Helping the Brain Win Games

Paul Grech Thursday, June 6, 2013 , ,
When Alex Ferguson starts talking about opponents, he does so in order to unsettle them and it usually works.  Everywhere he has been, Jose Mourinho has projected himself as the undiscussed leader, thus serving as a lightning rod for any criticism - which he is more than capable of handling - and shielding his player from having to spend any energy dealing with it. Zlatan Ibrahimovic talks about himself in the first person because it reinforces his (already quite large) belief in his own abilities.

These subtle mental tricks don't fall within the common attributes one would normally require of football managers (tactics, ability to buy and develop good players) or player (strength, technique) yet without them these three individuals wouldn't be anywhere as successful as they are.  What's more, everyone accepts that this is what helps make them so special.

The rest of this article can be read on Blueprint for Football.

Finnish Lessons

Every three years, education systems from around the world are evaluated by a system known as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) to determine the quality of education in maths, reading and sciences that the students in each country are receiving.  Two countries have regularly ranked among the best ever since PISA was introduced in 2000; one of which expectedly, the other perhaps less so: South Korea and Finland.

That this happens is interesting because the two have a widely differing approach to education.  The Korean results are largely down to sheer work ethic with the students regularly spending 14 hours a day studying for the all-important college entrance exam.  It is as if Eriksson's 10,000 hours rule were applied to education, with the students looking to cram in as many hours of study as possible in order to gain the expertise they believe is required.

The rest of this article can be read on Blueprint for Football.

A Time-Frame for Liverpool’s Youth Philosophy

Paul Grech Tuesday, June 4, 2013 ,
The name of Horst Wein is unlikely to register with many football fans.  He never played the game at any level nor has he made an impact as a manager.  Football isn't even his first love, hockey is.  Even so, Wein is one of the deepest and most influential thinkers within the game.  He was one of the first to strongly argue in favour of smaller sided games (although he prefers the term 'simplified games') for younger players; views that everyone now seems to be accepting and enthusing about but which were considered as idiotic for a long time.

Time Management Key For Sammut

Whenever the Games for the Small States of Europe come round, it is the norm to see a number of records fall at the Marsa track as athletes push themselves to achieve the minimum targets set for them to achieve qualification.  So it is proving to be this year with the opening weeks of the season delivering a host of new national bests.


Changing Party Traditions

Contrary to what Elton John sang, sorry has never been the hardest word for me.  Instead what I really struggle with is to tell people ‘no’.  It has always been a problem for me although, if I think hard enough, I believe that I can trace where it all started.

It was at a friend’s birthday party, more precisely when his mother came round holding a plate of stuffed eggs.  I’d never tasted one but from the smell I knew that the last place I wanted to put it was in my mouth.  Yet my tentative shake of the head wasn’t enough to deter her and, if anything, it seemed to strengthen her resolve to ensure that I ate one.

Copyright 2010 Paul Grech: Writer