Running On Auto Pilot


It is generally accepted that a manager brings out the best performance out of any individual or team. The jobs they perform may not seem like much on the surface owing to the relatively less time coaches get on the limelight compared to players they manage.

The role of a manager in modern day sports has increased or evolved from merely strategizing the best pathways to victory in the past, to promoting peak performance that get results. Athletes now look at the manager/coach they are under when considering future career expectations from themselves.

When it comes to team events, individual contributions may be less emphasized, but exceptional individuals stand out regardless. Sometimes we get really exceptional sportsmen who seem to be blessed with a natural excellence in their sport. When you put a few of those in a single team, it has the potential to blend into an extraordinary team.

Such teams are considered so good by virtue of the quality of players in their Arsenal that a lot of neutrals would be safe to assume that they likely could very well dominate in the absence of someone at the coaching front.

Even on the individual front, there are a few athletes who perform so well that we wonder if there was ever a need for a coach. One prime talent was Elena Isinbayeva in her prime years. She was so far ahead of the Pole Vaulting competition at the time I sometimes wondered if she was 'born that way'.

For teams, one that easily comes to mind is FC Barcelona football club during the early 2010s. They appeared completely dominant in whatever competition they faced and with the array of stars at their disposal at the time, it felt as if there was absolutely no added value a coach would bring.

It's no wonder really, as some superstar players are treated bigger than the coaches that manage them. Some managers these days are simply there to contain the egos of some of these superstar players, particularly in teams with multiple mega-stars. Imagine Benching Cristiano Ronaldo for successive games at Manchester United, or leaving out Kevin Durant from the Olympics squad after he indicated his interest in participating.

Who Needs Coaching Anyway

When players realize how difficult it is to find the best development pathway for their progress, then they begin to look for those who can. A proper coach needs good players to perform, but an ordinary coach can also achieve mediocre results with even the best of players. This is because, particularly with team sports, it is difficult to organize even the most talented roster into a single cohesive unit. That is the major job function of a coach. The best coaches are not necessarily master strategists, but master trainers and motivators who have figured out how to harness the potential of their athletes. Would Leicester City have won the Premier League Title if Ranieri was not at the helm of affairs at the time? Perhaps not.


Good Managers will remain underrated for some time to come. It doesn't mean their relevance can simply be shoved aside. The Clubs and players know this, and will go extra lengths to have the best on their side.