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Football leadership through the crisis: Paul McGee


2 Min Read

Apr 23 2020

Paul McGee gave a presentation to members of the Association of Sporting Directors based on a recent article he wrote titled ‘How to Cope in a Crisis or What to do When the Unexpected happens’.

The focus of the talk was on how we can help ourselves and others cope from a psychological perspective to deal with the current crisis. There were four key points.


  1. Understand how your brain works.

Drawing on the book by Daniel Kahnemann, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, we explored how our fast primitive and emotional brain can hijack us and potentially over react in an irrational way to events. It’s mantra of ‘act first, think later’ might not serve us well and we can have a tendency to feed our fears and lose a sense of perspective. We don’t want to ignore this part of our brain, but we do need to engage our slow brain which is where our rational, logical, reflective thinking takes place.


  1. Manage our Mental Diet

For the benefit of our mental and emotional wellbeing, it is crucial we are aware of what information we are feeding our mind. We explored three questions to ask ourselves on a daily basis:

  • What am I thankful four? (Four specific things you are grateful for)
  • How am I showing kindness to others?
  • How am I showing kindness to myself?


  1. Connection Counts

Humans need humans. We help ourselves and others when we connect with each other. Practise physical distancing but make sure you’re still socially connecting.


  1. Hippo Time is OK.

Hippos wallow and sometimes we need to do the same. Acknowledge all your emotions and accept ‘down days’ happen. It’s normal. However, ensure you don’t wallow for too long and remind yourself that how you feel is temporary. It’s part of  your journey, it’s not your destination.

Paul has worked with a number of Premier League clubs, most notably Manchester City. For more information on his work go to . His book ‘How Not to Worry’ is currently available to download for free on Kindle.

The full conversation from Thursday 16th April is available to ASD members. We are thankful to Paul McGee for his time and insight during the COVID-19 crisis.

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