The Sports Psychology Blog
Today's Sports Psychology blog follows Sunday's All-Ireland Hurling quarter final between Waterford and Cork. A last minute decision by referee Brian Gavin to award Waterford a free, drew immediate criticism from Cork boss Gerald McCarthy.
GAA: Gerald McCarthy - The Blame Game
So referee Brian Gavin is in the firing line. His decision making called into question. Right or wrong? Either way it doesn't matter. His decision is final.
What should be of concern to Cork boss Gerald McCarthy, is why Waterford were able to put such telling pressure on his defence. Why did they even get close to forcing a telling scoring opportunity? Why weren't his side able to close out the game? Blaming the official, simply deflects blame from his players.
Blame creates a smokescreen and fog, which can blind a manager to the truth. It is an easy to apply response to compensate for disappointment. It negates the taking of personal responsibility.
In the moments after a defeat, a manager can help his player's personal and professional development by causing them to reflect on their own performance, instead of pointing the finger at officials for the outcome.
A clear diagnosis can occur, leading to analysis of individual and collective weakness, and thus the building of new habits and patterns to correct these faults. A 'no-blame' psychology takes the referee out of the equation. It must be remembered that the performance of the referee is an unmanageable. What can be managed and controlled is the performance of the players and the motivational and strategic skills of the manager.
The problem for managers and coaches, is that they are so often caught up in the heat and intensity of competition that they fail to appreciate those elements of the game that would balance their passions. It is often difficult to step back and see events from a larger perspective.
As the great Australian rugby league coach, Wayne Bennett, once said, 'It's not the referee's fault we lost'.