DISCOVERING A FRESH APPROACH
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.