One of your roles as a coach is to create a competitive advantage for your team. It’s this competitive advantage that will help you defeat the competition regularly and give you to best chance to achieve the ultimate success. Read on if you’d like to know how to create that competitive advantage.
What is a competitive advantage?
In layman’s terms, a competitive advantage is a factor or factors that allow one sporting team to perform to a higher level than its competitors. These factors allow the team to produce superior results and win more games.
In a sporting context, you could consider several things to be a competitive advantage. Things such as superior players, more or better training equipment and/or facilities, more experienced coaches, or a more effective game plan, would all give a team a competitive advantage. But are they within your control?
Of course, things like an effective game plan is well within your control. But, others, such as superior players and more experienced coaches may not be. Or are they?
Throughout the rest of this article, I’m going to give you the tips and advice you need to create your own competitive advantage in ways you may never have considered.
Creating a competitive advantage
There are not a lot of resources currently available for sporting teams on how to create a competitive advantage. So, to uncover how we can create a competitive advantage as a sporting team or club, we’ve taken a look at the advice given by those that literally live or die by their competitive advantage. That is corporate businesses.
Generally, most sporting clubs don’t have a lot of competition, however, corporate businesses are competing against competitors from all around the world. So, who better to seek advice on creating effective competitive advantages.
Below are the 5 ways corporate businesses create their competitive advantage. But, don’t worry, each has been revolutionised to directly relate and assist your sporting team and club.
1. Create a culture that attracts the best talent
Culture plays such a significant role within any sports club. It can also play a large role outside of your club, as a strong culture does attract quality people and players. To do this, however, your need to create a culture that is so strong that your people, players, staff, and supporters, talk and brag about it.
When members of your club are so proud of your culture that they start talking about it, others want to be a part of it. This is when quality players go out of their way to come to your club and join your team. This will provide you with a competitive advantage.
Read this article if you’d like to learn how to create a strong team culture.
2. Create your differentiation
Most businesses differentiate themselves from the competition in an effort to gain a competitive advantage. This same strategy can be used by coaches to gain an advantage over the rest of the competition.
By differentiation, I mean bringing something different to the game that is not considered normal. Most teams go about their play in very similar fashions, and usually, the results are determined by who executed best. But what if you brought something different that teams didn’t know how to play against. Some examples of this could be increasing the speed of play or slowing it down. It could be playing a higher percentage of smaller players or larger players than usual.
The point is to bring something to the competition that they haven’t seen before and don’t know how to combat. You know how the other teams will play and how to play against that, whilst the other teams will be scratching their heads when they come up against you. This will give you a strong competitive advantage.
It’s important to note that whilst differentiation could be your advantage, if handled the wrong way, it could turn into a disadvantage. This can happen by trying to put something into action that your players cannot execute. So be careful here and make sure any differentiation is clearly understood and can be easily executed by your players.
3. Maximise your strengths
Your team, just as any other, has its core strengths and abilities. This could be your fitness, experience, strength, leadership, skills, height, speed, etc. If you are unsure what your strengths are, you can ask yourself, what separates us from the rest of the competition? Whatever your strengths are, your style of play should be bringing these strengths to the forefront. This ensures your competition is always having to beat your strongest part of your game.
A great way to isolate your strengths as much as possible is to consider how you can use your strengths to create your differentiation. By creating something different that is solely based on your strengths will give you a huge competitive advantage.
4. Create strategic partnerships
When tackling the rest of the competition, you don’t have to be on your own. Creating strategic partnerships with other teams or organisations could provide you with significant advantages that the rest of your competition are missing out on. These partnerships could be anything as long as they provide you with some value.
Now, these partnerships could be with teams you compete against, where you may pool resources together to give you both a leg up. But in most cases, your advantageous partnerships would be with teams or organisations outside of your direct competition. Here are some examples of some strategic partnerships you could create.
Partner with a junior or senior club.
If you are not already associated with a junior or senior club, there are huge advantages in doing so. Junior clubs can get access to senior players who can help develop and mentor younger players. Whilst senior clubs can benefit from a regular influx of junior players once they graduate from the junior sport.
Partner with a team from another sport.
This can help your team develop a range of skills that are more prominent in another sport, but still play a role in your sport. And this type of partnership can help you create a larger network which could help with recruitment, sponsorship, and your team/club culture.
Partner with a school or university.
Some universities and schools already have their own sporting teams, but many don’t. This is a great opportunity to showcase your club or team to a huge pool of potential recruits.
There are so many different partnerships your club and team could make that could give you an advantage over the rest of the competition that I can’t mention them all here. But you are only limited by your imagination. Even partnering with local businesses could assist you. Businesses such as real estate agents, sport equipment stores, recruitment agencies, etc.
You must understand, however, that creating any partnership is not a one-way street. You’ll only ever get as much out of your partnership as you put in. So, don’t expect to receive any benefits if you aren’t willing to provide benefits to your partner first.
“IF YOU DON’T HAVE A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE, DON’T COMPETE.”Jack Welch
5. Keep improving
This sounds obvious, but the way you improve plays a significant role. If you can improve and continue to improve faster than your competition, you will gain a competitive advantage. Now, these improvements don’t just relate to your players’ skills. To accelerate right past your competition, you must continue to improve your culture, leadership, teamwork, skills, and of course your coaching.
The most important aspect of improving anything is to measure it. It is very difficult to improve anything you don’t measure. But, on the other hand, measuring your improvements can even accelerate them. This is achieved in two ways. First, through the motivation you and your team get from seeing the undeniable evidence of their improvements. And second by focusing you and your team’s attention on these specific areas.
Some areas discussed cannot be measured by the same statistics you’d use to measure passing efficiency, however, they can still be measured. Surveying your players, staff, etc can provide you with a measure on things like culture, leadership, teamwork, etc. If you need some advice on how to set up surveys that could measure these areas, please do not hesitate to contact us at Coaches Guild.
- Identify which of the 5 methods of creating a competitive advantage best fits your team or club.
- Put some time aside to plan how you are going to start creating this competitive advantage.
- Contact Coaches Guild if you need any assistance creating your plan or identifying which method suits you best.
- Put your competitive advantage into play and start reaping the rewards of your efforts.
- Never be complacent. Continue to maintain and strengthen your competitive advantage. Others will try and take it from you.
What was your key takeaway from this article?
Do you have any questions on any of the information provided in this article?
Let us know in the comments below.