Discover more from Unfair Advantage
A Critical Juncture
A newsletter at the intersection of sport psychology and coaching
Skills coach, fitness coach, psychologist, tactician, statistician, researcher, video analyst, team manager, parent-figure...sometimes bus driver.
Twenty years ago a head coach played all of these roles, but the job somehow seemed easier.
Fast forward a few short decades and we’ve arrived at a critical juncture. The job is outsized. Coaching staffs are bloated. The roles a head coach used to play are now departments stocked with interns and PhDs. We’ve parsed performance into about as many tiny pieces as it’ll go, but upon reassembling the athlete we’re still left unsure if all the specialist service has made the athlete, or the team, better.
Instead of unbundling performance, working in silos, and diluting the impact, we take the position that there’s a counterintuitive way to change the game. It’s time for a new approach, a more natural approach. By bundling performance back together - both individually and collectively - your team can create an immediate and long-lasting advantage.
And even better, there’s an obvious place to start the re-bundling process.
The intersection of psychology and coaching
Coaching needs psychology.
As coaches, we’re kidding ourselves if we think having a mental skills coach deliver a weekly seminar is going to be enough to impact performance to the level that we think it can. We train bodies every day. The organ that runs the body is lucky if it gets 15 minutes of attention a week. For too long we’ve fought psychology, perhaps scared of what it might dig up for our players, perhaps scared of what it might dig up for us.
But psychology also needs coaching.
The science isn’t truly complete until it interacts with the data points stored up in coaches’ memories. The great research only really becomes applied when it’s weaved into the daily activities that coaches implement. Psychology out of context can’t deliver on its potential.
It’s the most natural marriage in the world.
In his documentary, Sir Alex Ferguson uttered the famous quote, “Psychology is somebody else's word, I call it management." What he’s describing is the very essence of this newsletter - how coaching and psychology are inextricably linked. Different yet inseparable. It’s the human core of elite performance.
In Unfair Advantage, we’re going to explore the intersection of psychology and coaching – the science, questions, and practical applications - and how you can rapidly accelerate your ascent to the top of your competition.
Our aim is simple: to create healthy and high-performing humans and organizations.
We also want to point out that this publication isn’t a mouthpiece of perfection. We don’t and won’t agree on everything, and we’ll publish dissenting views. We have a whole section dedicated to debate. At times, our published views (one or both sides) will be outdated mere days later. The road to high-performance is colored grey, and it’s important that this grey is captured in any discussion about how things can be better.
As a subscriber, you can expect our unfiltered thoughts on creating teams that win and individuals that thrive. And you’ll also hear from our friends and colleagues who are working to solve the same problem that we are.
Welcome to Unfair Advantage.