Posted: September 11th 2015
It was one of the most embarrassing things ever.
Proper red face and wanted the ground to swallow
About 7 years ago…
I’m on Holiday in Cuba and we go to Havana for
a couple of days. I go up to the room to get our
bags and come back down to the massive lobby
of the Hotel.
Grand ‘Old Havana’ building it was…
(Loved Cuba and it’s people)
So I’m coming down the classy winding stairs with
one bag over one shoulder and a carrier bag in my
I step on to the white-and-blue-tiled floor.
There’s a path of white tiles going around the
edges of the lobby.
But I decide to take a shortcut across the BLUE
So I step onto the BLUE tiles…and BOOM. I
disappear into a SWIMMING POOL of water.
They WEREN’T blue tiles.
It was WATER. I just didn’t SEE it.
I was stuck in my own head.
Best bit was all the people we were going on
a Bus trip with were waiting in the lobby. They
ALL saw it. And were dying laughing at me,
and joined by my girlfriend Rachel who had
no sympathy ha ha.
Rest of the trip I had to put up with a cockney
bloke saying ‘watch the step mate’ every time
I got on the bus.
REMINDS ME of a story about Arsene Wenger
told by one of his former players Lee Dixon,
now a TV Football pundit.
All the players were having Dinner
and Wenger goes up to get his dessert.
On the way back all the players notice that
Wenger’s ‘Jelly’ has wobbled out of his bowl
onto the floor and Wenger didn’t even notice.
Gets back to his seat, goes to scoop up a
mouthful of jelly…and OOPS…NO JELLY…
Wenger trying to work out where his Jelly
All the players have seen what’s happened
and they’re laughing their heads off.
“That’s Arsene” Dixon said “Always thinking
And for a Manager or Director of an Academy
like me, that’s natural. and can be very useful
to be ‘in your head’ thinking things over…
Especially BETWEEN games and training
But for a PLAYERS like YOUR SON who want to
put in TOP notch performances…
They need to play with their HEAD UP.
ALIVE to what’s going on around them.
I see a lot of players get STUCK in their heads,
like I was that day in Cuba.
The PROBLEM with this?
When you’re ‘in your head’ you can’t SEE what’s
going on around you.
And SEEING what’s going on around you. Is a KEY
‘How much space do I have?’
‘Where are my passing options?’
‘Can I beat this man 1 v 1?’
‘Can I score?’
‘Where’s my man (I’m meant to be
Playing with your HEAD UP, allows you to play
INSTINCTIVELY and in a free-flowing way.
Not from a ‘script in your head’, which makes
players’ cumbersome and poor decision-makers.
One of the boys I played with at the Swans as
a youngster was called ‘BINGO’ because he
always had his EYES DOWN.
Good for BINGO but NOT for Football ha ha.
Of course, to get BETTER at ‘SEEING THE GAME’
players need to be shown what the game ‘looks
like’ when it’s played well.
And that’s where we SHINE at TCSA
Have a great weekend
(That came round quick)
As a parent YOU need to ‘play with your HEAD UP’
Because if your son starts young enough with the right kind
of training (around 12 or Under), and applies himself properly
he WILL have clubs coming in for him from a higher level.
And you won't be able to do do anything to help him if you keep
your head down and let him sign for teams just because they
have a certain badge on their kit (when it's clearly not a good