Coaching: Heart vs Mind

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

The importance of both of these attributes can never be undermined. Pundits always argue which one has more weight, which of these two is more important and which one should be prioritized. The answer changes depending on your profession, but in mine, I have come to the understanding that although both are crucial, MIND must be the ultimate ruler.



Soon into coaching I realized that heart alone was not having the impact I hoped for as a manager. The MIND has to take over. The closest you can get to the pitch is your toes on sideline and the three main aspects that are controlled under your mind include: psychology, player choice, and analysis. Psychology relates to how can you influence the group as a collective and each individual to reach optimal performance. Tactical Analysis is the information you can dissect from the opponent in order to exploit their weaknesses and utilize your strength. Player choice is putting these two aspects together and see if you can influence the game with your personnel selection.


Now, I am not saying the heart won’t be useful, but now it becomes a tool. My heart will give me hints about what type of psychology to use with a specific player and how to inspire them. My heart will give me clues in what type of players will be most useful for a specific game, and the type of tactical setup we should use, BUT at the end of the day the job is to take a step back and ask yourself why? Why would I make that choice?


The challenge is that it then becomes an internal battle arguing with your own gut instinct, which as a manager is your job to make sure every decision is well thought and revised. A manager that only relies on the heart will have a lot of conflicts along the way.

It’s been hard to transition from the impulsive player I was to a more methodical manager. The ideal scenario is where your heart and mind regulate each other in a productive way. Where you can analyze feelings and give them a tangible reason to exist, but at the same time train your mind to listen to the clues our heart is throwing at you. It might sound easy as you read this but believe me, this is a life-long learning experience. The key lies in being conscious of this dynamic and acknowledge that these two aspects must coexist in harmony to make you a better coach.


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