This was a podcast interview that I had high hopes for going in, and it exceeded all of them. Although I have moved away from starting the podcast interviews with the philosophy question in recent months, this was the question I wanted to kick-off this one because Rulani seems to be very intentional on his messaging online and I wanted to hear what that sounded like from him. I found it very interesting that he talked about how this philosophy reflects on his players (see below). Often, we talk about our philosophy as something that we implement, but Rulani points towards looking at how it will be received by players and I think that is a great piece of advice for coaches, because invariably the success of any philosophy will be determined by the level in which the players embrace it, both on and off the pitch.
As Rulani went deeper into how his philosophy looks on a daily basis, he gave a great perspective of the importance and complexity of trust and relationships inside a professional club. There are so many variables at that level with fans, owners, staff members, and then players and coaches, and this can make it a challenging environment to communicate in, especially when the pressure is high. In the clip below, Rulani talks about the importance of honesty, but also in being compassionate with your honesty. I think this is another great takeaway for a coach. We cannot simply go into an environment and say what we want, when we want to. Relationships need to be built, timing needs to be considered, and messages need to be delivered in a way that can help players rather than hurt them.
In my research for the podcast, one of Rulani's quotes jumped out at me, when he was named Head Coach at Orlando Pirates. Rather for asking for time or patience from the fans or the board, he expressed an enormous amount of personal responsibility. “There are so many others that are behind me in this queue, who are waiting for their opportunity. But if I mess up, and I don’t show that young coaches who are pure students of the game can make it, then I give little hope to the next generation of young technicians. That’s what drives me to succeed.” This was the final takeaway for me, not only the passion that Rulani has for the game, but also the responsibility that he feels for the coaching community and why. You need something bigger than just a result or our own progress, Rulani explains, and uses the Arsene Wenger quote about "motivation endurance." So many people have issues with daily motivation and see it go up and down throughout the week. The successful coaches, Rulani explains, have developed a deeper "why" for what they do and this gives them energy and focus on a daily basis. It was a powerful message to finish the interview and one that makes you reflect on perhaps what your 'why' is and, most importantly, how many people you can positively impact on your journey.
You can check out the full interview below or by subscribing on iTunes. This podcast was sponsored by Total Football Analysis which is an outstanding resource for coaches and a personal favorite of mine when it comes to tactical reading. They feature a monthly magazine, with 120+ pieces of analysis per month, along with a website which has an all-access subscription, allowing you get back access to all the magazines plus every piece of content on the site. They are offering MSC Podcast listeners a special discount code: MSC20, which gets you 20% off anything on the site up until end of April. Please go ahead and check them out here.