What Would That Do For You, Your Team….?

The outcomes of the world’s professional sporting leagues, vital financial income, the glory of historically-embedded titles, the joys of promotion, the agony and price of relegation, and ultimately the principle of fairness, are often said to rest on the role of the Home Advantage.

But is it a Home Advantage?

Home advantage research gives us hard statistics about our deeply cared for sports; football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey…, and tell us of the role of enclosed stadia, vocal fans and the playing surface.

But there’s also the statistical challenge of the Away Disadvantage. That is, the away team’s loss of familiarity and home comforts that negatively affect their desired physical and psychological preparation and performance state.

Clubs will know their stats for both.

Is there a Mind-Set Disadvantage?

But all this leads me to consider whether in fact across a season we have a Mind-Set Disadvantage? Has the concept of Home Advantage or Away Disadvantage become so embedded in players’ hearts and minds that it filters through to how they approach and play the game – at home and away?

Now I’m sure that within any dressing room, there are as many different states of readiness and reasons for that state as there are players. But either way, are our sports, is your club, missing a trick?

Is there an ‘Anywhere, Anytime Mind-Set Advantage’?

When I discuss this with Paul, my fellow Director and a former Royal Marine, it’s clear that the concept of Home Advantage, Away Disadvantage, or individuals never being anything but totally ready, is alien to him.

HM Royal Marines predominantly operate overseas. As a matter of course, they expect and prepare to be anywhere in the world. Sea, land, jungle or ice, night or day, they work with limited and changing resources. They switch between combat and humanitarian work in the blink of an eye. But always expect to excel, to succeed, and to return with their fellow ‘Royals’: They appear to have an ‘Anywhere, Anytime Advantage’ Mind-Set.

Now it’s not reasonable to expect anyone out of the Royal Marine’s job spec and circumstance to have to deal with these conditions or to prepare in their way. But are there lessons in the mind-set? For the way in which professional sports people are encouraged to think, to train and approach the game?

Questions to Ask of Your Players and Organisation?

If any player’s performance mind-set and/or state of readiness is tainted by a hint of a belief in the Home Advantage or Away Disadvantage, does it:

  • Affect their ability to play?
  • Influence the result?
  • Have real consequence for the Club?

If so, should we instead be aiming to achieve the ‘Anywhere, Anytime Advantage’ Mindset?

We hope this article has been of interest and helpful.

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