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What’s common to a CEO of a company and a football coach in the world cup in Brazil.

June 30, 2014

I post this psychological comparison between a CEO of a company in Wall Street and a football coach of a team playing in the world cup in Brazil for the purpose of alerting a diamond in the rough coach to excellence. I will describe both in my peaceful revolution blog on how to relate to people ( and in my psychology of investing blog on how to make money ( In my presentation at UCLA in 2011 on behavioral economics I stated that the behavior and personality of a CEO of a company trading on Wall Street is always the major variable in its distribution of share prices. If you want big returns you buy shares in great CEO’s like Jobs, Page, Brim, Besos, Zuckerberg and so on. If you want big wins in sports you hire great coaches like john Wooden. Great coaches and great CEO’s are rare!

I think that most of you believe that to relate well to people, make a lot of money and win games in sport is not that simple or easy to do. Well, I got psychological news for you, not only it is simple and easy to do but the world cup in Brazil shows that my CEO theory applies also to Coaches in Sports. Investors underestimate the importance of a CEO to their earnings and countries and team managers underestimate the importance of a Coach to the national team’s winning games. For example, today, the Netherland with skilled players almost lost to Mexico with passionate players. Both have average coaches that underestimate the importance of focusing on scoring goals, Netherland by spending a lot of time on passing and elegant play and Mexico by spending a lot of energy on running around and playing one-on-one for goal possession. Another good example of average coaches are Costa Rica and Greece. Their coaches emphasize long kicks towards the opponent field but without much success (training). Their long passes from one side of the field to the other were sloppy and hard kicks toward the goal were few and far between.

So far I haven’t seen a great coach in Brazil, may be Costa Rica but I doubt it. A great CEO produces great products and services. A great coach produces goals. Where are they? Agreat coach emphasizes team spirit and the following exercises in practice training: Practice successful penalty kicks toward the opponent goal frame untill all 11 players can do it well and at least 4 can do it focused 9 out of 10 times. Successful kicks that hit the corner net from 30-40 matters at least 50% of the tries. Pinpoint kicks from difference players and distances in the field. Practice perfect corners kicks to the goal area until you are blue in the face so important that practice is. And add great skill head kicks. Long arched kicks that change the focus of the game from front and back and left and right. Long, medium but not short quick sharp passes from player to player. Coordinated attack plan on the goal from 2 well-trained forward players who practiced the attack plan to the hilt. A great coach is in command of his teamwork and trains players in behaviors on the field and in a classroom until they are good. Such a coach knows how to teach his players how to convert their anger at an opponent’s behavior into goals. The key to a great coach is how he sets up the training sessions in behaviors, what he makes his team members practice throughout the year. He is a designer of victories! I would like to predict that Brazil will win the world cup in 2014 because it is good and a host country but I don’t know their coach and there are 4 additional variables in the world cup play of about 10% value each besides the 60% coaching that determine victory.

I am not a sports psychologist but I am a behavioral psychologist and soccer is a behavior. I watched European football since childhood. A great foot ball coach at the world cup tournament at the caliber of a great CEO like Steven Jobs should train his players to perform key behaviors 100%. They should practice to pinpoint corner kicks to focus on the best area for a goal. A great coach trains his players to avoid kicking balls back as a strategy, double their awareness and kick the ball to a team player in the open in a strategic position, keep a forward twins (trained together) always ahead and ready to kick to each other and to the goal, learn to pin point long kicks, keep records of each player’s total mileage and average speed on the field, pace the game fast with periods of play rests, practice a lot to aim the kick better (especially avoiding a kick above the opponent’s net, avoid penalty kicks above the goal bar, avoid one-on-one struggle for possession of a ball unless you have perfect skill and control of the ball (10% of players), practice receiving the ball and kicking it in fast from the air, repeat the sentence, “kick the ball into the net fast, scoring goals is the only purpose of the world cup, and accepting money as bonuses for goals is good.

I know, this is a long list of technical skill things to do to become a great coach. Don’t forget the psychology: Design team uniforms with subliminal messages to score and practice kicking toward the goal line with a big sign W(IN) in appropriated spots near the goal line. Create a team spirit by becoming a leader coach, friend, disciplinarian, father figure, a John Wooden, in short be the one out of ten! Go win games!

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