Ben Burgess column: The science behind sporting success

Recently, I have had the '˜pleasure' of witnessing quite a few National League games at AFC Fylde.

Friday, 2nd March 2018, 7:00 am
Clark Robertsons goal at Portsmouth was watched by his father who had made a 1,000-mile round trip to attend the game

While all the talk in the Premier League is about Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s magical attacking football or Jose Mourinho’s cautious counter-attacking style, the National League has its own unique ideas.

Last week, I saw Dover Athletic take on Fylde.

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As well as having the single best name on their team sheet – Nortei Nortey – they also adopted an interesting system of playing man to man all over the pitch.

This was helped by the fact that all of their players were 6ft 2ins and extremely athletic.

It isn’t a system I have seen attempted before and AFC Fylde had to really adapt to get the better of them.

Even though Dover lost the game, they are still performing well in the league and I’m all in favour of new and innovative ideas in football – apart from VAR.

Someone who does think he’s innovative is Sol Campbell.

The former Spurs, Arsenal and England regular was rather frustrated that he had been overlooked for the Oxford United manager’s job.

Instead of being self-reflective and trying to understand what he lacked and what he needs to add to his repertoire to be considered for manager’s jobs, he decided to chastise the whole of English football.

Sol believes he’s been rejected for many jobs because people are intimidated by his intellect and ideas, even going as far as to describe himself as ‘one of the greatest minds in football’.

I think someone needs to inform Sol that referring to yourself in the third person and speaking slowly does not make you intelligent.

I can only imagine the arrogance he would manage with after he also said the running a football club in the lower leagues is not ‘rocket science’.

Gary Bowyer probably thinks rocket science is easier than being a manager after working under the strained ownership situation at Blackburn Rovers and now at Blackpool.

Last Saturday saw the Seasiders produce a fantastic performance against the odds – again – to beat play-off chasing Portsmouth 2-0.

It was no coincidence that the victory coincided with the return of talismanic striker Kyle Vassell.

Vassell scored the opener on his return and rather surprisingly, it was Clark Robertson who grabbed the vital second goal.

Robertson’s goal was all the sweeter after his dad had made the 1,000-mile round trip to watch his son play.

That show of dedication, alongside a rather interesting talk from a neuroscientist that I attended had me questioning how important parental/family support is when it comes to sport and everyday life.

The neuroscientist discussed the nature v nurture debate and how we can never know someone’s real potential until they’re dead!

To be successful in life you need many stars to align in your favour.

Look at the greatest sportsmen and women; as an example, Usain Bolt was born with the correct physical attributes to run fast, but so are thousands of others.

He happened to be born in Jamaica, which has a history of top sprinters.

He found an amazing coach that could manage his personality and through that coach, and his own dedication, he managed to become the best.

I was fortunate to have a father who loved football and who always gave me advice.

I grew up in the middle of nowhere so I was always reliant on the support of my mum and dad to drive me to training and to games.

I was one of the lucky ones but sadly, for so many children the opportunities are not there for them to achieve what they are capable of, both in sport and life.