The Football League Paper - - GRAHAM WESTLEY -

SINCE I re­turned to Steve­nage for a sec­ond spell in 2008, I have worked vir­tu­ally with­out a break in football man­age­ment.

This sum­mer, though, has given me a welcome break from the rigours of the Football League. It has been a good chance to recharge my bat­ter­ies.

That com­mon phrase means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. To my way of think­ing, a r est is an op­por­tu­nity to be­come much bet­ter at what you do.

So, for in­stance, I think that it is im­por­tant to think about your job in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way. I was inspired to go and look at how the LA Dodgers man­age the en­tire com­mer­cial propo­si­tion around the game of base­ball.

They have ways of en­gag­ing with fans in the US that we could easily repli­cate in the UK, but we don’t. They think much more care­fully and ex­pan­sively about how to max­imise the en­tire match­day ex­pe­ri­ence.

Look­ing be­yond the norms at dif­fer­ent ways in which a club can work is fas­ci­nat­ing. So too is look­ing at the tech­ni­cal de­tail of how other sports are im­prov­ing.

I en­joyed learn­ing this sum­mer about how data an­a­lyt­ics have been used to en­hance Bri­tish Cy­cling, about how bas­ket­ball per­for­mance is changed by var­i­ous sta­tis­ti­cal eval­u­a­tions and about how Univer­sity stud­ies into Pitch Space Man­age­ment en­abled the Ger­man na­tional team to suc­ceed in the 2014 World Cup.

Be­ing out of the dugout is about de­vel­op­ing your knowl­edge of the player mar­ket and it is about watch­ing other coaches work and about gath­er­ing ideas from good ex­po­nents that help you to work bet­ter your­self. Of course it is about those things.

But when I went back to Steve­nage in 2008 it wasn’t just the ob­vi­ous work that cre­ated ad­van­tages for me. It was the less ob­vi­ous, slightly left-field work that I did that gave me the in­sights that added the most value.

Rest is a very good op­por­tu­nity to build up a fr esh ap­petite. But to truly take ad­van­tage of a r est, you need to feed your mind with suf fi­cient va­ri­ety of new ma­te­rial that you re­turn to work a sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter man­ager than you were when you left the dugout.

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