Siege Mentality, Mourinho & Motivation

Siege mentality is a shared feeling of victimization and defensiveness. The term is derived from the actual experience of military defences of real sieges.


It is a collective state of mind whereby one believes that one is being constantly attacked, oppressed, or isolated in the face of the negative intentions of the rest of the world.

Why then would one of the World's most famous and successful sports coach's seem to be instilling such an approach within his team? Surely feeling like a victim, feeling defensive and believing you are being attacked is going to have a negative and tiring impact upon you?

Not necessarily.

One of the biggest dangers facing a team of highly talented successful individuals is complacency.

Believing you have already done enough and subconsciously taking your foot off the gas.

This is not just a danger facing elite groups of people, it affects us all. But at the highest level of sport, the margins are even smaller and the demands much more intense.

Human beings by design are motivated by two main forces. The force of avoiding pain and the force of gaining pleasure. Our brain is constantly analysing situations for these two things, way below our conscious awareness. Naturally it is more adept at detecting and avoiding pain due to our deeply ingrained survival instinct.

Now even though you would expect a group of elite athletes to be aware enough to not let complacency leak into their game, they are only human after all and the fact still remains - people will always do more to avoid pain compared with what they will do to experience pleasure.

Great coaches are aware of this very fact and they are also artful and skilful in getting the balance just right to keep the members of their team in the zone of optimal performance. A place where they are not feeling too much stress and also not feeling too much comfort. I like to call this the "sweet spot". Also referred to as the 'zone' in sports psychology terms.

Jose Mourinho is a master of this, as was Sir Alex Ferguson. Each encounter with the media is and was carefully executed to give them an advantage in keeping this balance within their teams. You will also notice many other coach's who do not use the media to their advantage, in fact they are sometimes at the mercy of the media and therefore this cascades down to the players. You may be thinking of a certain Kevin Keegan in April of 1996 when he lost his cool and let a 12 point lead slip away in the title race with many insiders suspecting that this heaped pressure on his players, which in turn inhibited their performance.

Being an artful and skilful leader is about knowing when to add pressure and when to release it.

#motivationalspeaker #performancecoach #sportspsychology #sportsmotivation #sportsleadership #josemourinho

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