The Context Of: Being Smarter Than Your Team's Coach

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Can you know more than your team's coach?

The statistical answer is yes. There will be a time when you definitely have the correct answer while the manager has the wrong one. It's just going to happen. However, during a Newcastle match, the fans were hearing "you don't know what you're doing" at Sam Allardyce.

Sam Allardyce could of course have a bad day but on his worst days, he still knows more than anyone in the stance. Such a definitive statement could only come from a scientist or a total idiot.

There are reasons to think you are smarter than your team's coach

Linear Thinking

You are one person with one brain and one way of thinking. You are not forced to deal with players going against you in the locker room, you don't have to deal with the board above you. You don't have to manage an ambitious assistant seeking to take your job or have to justify your picks to the media.

Assuming you are a logical person, you'd be only making your conclusions based on what you see in front of you. However, most things aren't happening in front of you. A manager's job is a team's effort and has way more tasks than picking a starting eleven.

There are decisions made for the long-term or a coach wanting to try something out or taking a step back to take two steps forward. There are reactive changes or decisions made based on performance during training.

Missing the moment the coaches turned to pros

There are decisive moments like Mourinho winning titles with Portugal. But, most coaches don't have something like that leading your club to sign them. Therefore, those coaches are just "lucky" they got the job. They don't deserve it as far as you're concerned. You feel it was easy for them to get the job so it's easy to criticize them.

Those are the answers to thinking that you're smarter than your team's coach. What about actually being smarter than your team's coach.

Let's start with the reverse of the last point

The coaches might have actually gotten their jobs through their connections or name-weight. There are way too many examples to list but my team's previous coach Ole can be counted as an example. Some coaches didn't even finish their coaching certifications until after they got the job.


You could actually have been so passionate about your team that you have done all the research, read all the necessary books, and constantly challenged yourself by watching and analyzing games non-stop.

On the other hand, the coach was getting bored or annoyed with their daily routine. They don't even feel the need to renew their ideas and learn a new thing or two. Some coaches keep their same team behind them so there are no new ideas that come to them while you may have actually figured out a better formation that suits your team better.

Many players and coaches treat their jobs the same way any employee would. It's just a means for them to pay the bills. So, the levels of passion might actually go on your side.


Most coaches in charge of teams are over 50. Most have missed the data analysis revolution that happened in the last few years. You can't teach these managers anything. In fact, you can't teach most people anything at that age.


Coaches being anti-data and their commitment to old traditions and habits they learned while starting as coaches. Many of those ideas have actually proven to be wrong and only worked because it way all teams doing it.

That only leaves those coaches with one method of learning, interactions. They interact with other teams, learn a thing from them and apply it until it fails and then they try the other thing that beat their old thing.

That's not a bad method per se. But the problem is that it could transfer the wrong information as much as it would a good one. The point of data and analysts is learning why something worked or didn't. If it was all about the result, then Liverpool shouldn't have hired Klopp. But, a look at the data and analyzing how and why he failed during his last season at BVB made the decision to hire him.

Because you're an asshole

Going back to the very first paragraph of this post with Newcastle fans chanting "you don't know what you're doing" at Sam Allardyce. That's the simplest reason why any coach wouldn't change his way of thinking. I mean, would you listen to someone screaming insults at you and mocking you online?

Even if the crowds demanded something, and even if that something was right, it comes down to pride and dignity. Way too many examples to cite. But, the fact is no one would change the way they do their job just because a person who's been only watching them tells them to change it.

Coaches not only hate and despise you but they also pity for giving the sport more emotions than it deserves. Some even think that this amount of screaming and anger is a sign of how miserable your life is.

So, can you know more than your team's coach?

Yes, no, maybe. It doesn't matter. Experiments proved that the passion and emotions we feel toward the game don't matter to the manager or any powerful person at a club.

It didn't matter to someone like Bartomeu whose biggest qualification to running Barca is previously being in charge of the basketball department. He was hated by everyone and still spent millions upon millions without learning anything or even caring.

It doesn't matter to someone like Ed Woodward despite controlling the mood of hundreds of millions of fans on the planet just because he is a great accountant who makes the Glazers money despite not knowing anything about football.

Clubs won titles thanks to luck, got relegated thanks to luck, and coaches got undeserved glory while those who deserved it didn't.

My final message in this post is

  • How many people actually know more than the coaches?

  • Does it matter?


Bringing the Rabona Curation Trail in here!




Everyone's smarter than their boss though. That's a universal truth 😀

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