With two boys from my tennis groups I run a bet, which soccer team will be further in front next week in the ranking of the national soccer. The VFB STUTTGART, this is the club for whom the boys fever, or the SC Freiburg, with which I feel linked since my studies in this lovely city. At the moment the SCF lies with four points in the front. The VFB stands on the last place in the ranking.
However, why do I tell this here and what deals with coaching and club consultation?
After a long failure series the VFB has already dismissed his coach and the manager. Fans and club management hope, that in such situations changing the coach brings the new impetus. The new coach should motivate the team again and bring back the success with new ideas. The SCF goes another way. Even in a bad ranking, a dismissal of Christian Streich, the meanwhile long-standing coach, is not taken into consideration.
Surely the club management of the VFB has enough „experts“ in its own rows or had consulting from external „experts“. However, can the club management count on these „experts“? The psychologist and nobel prize winner for economy, Daniel Kahnemann, shows, that in the most social areas statistical averages, so-called „scores“ deliver better information, than the putative expert’s knowledge!
In the area of „changing the coach“ numerous investigations and statistics show that in most cases this brings no (!) improvement of the sporty situation. Surely there are exceptions of the rule, but they make the decision in most cases not „more reasonable“. Sportsmen believe, even more than other people, in rituals. The ritual of changing the coach simply seems to belong to crises. This is comparable, nevertheless, with „gambling“ on the stock exchange.
This „expert’s illusion“ is viewable in another example, that professor Miki Bar-Eli (Ben Gurion university in Israel)*, in 2013 guest lecturer in the sports-scientific institute in Tübingen has shown: Statistically most soccer players decide in a penalty kick to shoot on the middle of the goal. For the goalkeeper it would be the most reasonable to stop in the middle of the goal. Already seen? It seems rather seldom!
With changing the teamcoach or manager, the club signals outwardly and inwards that he gets active. In a similar way, the goalkeeper decides himself for a movement to the left or to the right. He follows the ritual that a goalkeeper should show at least action. Having acted myself a longtime as a soccer goalkeeper (in which time we won the German Cup for Colleges with Freiburg PH), by no means, this „false action“, this „expert’s illusion“ is close to me.
Nevertheless, both decisions“, the „illusion of successfulness“ of changing the coach and the rituals of the goalkeeper, can provoce high costs for the club. At least in the professional sport.
*Lit: Judgment, Decision-making and Success in sport“ by Michael Bar-Eli, Henning Plessner, Markus Raab