as managers having been doing this for yonks - see Alf Ramsay, Revie, Saunders etc. Look at what Ewan Roberts said about the Championship winning team.

And we well saw the opposite of that when we came down last time. There was not that 'togetherness' with what appeared to be obvious disagreement in the squad.

Have read up of what Souness recently said about the bollox that is 'formations'. Stuff that I had drummed into me in my early years... by ex pros.

Otherwise cheers for that LDC, and thanks for taking the time to put it together.

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7 minutes ago, Bill said:

You'll upset (and confuse) quite a lot on here who tell us it is all about formations, and how many you can fit on top while someone is swimming the channels wearing a false sized number 10 out fit.... blah blah

However this is nothing new as managers having been doing this for yonks - see Alf Ramsay, Revie, Saunders etc. Look at what Ewan Roberts said about the Championship winning team.

And we well saw the opposite of that when we came down last time. There was not that 'togetherness' with what appeared to be obvious disagreement in the squad.

Have read up of what Souness recently said about the bollox that is 'formations'. Stuff that I had drummed into me in my early years... by ex pros.

Otherwise cheers for that LDC, and thanks for taking the time to put it together.

Formations and tactics play an important part too; I thoroughly recommend 'Inverting the Pyramid' by Jonathan Wilson, which does a great job of linking the tactical/formation approaches through the years with the prevailing mindsets of the coaches. The fluidity of the 'Total Football' of Ajax, for example, was based around a rigorous understanding of the use of space on the field - it wasn't just 'go out there, be calm and express yourself'. 'Brilliant Orange' by David Winner is another cracking read, looking at the development of Dutch football through the ages.

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10 hours ago, lake district canary said:

This is why Farke - and the Dortmund way - works. Paul Lambert imitated it when he was at Norwich, he brought that focused togetherness he learned at Dortmund and it worked for him with us. That he has failed to create it elsewhere is because the bigger clubs he went to had too many egos in and he wasn't able to breakdown those egos. 

 

Bl00dy good article LDC.

And the 3 sentences I have borrowed from your article sums it up nicely. The "Dortmund" way works as has been proven by 2 managers at CR - but it fails when you have big egotists.

The difference between DF and PL at AV is that DF publicly stamped down on the ego that was likely to disrupt his approach - and even despite the vocalists saying that we couldn't afford to play without NO (and Nelson probably believed all the hype about his supposed indispensability). That put down a definitive marker to any other player who may have tried to call his bluff - basically, it was no bluff! (with the net result being that he was virtually ostracised.)

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8 minutes ago, Darth Canary1 said:

Probably the best post LDC has ever made; we live in strange times.

If we're honest, there hasn't been a huge amount of competition.

😉

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Posted (edited)

Hats off to Lakey for this post. The personality or Ego of the player is as important as his ability. See Pogba, skill to give away yet doesn't turn up half the time. The  disassociative focus is a key element in true performance, Gascoigne was brilliant but didn't have it for 90+ minutes. 

We are indeed , in exciting times.

Edited by wcorkcanary
I'm an idiot.

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Totally agree. The focus and strength of mind to not get thrown off our game even when we were behind was really impressive.

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You have to say it was great to see in games where we werent winning we stuck to playing our way - even against the pressure of our own fans wanting us to lump it up. Equally it was pleasing to see on the odd occasion where Farke made tactical changes FOR us to mix it up a little differently we done that too. Inherent trust between the coaching staff and the players. Could be invaluable next season.

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Cheers for all the positive comments, the "Inner Game" books are quite a few years old now, but are still very relevant. Individual sportsmen have been applying the ideas ever since they came out, but imo we will start seeing more clubs realising the benefits of reigning in individual egos and encouraging their employees into having a more collective, non-egoic attitude...simply because it works!  Fortunately for us we are one of the few pioneers and have a head start over other clubs and is another reason why I think we could do well next season.

People sometimes think that removing the ego is going to stultify a player, or make him less passionate, but we've all seen what passion our players have shown this season, but no sense of ego anywhere.  Its simply a case of lessening the ego and then players will relax and simply become part of something bigger.  A collective approach based on togetherness, good characters, hard work, super fitness, good skill and superb coaching/tactics. 

It is the only way a club like us, with smallish resources, is ever going to succeed - every facet has to be right - and the relaxed concentration aspect of it, which is based on removing the sense of the individual from the process and allowing the sub-conscious to get on with it unhindered from mental chatter, is the key to it.  Next season I'm sure we will see more of the same attitude and as Webber says, we have another mountain to climb......different mountain, same attributes required. 

 

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LDC, thanks, as you may recall I've often banged on about the mindset/psychology element of performance, so I'm in full agreement with this being taken more seriously. One point, we all have egos (our self image) and you can never outperform your own self imagine, however the collective ego/self image is equally, if not more, important and powerful in team sports.

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57 minutes ago, Ray said:

LDC, thanks, as you may recall I've often banged on about the mindset/psychology element of performance, so I'm in full agreement with this being taken more seriously. One point, we all have egos (our self image) and you can never outperform your own self imagine, however the collective ego/self image is equally, if not more, important and powerful in team sports.

I am familiar with your posts about psychology. Indeed, I seem to remember earlier this season and last you were quite critical of Farke and some of his psychology in relating to players. Have you reassessed your opinions on that?  The esteem in which players and fans seem to hold Farke suggests he has got most aspects just about right.  He is strong in his beliefs and dealings with players who don't fit in, but surely that has been a good thing?

Farke is a deep thinker and he undoubtedly has a very clear strategy on all aspects of football, psychology being high on the list.  He has emphasised again and again during the season that being totally present in the moment is the all important factor - and you can only be truly in the moment if your ego is quiet. He's encouraged fans to do that as well - to enjoy the moment.  We've all seen it, once the season got going, even when we went behind in a match, there has been no particular worry about it - annoyance at going behind maybe, but no concerns that we were going to lose a match because of it and sure enough, the players just carry on playing well and calmness and composure until their quality gets them the goals. Going to matches (I managed a few) was a thing of joy.

The players carried on the same, match after match - even in the tense ending to the season when we couldn't quite get across the line when we wanted to - playing with that relaxed concentration, despite the pressure, always finding an answer. Unbeaten in our last fourteen matches was an incredible achievement - and was testament to the belief of the players in the way they have been schooled to play - and think - about the football. Farke says it often - enjoy it and be in the moment - in other words relaxed concentration, the very phrase that comes out of those "Inner Game" books over and over.

 

 

 

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LDC, yes, my opinion of our management team's psychological attributes have changed, perhaps there is a correlation between this and their actual attributes, insomuch that they may have improved over time.  Let's face it as long as your 'ego' allows you to believe you are still green, you can still grow, if your 'ego' believes you are fully ripened then you start to rot.  I firmly believe something changed dramatically 6 games or so into the season, maybe because DF is a deep thinker, I also firmly believe that DF may have changed his thinking/mindset around certain aspects of his management, and applaud him for that.  I also firmly believe SW may have played a big part.  But either way, what a journey we're on.

Cheers

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23 minutes ago, Ray said:

 I firmly believe something changed dramatically 6 games or so into the season, maybe because DF is a deep thinker, I also firmly believe that DF may have changed his thinking/mindset around certain aspects of his management, and applaud him for that.  I also firmly believe SW may have played a big part.

 I don't think anything dramatic happened - to me the reason there was a change in fortune was down to Farke's willingness to bring in those who deserved the chance to play from what they had shown him in training and in those all important cup matches at the beginning of the season. So no change in philosophy or mindset, just a continuation of a policy to reward those who do well and then keep faith with them. 

Aarons was a key spark for our improvement imo, a piece of the jigsaw that saw the team evolve from a policy that was always in place.  Then Buendia progressed to the team on the strength of his performances in subs appearances and in the cup. That and Zimmermann who was already a proven player from the previous season who came into the team for Hanley at that time, who had been injured. Their emergence was something that changed the season, but which could only have come about because of Farke's ongoing policy of trusting players, young and older.

It all looks so easy in hindsight, just bring in a brilliant right back, just bring in a brilliant Argentinian, just bring in a passionate and skilful centre back and promotion will happen. It wasn't that easy really, but it does now look just a natural progression from what had gone before, rather than any change of mindset.   A little bit of luck too, of course....but then you make your own luck, so they say!

 

 

 

 

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LDC,

Luck is where opportunity and preparedness meet.

Cheers

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Enjoyed the read LDC , thank you for it.

When a player like Rhodes says he's not seen a club like it you know something is working well.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 23/05/2019 at 08:51, lake district canary said:

There is a series of books called "The Inner Game of - - - - -" which got me thinking about the football under Farke. The first book in the series is called "The Inner Game of Tennis" and there are others about skiing, music etc etc. 

The principle is to do the activity in question in a state of awareness, living in the moment and in a state of relaxed concentration, without trying too hard.  Now it sounds wrong at first - surely the main thing is to try hard.....but then surely every footballer worth his salt is going to try hard as a matter of course so "trying hard" is not the main thing that leads to success. 

What has marked our football out this last season has been the relaxed nature of it - it didn't matter if we got one goal down or two goals down....or even three! We still were able to keep that relaxed concentration and nearly always find a way back into the game. Even the matches we lost could so easily have been different, even the 0-3 against Leeds. 

The "Inner Game" is something that individuals can pursue - we can all find that when we do an activity we enjoy and get so immersed in it that we almost stop thinking - sportsmen call it being "in the zone" - it is a state of mind. So the goal of a coach is to get all his players "in the zone" at the same time, all the time - something that is very difficult when you have so many personalities and egos.

Farke achieves it though - but he goes further with it - he not only includes players, but includes everyone - fans too. It is almost as if 30 odd thousand people are all totally together and in the zone. Klopp does it too - and Guardiola. Brian Clough did it at Forest all those years ago - the secret is getting everyone working in a state of togetherness. 

Now all teams experience that feeling from time to time, but the really successful ones have it all the time. That is what we have had this season. The players are so focused in what they are doing, they don't get anxious, they don't let the pressure get to them, they don't fret too much when they go behind, they simply focus on each other, stick to the principles of teamwork that they have been instilled with and  believe in - and as we have seen, the results have been way above expectation. 

This is why Farke - and the Dortmund way - works. Paul Lambert imitated it when he was at Norwich, he brought that focused togetherness he learned at Dortmund and it worked for him with us. That he has failed to create it elsewhere is because the bigger clubs he went to had too many egos in and he wasn't able to breakdown those egos. 

Alex Neil was brilliant to start with as he got everyone working together, but longer term he couldn't control the egos. He even sent Maddison away because he couldn't handle his precocious ego. But look what Farke did with Maddison - he showed trust in him and allowed him to be at his best. Same with the other youngsters who have come through.

But Farke goes further - he trusts all his players totally - unless they don't want to or are unable to fit in with the required attitude - the attitude I started talking about at the start of this thread - that attitude  of being able to be totally focused on the collective, rather than themselves. Oliveira was the prime example - an individualist in a team of people trying to act as a whole. A likeable guy, a talented player, but just not able to adapt to the mentality required. 

OK, if you've followed me so far, the "Inner Game" is absolutely integral in the way we play football - relaxed concentration - allowing the mind to be free of non helpful thoughts and being in the zone for 90 minutes or more minutes of a match. It doesn't always work, we all make mistakes, but the underlying principle is there. It works for Klopp and Guadiola - they of course have vast resources to be able to buy the best kind of players that fit their ethic - and what makes our success so remarkable is that it has been done on a relatively small budget. 

I firmly believe we can do fantastically well as we progress under Farke, that the principles he instills in everyone will see us go a long way to negate the mindsets that exist in the PL - the fear of failure, the tension of so many clubs seem under - the principles he instills transcend all that negativity  and I thoroughly recommend the book The Inner Game of Tennis and any of the others in the series - it teaches a way of learning about how to be better at sports that is fascinating in terms of freeing the mind to enable best performance - it applies to individuals, but it is totally clear to me that when you apply those principles across a collective of people as in at a football club - you get something really special. Dortmund is a beacon of this kind of thinking - Farke is applying those principles in much the same way as Klopp is at Liverpool and Wagner did at Huddersfield, although that club didn't follow it through which is why they started to struggle and why Webber left. We won't make that same mistake.  The football may be slightly different under these different coaches, but the underlying principles are the same. 

Football psychology is fascinating - we have witnessed something really special this season and there is no reason why that can not continue next season. The psychology behind our success is to do with the 'inner game' - it stops overthinking in its tracks and enables the sub-conscious mind to take the lead, which in turn allows best performance.

Thanks for reading. 

Good read LDC, thanks for posting that.

A lot of what you describe comes from a faith and confidence in your own individual performance in the performance of your fellow players, and the team as a whole.

But what you describe takes this further, involving the crowd and the club as a collective, its a buy in from us all....which of course will come under intense scruting next season. 

Cant wait!

 

 

Edited by Van wink

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On 23/05/2019 at 19:14, Feedthewolf said:

Formations and tactics play an important part too; I thoroughly recommend 'Inverting the Pyramid' by Jonathan Wilson, which does a great job of linking the tactical/formation approaches through the years with the prevailing mindsets of the coaches. The fluidity of the 'Total Football' of Ajax, for example, was based around a rigorous understanding of the use of space on the field - it wasn't just 'go out there, be calm and express yourself'. 'Brilliant Orange' by David Winner is another cracking read, looking at the development of Dutch football through the ages.

Agreed. There is mention of Guardiola above, but Guardiola is an absolute perfectionist who is absolutely into “tactics” and “formations”. I can remember Thierry Henry doing a bit on Skysports where he showed how Guardiola used to force him to stay out literally on the touch line because it opened up more space for Iniesta or Eto’o or whoever down the middle. Henry mentioned an example of him scoring a cracking goal but being surprised when Guardiola rollocked him afterwards - because he had cut inside to score it , which wasn’t the tactical plan. Klopp as well; it takes hours and hours of boring tactical drills to be able to close down and press like Liverpool do. 

It’s not one or the other. Excellent tactics will only get you so far, as will great team ethic but no organisation.

What we’ve got this year is a manager who tactically has got it right more often than not, has paid a lot of attention to the way we play the game (formations etc) but has also got the whole togetherness and psychology right as well, as LDC has discussed. 

(And good post LDC.)

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This is why Farke - and the Dortmund way - works. Paul Lambert imitated it when he was at Norwich,

Was the most telling thing for me as a Norwich supporter

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On 24/05/2019 at 13:47, FenwayFrank said:

Isn’t there a sculpture called the thinker ? Couldn’t someone superimpose Farkes head on it ?

Or Lakeys! 

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