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Comment: How To Create A Winning Dressing Room

Tue 16th May 2017 | Football Club Management

In football, the dressing room takes on a surprising amount of significance. In simple terms, it is the place where the players get changed before and after games, but it’s also the strategy room where battles are won and lost and the counsellor’s office where grievances are aired and views are shared. With that in mind, here are five top tips for creating a winning dressing room.

Colour psychology

While the shade of a team’s dressing room walls might be somewhat dictated by the colour of their kit, colour psychology can be incorporated to change the atmosphere of a dressing room prior to kick-off.

Red is a formidable shade that conveys anger, hunger and passion, and it’s a visceral colour associated with some of football’s most successful clubs, including Manchester United, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Liverpool and Benfica. For teams that would prefer to go out with clear heads instead of an aggressive mentality, blue is linked to calmness, creativity and intelligence, and it has worked wonders for Chelsea and Manchester City in recent years!

White, the colour of Real Madrid, is also hugely symbolic in football. If the shade is a little too plain for the situation, try combining it with green for the renewal and growth the team is experiencing together or gold for the abundance and prosperity that will be enjoyed once the end goal has been achieved.

Prioritise facilities and technology 

Gone are the days when the manager had the unquestionable faith of every single player. With most top-level players now earning millions and managers at risk of losing their job with every negative result, players’ wishes have got to be considered.

When players are shown stepping out before matches, they are inevitably decked out in the latest set of Beats headphones, and the dressing room needs to be just as technologically advanced.

Washroom facilities should be up-to-date, allowing players to go whenever they need to rather than having to wait for a team-mate. Instead of the magnetic whiteboard of the past, many top-level teams now incorporate televisions with carefully edited video packages of today’s opposition.

Create a comfortable environment

The job of the players is to go out, play their game and achieve a good result. With that in mind, the dressing room should be tailored to ensuring they are as comfortable as possible. Tales abound of English football teams in the 1980s and 1990s ensuring that the away dressing room was cold, dirty and without running water to psychologically outwit their opponents, but you should avoid scenarios like this as much as possible.

Players should have access to nutritious food and isotonic sports drinks, along with any extra training kit that is required. Consider the general cleanliness of the dressing room. With a dozen men showering and getting changed in there week in and week out, it is susceptible to a fair amount of mould and condensation, so think about investing in an Andrews dehumidifier to dry the room out.

Choose the playlist carefully

The manager should show the players he trusts them to motivate themselves by allowing them to choose the music that is played in the dressing room. If players have different music tastes and clash over what is being aired, set up a music rota and place different players in charge of the club Spotify each week. Whether it’s a guitar-heavy rock classic or the latest hip-hop beat, music can have a huge impact on the team’s preparation.

Give players a set position

All of the top clubs now have dedicated spots in the dressing room for players to prepare themselves, whether they’re marked out with the players’ names or just their kit complete with squad number.

Placing players next to each other prior to the game encourages conversation and could spark friendship. If the team relies on the camaraderie between two strikers or the understanding of a goalkeeper and his back four, allow this dynamic to grow organically.

Similarly, if there are players in the team who don’t get along, ensure they are placed well apart from each other so they don’t come to blows or disrupt the rest of the team. At Manchester United, Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham barely spoke despite being strike partners, while Newcastle’s Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer once fought each other on the pitch.

Avoid these situations at all costs and follow the other tips outlined in this article, and you should find yourself with a winning dressing room in no time!


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