At a very basic level I’m sure many of us can remember standing on a school sports field, with a strong, bitter wind driving stinging rain or sleet into our increasingly blue tinged legs. During those times trying to remain completely focused on the game and the task in hand was almost impossible, in fact simply ensuring you didn’t get hit on the back of the thigh with the cold, wet ball seemed far more important than getting a win.
Of course things are somewhat different in modern, professional sport, clearly you would expect that given the kind of money involved, but ultimately we are still dealing with human beings and human emotions here and that is very important.
Even before the start of a game the weather can and often does start to impact players, management and coaches on a psychological level. Watching rain pour onto a already wet pitch hours before a rugby match is due to start does affect peoples thinking. Quite often management is forced into significant changes to the tactics they have worked on all week, with the players then needing to focus on how they might adapt to those changes, as well as the conditions both in the air and underfoot. All of this simply adds to the anxiety around the already highly pressured pre kick off period, meaning quite often by the time players run out onto the rain soaked park their minds are anything but focused.
Of course conditions are the same for both teams, but there is a very clear advantage to be gained by the side that knew on Tuesday morning they would most likely be dealing with these kind of conditions on Friday evening – in fact arriving to find things exactly as expected weather wise and knowing you’ve trained all week to take advantage of it then becomes very much a positive, rather than a negative.
This increased confidence and clearer thinking then also feeds into the physiological side of things, because knowing what conditions to expect means players can prepare much better for the likely impact of a heavy pitch for instance.
From a coaching/management standpoint the advantages of accurate forecast information cannot and should not be underestimated, but in truth it still is by many. However the number of clubs that have embraced the concept continues to grow, especially in football, where the affects/impacts are much more subtle but no less important.
As the gap between the bigger and smaller clubs continues to shrink and things become tighter and tighter across many of the top leagues, gaining any sort of tangible advantage/edge over your competition continues to become increasingly difficult…the weather is one such edge however and at BWS we are here to help you use it.