What L&D can learn from elite football training

by L&D14 Apr 2016
The coach of the English Premier League team Southampton has experienced a similar problem to many companies focused on developing millennials.

Namely, Ronald Koeman’s team were not focused enough on direct communication and teamwork.

“Communication on the pitch is so important, even if it is just to help your teammates and say ‘time’ or ‘turn!’ ... For young players it is all about themselves and less about communication with the rest of the players,” Koeman told a conference in London.

The problem?

Mobile phones, social media, music …. the list goes on.

“When I was playing, we played cards on the coach when we went to matches, we talked and we had communication with each other," said Koeman.

“Now everyone just puts on his headphones and is in his own world.”

The solution?

Koeman is currently putting is players through 'Life Kinetic' training to improve both their concentration and cooperation.

Life Kinetic is a training program designed to stimulate neuronal learning processes and integrate new brain cells.

In a similar way to brain training, the purpose is to keep the brain active and developing by forcing it to complete unfamiliar actions. It works by combining exercises of different movement patterns, visual tasks and cognitive elements.

Tasks might include balancing, juggling and jumping around while reciting information from memory.

In one exercise, participants must throw their partner a ball while shouting out which hand they want it to be caught in.

At the same time, while catching the ball their partner must step forward with their opposite leg.

For example, if you say "left" your partner has to catch the ball with their left hand and take a step forward with the right leg.

Once somebody masters an action, they're given something else to focus on and the tasks become progressively harder.

According to their website, workplace professionals are using Life Kinetic to become more stress resilient, while students find that it helps them concentrate better.

Moreover, it cites scientific evidence which shows that one hour of Life Kinetik training per week will improve your physical and mental well-being by delaying symptoms of dementia and improving your ability to concentrate.