By Adam Murray
Is winning important? This is a question that I believe a lot of us have varied opinions on and can open up a big can of worms. As a professional footballer for 14 years at different levels there has been one thing that has not changed, the IMPORTANCE of winning.
If you are winning you are being successful! Now hands up who enjoys being successful? I imagine most of us have our hands up.
This is my issue at the minute, coming to the tail end of my playing career I have stepped over the other side to coaching and developing youngsters. I have been doing it a few years now and have come to realise that in centres across the country winning does not really enter or play a part in development……..rightly or wrongly?
In fact you could say it is looked upon as not necessary. What is winning? Definition = to achieve and be successful. Surely we are trying to develop our players to achieve and be successful, if not are we doing them an injustice by not giving them all the tools available.
By no means am I saying a win at all costs attitude is the way forward because I am most definitely not but I do believe we should highlight gradually that winning is a GOOD thing and the knock on effects are beneficial.
As a young boy I trained 3 times a week at Derby County and I was lucky that I had a coach in Steve Round that was light years ahead of his time and technically and tactically equipped me with a great array of tools. The greatest thing he helped me to build though was a mental state that to be successful and to win doing the right things was beneficial. As a kid if I was to train and work hard every week and then on a match day continually get beat but told “well done Muzza your trying the right things”, would I believe and want to learn what I am being told. Mentally how is this going to affect the player?
As a human we like to see results from the time and effort we have put in to something, if we do not what is the point? If you succeed you enjoy what you are doing, if you are enjoying what you are doing you work harder without consciously even realising it. If you work harder at something you automatically pay more attention to what ever it is you`re doing so therefore surely enhancing learning.
As we look to develop our future players this process is a life skill – go and achieve and be successful! Why not create a mentality that winning and being successful is good and not to be scared of it or dismiss it.
In my opinion to take a young player at u8 -u15/u16 and go down the lines of “winning does not matter” can be false. Eventually if they are lucky enough to get into the youth team or even the first team what happens then?……..the manager and coaches turn round to the player and say “oh sorry mate forgot to tell you winning matters now” Is this not preparing our players and developing them incorrectly?
Now do not take this the wrong way I am not saying we go out to our under 8s and start yelling at them that they must win other wise they will be failures, but can we create an atmosphere where instead of dismissing winning with quotes like “I do not care about the result” or “the result does not matter” we encourage success by doing the right things. Lets encourage our kids to see the results of their hard work.
Why should something that is going to be so important in their career be dismissed from their learning? This has to be put across in the right manner because we are dealing with fragile minds and if it`s not done correctly it will have a negative effect, but in my opinion kids like to win.
If you watch them playing in the play ground or on their X box they do not like losing. Lets nurture this and make it a positive source of development. Along the same path it enables us to encourage our kids to be dignified in defeat and being able to channel it in the right way to enhance their learning.
Winning after winning is hard that is why there are so few champions. Brendon Rodgers said his focus was not on winning because of his back ground in development but would he of said this if Swansea were bottom of the league? Would his players, chairman, fans and the public of bought into his philosophy and thought process if they were not being successful and winning?