I had planned to write about my strategy for this season today, how I was going to approach GW1-4, my early feelings on chip playing and which teams had caught my eye after fixture examination. However my whole thought process has been hijacked by the uncertainty hanging over us right now.
This new season is going to be a balance board, which requires patience and flexibility. More so than any other season before it, this is the COVID effect. And what’s more it will be ongoing for 38 weeks.
Alongside the bunching of fixtures, resulting from a late start, we have other perils such as unavailable players due to isolation/quarantine (which should recede as the protective bubble re-emerges). I wonder too, if the International matches & European ties may need to be ‘managed’ due to the ever changing travel corridors/isolation guidelines enforced by the government of our island.
We are wired to face uncertainty with fear, we have to train ourselves to override this.
My mindful coping mechanisms
- realise I can’t control everything but I can control how I react
- accept it’s going to be uncomfortable, cut myself some slack
- keep positive. I will set small targets and give myself rewards
- reflect on information before acting
- make the best decisions I can with the information I have, focus on good processing not any bad outcomes
- have contingency plans: I use Plan Bs as a gym workout for my brain, conditioning it to alternative outcomes.
- let go of any bad outcomes quickly and move on
- support: I can and do talk out the anguish with my trusted friend. I dump it.
- take time away, I recharge with exercise outdoors
- embrace the changes, where there is chaos there is opportunity, everyone faces the same issues, I aim to be proactive not reactive
Some thoughts from Scott Parker, Fulham manager, April 2020, on the uncertainty before restart.
“I am a person who likes to set targets, but we can not really plan,”
“My job is just to be honest with everyone about where we are at and what we can do right now.”
“One thing I have been able to do in this time is to look back at loads of bits from the season; it has been good for reflecting.”
I am treading cautiously this season, flexibility in my team and my outlook. There will be no risky tactics from me, involving maverick chip playing, I am resorting to the comfort of successful outcomes from previous seasons’ learning curves. Vanilla. Strategic, rational, and systematic.
I am leaving you with this insight from arguably one of the greatest football managers ever
Observation is critical to management. The ability to see things is key—or, more specifically, the ability to see things you don’t expect to see.Sir Alex Ferguson