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Taking the shot

Nearly fifteen years ago, I first played this game called Football Manager. It is a game where you don't actually control the play (unlike Fifa), but control the tactics, team selection, training, team talks, etc. The game itself is a simulation based on the tactics selected and the player instructions provided.

I was incredibly engaged with the game and used to play it for several hours a day.

Recently, I re-discovered the game and have been playing it again. Fifteen years on, the game play is more sophisticated and more realistic and hence, even more fun to play.

I recently tried out two different tactics with the same team. In one, I was focused on playing patient possession football. I asked my team to keep passing the ball patiently until they found an opening in the defense and then practically walk the ball into the net. I asked them to not shoot on goal unless there was a near certainty that they would score when they shot.

In the other tactic, I played a high-tempo pressing game, where I asked the team to take half chances and shoot whenever they thought there could be an opportunity on goal (even if only half a chance) and to shoot from distance when there was space to do so.

When I analysed the results of the two tactics, they were as follows.

When I employed the first tactic, I had over 70% possession, but only about three shots per game, all three on target and two goals per game. With the second tactic, I had only about 50% possession, but had on average 15 shots per game, with 7 on target, and three goals per game.

I had a hundred percent shot accuracy with the first tactic and a 67% shot to goal conversion. In the second tactic, I had less than 50% shot accuracy and less than 50% shot to goal conversion.

Yet, I had more goals per game with the second tactic.

As Seth Godin says on this topic, "If I fail more than you, I win."

We often employ the first tactic in life where we hesitate to take shots due to a fear of failure. We only do things that we think we are certain to succeed in. We are afraid of taking a shot at things that may not work out perfectly.

While we have much less failures using this approach, we succeed less as well.

So, now I'm playing all my games with the second tactic. After all, if you don't take the shot, you have no chance of scoring. 

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