Football: Arsenal – The Team Code

On Saturday morning, Arsenal’s players were given reminders of the team code, by their sports psychologist. One of the players, left the briefing document in his hotel room, and two days later, the ‘rules’ were all over the national papers.

Some of the journalists described the document, as Arsene Wenger’s master plan. The critcal insight, that finally broke the sacred seal, on Wenger’s secret guide to success.

In reality, it’s not like that. Wenger has clearly brought in a sports psychologist, to help strengthen the team dynamic. The document highlights key points and reminders, which the group have presumably, worked on together, pre-season.

For example, it states that, ‘The driving force of a team, is it’s members ability, to create and maintain, excellent relationships within the team, that can create an extra dimension and robustness, to the team dynamic’.

The player relationships, form a key part of the Arsenal team strategy. This appears to be the key, to creating a united group at Arsenal. When relationships are strong, players don’t want to be seen letting each other down.

It’s also stressed, the importance the team brings, to the players individual lives. Intimating that the core values go beyond football, and if the player recognises that, they will show their appreciation, through their positive attitude to the team on the pitch.

Building a team dynamic through the power of relationships, can be like having a twelfth player working for you. The connection between the players, can become an unbreakable bond, that will see them through, and give them strength in adversity.

There are then fourteen individual traits, for players to focus on. A player will probably pick one or two, to serve as reminders or goals, for the game. Clearly when all the traits are active, you create a very powerful team. Presuming the players buy into this process.

If some don’t, then it’s up to the stronger minded players, to offer reminders, about the team agreements, shaped in the pre-season.

Once the team dynamic builds, and players feel the value and benefit of those relationships, through success, then they will strive hard to keep the standards. It’s when a team starts losing, that work such as this becomes a chore for players. However Arsenal’s positive start to the season, will reinforce the players belief in the team ethic.

There is nothing original or different, about Arsenal’s team code. But, it demonstrates, that a clear and simple guide to behaviours and attitudes, can make the difference, between building a team that works together, and one that doesn’t.

Posted in Football Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.