Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Playing Safe or Taking Risks? Some football-inspired thoughts..

Some of you will be interested in the tactics assumed by Scotland Manager, Craig Levein in the recent Scotland football match against the Czech's. The 4, 6, defensive strategy packed the midfield and was designed to squeeze a draw or, even better, a win on the break. It failed and Scotland lost 1.0. However the formation caused uproar, being tagged 'negative',  'pointless' and 'dull'.  But might there be some merit in being strategic in such defensiveness at times?  I guess Levein's thinking was that if Scotland set up to 'win', they would be unlikely to score enough to overtake the number of goals they would concede. Thus rather than being a risk, the approach was doomed to fail, and accordingly an act of folly. More likely to succeed was the opposite - a total blanket defence, which at worst would concede few and at best might manage a draw.  Hence playing safe wasn’t about fear, but a reasoned, calculated option in the face of no real alternative.  It was a decision based on logic, and carried through in the knowledge that it would likely attract criticism whatever the outcome.   This offers a parallel to life – that sometimes it is the safer option that is the riskiest,  in terms of the criticism it can invoke. So the bravest may not always be those who duck and dive, and take every chance that comes along, but those who take reasoned decisions and stick to them whatever the consequence .

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