20 ways your team can win the league without spending a penny!
If somebody gave me £10 for every time over the last decade someone told me a team “bought the league title.” I reckon I might be not far off being able to buy my own club! It is very common for people these days to believe that certain teams only win the league because they’ve been bought by a wealthy businessman who then buys other teams star players and only wins because they’ve got too much quality for their opposition. To show that it isn’t all about large transfer fees, I’ve come up with 20 other ways of achieving league success in my attempt to show everyone out there that it isn’t all about buying your way to victory.
1. Using Pre-Season Wisely
The main reason for pre-season is to build up a players’ fitness so that they are fully fit and prepared for the first competitive matches of the season. During this period a manager can decide to try out some new tactics in training and in the friendly matches to see which ones he feels work best and which ones to probably avoid. Because friendlies are non-competitive and the result isn’t important, it means the manager can analyse how his team have performed with the new tactics and can then make a decision to stick with them if they’ve been a success in the friendly or try another tactic for the next match if it hasn’t worked out without it affecting the team in games when there are points at stake.
2. Set Your Goals & Ambitions Early
Pre-Season is also the time where right from the first training session, a manager has to let his players know what he expects from them for the coming season. If the manager wants his team to mount a serious title challenge, the players have to feel the same about it as he does. If at any point during the season the players begin to doubt that they can achieve their ultimate goal, the manager must use any means necessary to make sure that the players still feel the same about the cause that he does.
3. Practice Tactics
If a team is going to challenge for the whole season, then they are going to have to make sure that they bring their “A Game” to every match. And one way to do that is by making sure they do their work on the training pitch. If you pick a tactic and keep practicing it, you are less likely to make mistakes with it during big games when there are points up for grabs.
4. Having A Manager With Great Knowledge Of The Game
This responsibility mainly lies with the people running the club behind the scenes. It is up to them to pick a manager who they feel will stand the best chance of achieving their goals for the club. The ideal manager would be someone who knows the game so well that they how to get a team winning most of their matches, playing attractive football and knowing exactly what it takes to help their team win the league.
5. Having The Right Coaching Staff
It is all very well having a top manager, but for him to work well he also needs the support of his coaches. The best coaches will be the ones who can work with players on a daily basis, get to know their strengths and weaknesses and help them turn the weaknesses into strengths and help them become a better player so that they can improve the quality of the team.
6. Utilising A Players Strengths
To get the best out of a player during a match, the team will need to play the kind of game which can allow the player to capitalise on their strengths. For example, if a striker has incredible ball control with his feet, but his control with his head just isn’t up to the same standard, the team may have to play the kind of game that allows the striker to play more with his feet during a match while he works on his control with his head on the training pitch. That way the striker has a better chance helping his team win points because he’s been able to put his strengths to good use.
7. Keep Morale High
If a team goes on a run without winning games, it can then have a negative effect on the mindset of the players. It is then up to the manager to keep the faith and find a way to both give the players a morale boost and help turn around their fortunes on the pitch. Sometimes one can affect the other in this case. If a manager finds out what is troubling his players, he can then to the best of his abilities figure out a way to cheer the players up and get them in the right frame of mind for their next game.
8. Avoid Off The Field Problems
Not always possible, but whenever they do crop up. The key is to try and play them down to an extent so it won’t be as likely to have a negative effect on the players during an important match. It also goes back to the point about keeping morale high. Players obviously can’t ignore any problems affecting them or the club, but the best thing they can probably do is put it to the back of their mind and keep performing well in matches and on the training pitch.
9. Use The Team Captain
As well as the manager, it is also the job of the team captain to inspire his teammates to go out and try to win every game. The captain can also develop a stronger bond with the other players of the team, and can maybe even find other ways to motivate his teammates that perhaps the manager could not. Very often the manager will look to the captain to set an example and lead by it both on and off the pitch. And however a captain goes about his business can often be a key factor in how successful a team will be.
In interviews with players who have won trophies, one thing a lot of them mention is the fact that when their team won a trophy. The teammates they played with weren’t just colleagues, they were friends. It can really help a player when they know that if they are perhaps going through a rough patch whether it is on or off the pitch, they’ll have friends close by who can perhaps have the ability to help them through the tough times and get them back to their best again.
11. Remembering It Is A Team Game
It can be very easy for some players to forget that that they have teammates there to help them when they are taking players on and trying to do all the work themselves. When it works it looks incredible, but when it doesn’t, fans get frustrated and managers can be seen shouting all sorts of negative things towards the player for not using his teammates. That is why it is important for the manager to emphasise that it is a team game. That way if a player realises he has a great chance to score if he can just get past the final defender, he then realises that a better goalscoring chance will come if he plays a pass to his teammate who is in space and will be one on one with the goalkeeper.
12. If The Team Doesn’t Win, Try To Remain Positive
A team cannot win every match. So whenever a bad result comes, the best thing for the manager to do is to try and focus on any positive aspect from the game. While obviously the negatives cannot be ignored completely, if more attention is put on the positives. The players will hopefully remain upbeat and be determined to get the right result for their next match.
13. Avoid Making Headlines For The Wrong Reasons
Obviously when your team is successful you want people to take notice of them, but there are perhaps certain things that you don’t want as much attention drawn to for obvious reasons. For example, the team could play a fantastic game and win 3-0, but the story that makes the headlines is one of your players getting sent off for punching an opposition player in the same game. Now while emotions can run very high in football matches, especially in local derbies and games with a lot to play for, but strict discipline needs to be applied at clubs. If you set out the rules at an early stage and reveal what the consequences are to the players if they break them, it might be enough to encourage them to behave and make the headlines for all the right reasons instead.
14. Scout Your Opponents Thoroughly
To stand a chance in any game, you need to know exactly what it is that you are up against. That is why it is important that someone from your club has had a chance to see your next opposition play a game and know what style of football they play etc, but most importantly, find out what the teams weaknesses are and how your team can expose them and take advantage of them. It is up to the manager to either go himself, or send one of his scouts to an opposition match so that they can report back to the training ground the next day with a report on what they saw so that it gives the team plenty of time to perhaps adapt their style if they need to just so that they have the best chance of getting maximum points from their next game.
15. Do Not Underestimate The Opposition
Regardless of whether you are facing a team who are challenging for the title or fighting to survive, don’t ever underestimate them! Many times bigger clubs have taken on smaller ones and the smaller teams have often come away with a surprise result because they’ve sprung some tactical surprises on the bigger teams who had no idea how to deal with them. So as well as scouting the oppositions game, it is crucial to make sure that your own teams game is up to scratch and is prepared for any surprises that your next opposition will very likely have in store for you.
16. Choose Players Who Can Go The Distance
It is one thing having a group of quality players who can perform well at the start of the season and get people talking about them. But if they can’t keep up that level of performance for the whole season then they aren’t much use to your title challenge. It is then up to the manager to decide out of the players he has at his disposal which players he feels are capable of playing over 30 games a season and if he has players which just quite aren’t up to it for whatever reason, what other way can he use them so they can still aid the cause and help the club achieve its ultimate goal.
17. Combining Youth And Experience
It is a tried and tested formula that has been proven to be successful on many occasions. If a team can use players who have played the game for many years and know nearly every trick in the book, and combine them with younger players who the opposition know next to nothing about and can offer the element of surprise, then your team will prove to be a real handful against most teams in the league.
18. Squad Rotation
Taking into account the last two points, it is important to operate a squad rotation policy of some sorts for two main reasons. The first is that it allows players to be rested and kept fresh for bigger games and the second is that it allows players who perhaps are not first choice players in the team a chance to play and stake their claim for a regular place in the team if they play well.
19. Having The Support Of The Board
This is especially important if the results on the pitch have taken a bit of a dip. There will of course be a few select fans that have very little patience and would demand the board to take action and remove a manager from his job immediately after one or two bad results. It can also be very easy for the media to start producing stories along the lines of “One game to save his job.” And that can play on the minds on players, backroom staff and fans. The best thing the board can do in that situation is issue an official statement that rubbishes any rumours and shows that they are still giving the manager and the team their full support and will continue to do so in the hope that the teams results will pick up once again.
20. Having The Support Of The Fans
The last and probably most important method, the fans are the biggest part of a football club. They are the ones who pay their hard earned money to come and watch the team play and cheer them on to try and win every game. Whenever the wrong result comes along, some fans will boo and jeer, but the passionate fans will applaud the effort of the team, and sometimes that is all it takes. If the players can respond with a more positive performance next time and keep on going just through the support of the fans. It says a lot both about them as players and the high standard of supporters at the club too. So if a team is going to meet its target and win the league, the fans can still play a huge part just by continuing to turn up every game and cheering their hearts out for their football club.
So there you have it. 20 league winning methods that don’t include spending money on a player. There are many other methods to winning the league as well as the 20 above. But I believe that even if a team can master at least 15 of those methods mentioned. Then they are still going to mount a serious title challenge throughout the season.