The Art of Observation

“It’s not so much what you see all the time, it’s what you can miss.”  Sir Alex Ferguson

Case Study: Sir Alex Ferguson

In 2013 the Harvard Business School conducted a case study on Sir Alex Ferguson’s approach to football management to gain insight into his leadership style.

Ferguson largely delegated the running of training sessions to his assistant coaches, because it was more important for him to observe than coach.

As a coach on the field, you don’t see everything. Observing is so important, it’s not so much what you see all the time, it’s what you can miss.”

Click here to view Harvard Business Review article ‘Ferguson’s Formula.’


Stand on the side of your practice where you can view as much as possible.

Know what to look for

Are your players engaged? are they achieving the session objective? Observe the attitude and ability of your players.

You only notice what you are paying attention too.

Use video

Film your training session, game, or team talk and watch it back. You will see the things that you didn’t notice at the time.

Gain knowledge

The more you know, the more you see. Attend a coaching course, get advice and feedback from experienced coaches.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Film your games & team talks

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Position yourself to be able to see as much as possible

Ange 3

Short videos

These short videos illustrate the power of observation, and show just how much we can miss, even when it’s happening right in front of our eyes…

Brain Games
You do you miss when it’s right in front of your eyes?

The Art of Misdirection (9,121,076 views)
Apollo Robbins TED Talk

Evan (8,799,297 views)
Know the signs ‘protect children from gun violence campaign’

Brain Games
You notice what you pay attention to

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