Interview with Brendan Rodgers: Leicester City boss on motivational triggers and his use of neurolinguistic programming | Football news
Brendan Rodgers is always looking for those triggers. Anything he can use to motivate. He is a man passionate about psychology. He has studied neurolinguistic programming for many years and sees his job as getting inside the minds of his players.
“I used it so much back then from a personal point of view because I wanted to be the best father I can be to my children,” he says. Air sports. “How could I learn techniques that would help them? But that was to cover both myself – my professional life and my social life.
“It really opens your mind to your communication with people, which is so important. I’ve always relied on it. I’ve studied it for quite a long time and still feel the benefits.
“It helps me understand the players and what they want to accomplish. Most players know where they want to go. So how can we help them get there? What’s the plan?”
When James Maddison took note of Jamie Carragher’s criticism of Air sports in a game between Leicester and Sheffield United earlier this season, Rodgers sensed an opportunity.
Carragher mentioned that the player needed to add more goals and assists to his game. Maddison was the driving force behind the search for a solution, but Rodgers insisted on using it.
“It’s been an ongoing theme between him and me, but when you hear it from someone else he respects in the game, you can use it in a positive way.
“It was a great example of his state of mind. He got the positive from Carra’s observation. It tells you all about him and how he wants to grow and develop as a person.”
Did Carragher, who had once been on the verge of taking on a coaching role under Rodgers at Liverpool, finally took on the role?
“Absolutely,” he said with a smile. “He’s a friend from Leicester.”
Sometimes those little nuggets that trigger a reaction come from outside. On other occasions, they come from inside the club. That’s what happened when a throwaway line from Hamza Choudhury helped Rodgers exploit a feature of Harvey Barnes’ game.
“It was funny. It was just an outside conversation with Hamza. We were laughing because we were talking about an incident where Harvey got angry and was great. Hamza pointed that out. ‘He plays well when he’s angry, boss, he was like in the youth team.
“Again, you’re looking for triggers. You pick things up like that.”
Identifying what will inspire one player but have little impact on another is a skill Rodgers has learned through experience.
Building relationships is one of the key principles. That’s why these conversations are some of the first he has when a new player arrives. The summer signings Cengiz Under, Wesley Fofana and Tim Castagne have different backgrounds and objectives.
Rodgers’ job is to figure out what makes each of them tick.
“I always like talking with the players to find out what they want to accomplish because each individual is different. I think once you understand what their goals are and what they want to accomplish, you are looking to find that. commitment on their part.
“Of course they will have an environment to work in, but it is their responsibility. The crown is on their head. They are the kings of their own destiny. Wherever they want to go as a player, the possibility is there. But you have to dedicate your life to get to this level.
“So if someone tells me they want to be the best striker in the world or one of the best midfielders in the world, there’s a commitment to that, a job you have to do to get to that level, This standard is important to have a plan for them and how to get there.
“For many there are different sources of inspiration. For example Harvey’s father was a great player who had a very good career. He himself strives to have a good career in the game. , it is a professional ambition, for others, it is a social need.
“I’ve seen many examples of why people want to be successful. Every player will have their motivation. It’s about understanding who they are in order to better manage the person.
“My day-to-day job is to challenge players to test themselves, to keep pushing them to their limits to be successful. It’s about never putting them at ease.
“I think you have to do that with young players. When you’re an established player and you know the ups and downs of the game and you know where you are at, okay they may need a nudge every now and then, but this is especially the case for young players who are learning.
“You try to find ways to challenge them in a positive way so that they are successful. How can they become better or more efficient? You can never get tired of it. “
Fofana has been one of the stars of the Premier League season, impressing after leaving Saint-Etienne. The 20-year-old defender once again shone for Leicester in their 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park in midweek.
However, a heavy touch led directly to James Rodriguez’s first goal for the opposition. When asked about the youngster after the game, Rodgers chose to focus on the positive – framing the error in the context of Fofana’s overall performance.
“You can never hesitate to tell people what they need to hear, that’s clear. You can’t ignore something. But I always believe there is a way to say it. Everything in it. their professional life will not be 10 out of 10 But there is a way to make them understand it so that they come out with a positive feeling.
“I had an example with Wesley when we played against Southampton. I took him out early in the second half because I felt he was on a yellow card and he threw himself into a challenge. where he had to come out of it. I didn’t want it. felt like he couldn’t tackle because that’s a big part of his game. He’s aggressive.
“But I didn’t want to risk the team being down to 10 men, so I took him out. Then I have to explain to him before the next game why he had to go out and that it had nothing to do with it. performance and that is part of his development as a player.
“In his next game against Chelsea he was fantastic.
“You have to say things that they don’t always want to hear. But that’s the way you tell them. The response then is a lot more positive rather than beating them with a stick.”
There is a famous story of how Sir Alex Ferguson would sometimes call Wayne Rooney in the dressing room when he wanted to send a message to Nani. The legendary Manchester United manager knew Rooney could take him better than his teammate.
Rodgers heard it. He even has a story of his own. “I remember telling one player, who was a fantastic player, that it had to be his brother playing in the first half and now I wanted to see him come in and play well in the second half.
“But I’m not a town crier and a howler. I’m not sure it works. There are messages you can get across though. You have to be able to tell a story or find a moment to sting a player. to get a reaction. “
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This commitment to the conversation framing technique to ensure positivity is currently being tested to its limits. The loss of Jamie Vardy to injury at such a crucial stage of the season robs Rodgers of his talisman and the news that key midfielder Wilfred Ndidi will also miss the game against Leeds on Sunday is another blow for the team.
It would be easy to bemoan their absence, but Rodgers is wary of it. The challenge is difficult enough. Don’t look for excuses.
“Again, it comes down to how you frame it. If I’m sitting here talking about all the players that we miss, it doesn’t give a lot of support to the players who maybe are behind these.
“I’ve always tried to show the players here that confidence. It’s our collective job to find an answer. Of course, if you don’t have Jamie Vardy on that last line then he’s arguably the best. European player timing those races behind, so logic tells you you’re going to miss that. But can you find another way? That’s the challenge.
“For me it’s an exciting challenge. Okay, Wilf Ndidi is absent. Jonny Evans has missed games. Other players too. But let’s trust our abilities as a group, let’s trust the collective.
“Let’s find the idea together.”
Brendan Rodgers is always looking for those triggers.