Jose Mourinho is probably more skilled at sports psychology than I am.
After all, he is a man who has managed football clubs to countless trophies in Europe’s top leagues over the past 15 years, whereas I am a man who has a bin bag full of discarded pizza boxes in the corner of my kitchen because I forgot to put my already-full recycling bin out for collection last week.
Having said that, perhaps the tide is turning. While writing this, it has dawned on me that there is a cardboard recycling bin in the car park of my local Asda that I could take advantage of, and additionally, Mourinho has once again activated his occasional game of publicly shaming his players if he feels they have wronged him.
Which can’t be good for the confidence and performance of said players, can it?
I’ve had a bit of a think about whether I could manipulate the mind of the top-class sporting professional and have decided that as I’ve successfully raised two kids (Connor and Callum), so I must have plenty of tried and trusted parenting methods that Jose might like to deploy instead of just telling Luke Shaw that he’s sh*t and hoping it’ll make him pull his finger out.
Bringing up children is all about helping them to blossom as if they are a flower. Coax them into growing by showering them with the raindrops of praise.
Try to turn every negative into a positive and empower them by encouraging constructive thoughts at every turn. Maybe don’t bawl at them while they’re trying their best at a given task and then doubling up by slagging them off in the glare of the world’s media.
Definitely never done that with my kids. Yet.
Ration smartphone use
If I was a top, top player with loads of time on my hands, I’d probably spend that time on the internet, looking at pictures of former Bangles frontstress Susanna Hoffs or ITV weather queen Lucy Verasamy.
But my sporting performance would almost certainly begin suffer and I’d probably start walking funny as well.
Likewise, children need boundaries and a limit on their ‘tech time’, which is why any right-thinking manager should confiscate his players’ phones when they’re at work, and maybe allow them to watch 20 minutes of a Bing Bunny DVD once they’ve done ALL their training exercises and eaten up all their dinner, while sitting nicely with straight backs and no talking.
With children, the carrot and stick approach always works better than just beating them with either the carrot or the stick… or both… or with the carrot taped to the end of the stick for greater power and accuracy. Apparently.
Mourinho should encourage his players to play better with the lure of a reward for the best performance, like the treat Lord Sir Alan Sugar gives to the winning team on The Apprentice each week.
Perhaps Jose should treat his star performers by letting them sit at the front of the team bus, near to the driver. Or he could let them look through a collection of laminated photos of Susanna Hoffs and Lucy Verasamy.
I don’t know where he’d be able to get his hands on such a collection though. Cough.
Ignoring bad behaviour
Back in January, when Riyad Mahrez spat his dummy out and hurled his toys out of the pram because Leicester wouldn’t sanction his dream move to Manchester City, how was the situation handled?
A club fine and then Mahrez was allowed to retake his place in the time, as though his conduct was acceptable. Wrong. Bad behaviour should be ignored by all of the responsible, well-behaved children and footballers.
They should have shunned Mahrez, pretending that he didn’t even exist, until he had learned his lesson.
Maybe right through until the end of the season, when he’ll be f***ing off anyway.
Make them sleep in a crate
If you don’t want your children to do toilets on the floor at night or chew the kitchen cupboard doors while you’re asleep, a metal crate is a perfect place to put their bed so that they can learn about boundaries and appropriate behaviour.
Jose Mourinho should maybe try this with the errant Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba – the improvement in their attitudes bith on and off the pitch will be almost immediate.
Sorry, it’s dogs. This one’s about dogs. Sorry!