I always find it interesting to read about why some teams are more successful than others. What are the reasons behind a team’s positive results? Have they done something differently? What’s been the secret formula?
I always want it to be something that enlightens me but I’m rarely satisfied with the explanations I get. It’s like everyone wants it to be because of a tactical change, an in-form attacking player or the new coach/manager. I feel we’re not asking the right questions when we always end up with the same answers. There must be more to a team’s success than the mere presence of the goalscoring striker.
I can’t remember when I heard the term ‘marginal gains’ for the first time but it’s been on my mind ever since. Small improvements that over time accumulates to significant improvement when they’re all added together. I believe that the clubs who focuses on marginal gains will see their results improve over time.
We’ve been playing really well in FC Midtjylland lately and the talk has mostly been about the new tactical system that we’ve switched to. We’ve gone from a 4-3-3/4-4-2 to a 3-4-3. We’ve played entertaining attacking football while our defending’s been more solid than previously. Since the tactical change we’ve only lost once so inevitably people tend to dedicate our good form to the new formation. An easy and tangible explanation delivered by players, staff, supporters and media.
I agree that relations between us players have improved since the tactical change so it has definitely been a factor. But nobody could convince me it’s the ONLY factor behind the improved results. I want to believe that a team’s success is a result of small improvements during a longer period of time. In my mind there’s no such thing as a quick fix, in this case a change of system.
I’ve noticed first hand how things have improved for us players during my three years at the club. We went from having no breakfast to a poor breakfast and eventually to a fantastic breakfast buffé with scrambled eggs, smoothies, freshly baked bread, whole wheat pancakes, porridge, fruit and more. Our lunch has also improved thanks to a change of personel in the kitchen.
We now have a jacuzzi and a big ice-bath in our dressing-room which will help us in our recovery between games. There are also more players who are able to get treatments and massages during a working day thanks to a bigger group of physiotherapists on site in the mornings.
We’ve finally got a good artificial turf to train on when the weather worsens or in the build up to the away games against FC Nordsjälland and Silkeborg. The club has also built a couple of new grass pitches which means we can rotate from one to another and hopefully maintain the quality of the surface during autumn, winter and spring. A better pitch means the risk of getting injured is lower and you can maintain the quality during training sessions.
These are just some of the improvements the club has made that I feel doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The change of formation has definitely helped but the real work has been done in areas which people might not always value. Unfortunately it’s always ”sexier” to talk about wing-backs than about marginal gains.