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Don’t sack the coach!

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September 17, 2008

Image courtesy of Nicholas Moreau

Image courtesy of Nicholas Moreau

September 17, 2008 It’s a global remedy to a common problem – when your team isn’t performing, sack the coach. It happens across all sporting genres, and … it doesn’t work. That’s the conclusion of a study from Mid Sweden University about hiring and firing coaches in the Swedish Elite Series ice-hockey league during the period 1975/76-2005/06. The findings are also generally applicable.as the study confirms the situation is roughly the same in all major team sports, including soccer.

Bringing in a new coach rarely solves problems, regardless of when it is done, according to the study. The researchers reviewed all game results and all coach replacements in the Elite Series during the period 1975/76-2005/06 using data retrieved from the Swedish Ice-Hockey Association database.

“The results of our study indicate rather clearly that it was a mistake to replace the coach in all of these cases,” says Leif Arnesson at Mid Sweden University, one of the three researchers who carried out the study.

“The Study shows that replacing the coach seldom solves the problem, no matter when it is done,” says Leif Arnesson. “If you’re thinking about getting a new coach, you should at least avoid making your move while the season is underway. A word of advice to those who are in charge of recruiting coaches is therefore: ‘Don’t replace the coach, at any rate if you have a good coach, if you’re in the middle of the season, or if the team is in trouble.’”

The aim of the study was to identify the relationship between coach replacement and team performance and to investigate the effect of factors such as coaching ability, coaching experience, and time of replacement.

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