Eugene McGee: Five tips for surviving in modern-day management
The moment of truth arrives for inter-county managers next weekend when the National League commences, with many attractive games scheduled.
Indeed, the league has had a new lease of life in the past few years despite the comments of those who insist on claiming "the league doesn't matter". So maybe it is an opportune time to offer a few guidelines to our beleaguered managers as they head off on their 2011 adventure.
Too many managers cannot resist yapping into a microphone whenever they see one. They also send too many text messages and, I presume, tweets. As a result, we are constantly reading and hearing every little tittle-tattle managers utter to the media, and some managers in particular talk more than our politicians -- which is saying something. So lads, spare us the trivialities, just give us things that actually matter. Otherwise, shut up and get on with improving your team.
Insist that your players stop giving away stupid frees. In match after match, teams give away the lead through defenders conceding frees simply because they are not concentrating on tackling the player in possession WITHOUT fouling. The closing stages of the Dublin-Cork semi-final last year was a prime example of this stupidity and it handed the game to Cork. Just go out and coach your players to stop fouling, lads.
Some managers nowadays are practically taking over players' lives. Training is obligatory in some form as often as five days a week. Diets are controlled. Social life is discouraged. Family commitments are dispensable as far as managers are concerned. Students are tramped upon as regards pressure and time near exams. Players need more freedom. Trust them more and control them less. You will gain more in the long run.
Managers, do you realise that many of you are detested by most club players and club managers because of the way you manipulate club fixtures from May to August? Pre-planned fixture lists for those months are dispensed with by you, leading to major disruption to players' lifestyles and antagonism towards the county team develops. That is no way to run a county team. Use your heads and let clubs play more regular matches. It will make everybody happier -- not least the subs on your extended panels who can go months without a game.
It is a great honour to be in charge of a county team. The manager is THE most important person in every county nowadays so relax, do your best and take personal satisfaction out of your work. Being a good manager is a very rewarding job and you should forget about that word 'pressure'. If you feel that way then the players will feel the same.
Enjoy the 2011 season and good luck!