Saturday, June 14, 2008

Success is a moving target

Ten Reasons Why Change is so Hard to Introduce in Sport

By Wayne Goldsmith | In Hot Topics

Change is one of the most talked about aspects of sport.

But change is also one of the hardest things to actually introduce successfully and sustain in any sporting environment.


Because people who introduce change are often seen as radicals or “ratbags” or people who know nothing about the sport or people who don’t understand the sport’s culture or similar negative label.
Change innovators in sport have to fight through three phases to make a real difference:

Ridicule - Real innovators, lateral thinkers and change drivers have to first face the conservative thinkers in the sport who will label their push to change as stupid, ill informed and ridiculous.

Resistance - If the idea gets through Phase 1, it then meets hard opposition from people who are benefiting from the current thinking and who will fight hard to resist new ideas and any challenge to their position and beliefs.

Acceptance - finally if you can get through the days, weeks, months or even years of fighting, political maneuvering, back stabbing and other obstacles you have to overcome, you can introduce real change and ensure the sport progresses.

There are two true but conflicting statements I can confidently make about competitive sport:

Change is critical - it is essential to survive. In competitive sport, the faster you can accelerate your rate of change - faster than your opposition - the more likely it is you can sustain competitiveness and win BUT

Sport is incredibly conservative. It is more resistant to change than almost any other area of society and some people will resist change to the point of seeing the club or sport fail if it means changing their beliefs and their position.

How can people possibly defend this conservative position?
In sport, more than most other human endeavours, “success is a moving target”. Athletes, coaches and teams who are first at introducing new ideas and innovations and usually the winners, the champions, the gold medalists, the premiers - the success stories.

So, if change is the life blood of being successful in competitive sport, why are so many people so determined to “open an artery” and let the sport bleed to death rather than embrace the change process?

Read the rest and many other excellent articles at

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