Rugby League Expert & Columnist
Which Super League teams have looked inside their Black Box?
Last Updated: 08/02/17 6:20am
"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."
It's a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt and one that's very interesting as we approach the start of a new season.
I read a great book recently called "Black Box Thinking" by Matthew Syed. Most people are familiar with the idea that the black box is a useful aid when investigating aeroplane crashes.
Basically, they record what happened in the build-up to the accident, but the book looks wider than just the aviation industry. It considered incidents in health care, business and even sport. It made me wonder what every other team than Wigan found in their investigation of 2016.
One of the important questions that the book asked was 'Does your club or organisation have a culture of learning, innovation and creativity?'
The explanation for success often hinges on how we react to failure or defeat.
Warrington were so close in both major finals. They lost 12-10 and 12-6, you couldn't get much closer, and yet sport only celebrates the winner. Learning from failure is not always easy. It takes careful thought and an ability to see past what's in front of you. You need an inquisitive mind, a skill that not everybody has.
I suppose that the teams need to ask themselves two questions. Firstly, what do they need to do better this year? The more specific they can be, with great focus and feedback, the better chance that they've got of creating effective change in that particular aspect or skill. Secondly, what do they need to do differently to improve their chances of success?
Most teams play the game in a similar way. I'm fascinated to see if there will be a new approach, move or tactic in this season.
Could we see a team decide to defend with only one marker defender when they're in their own half? Would this give them an extra defender in the line and make it harder for the attacking team to create an overlap with their floating full-back?
In recent years, most tactical changes have been led by teams from Down Under, but perhaps it's time for change. Which teams in Super League have looked inside their Black Box and found a better way to do something this year?
Syed's book says that we have an "allergic attitude to failure". We try to avoid it, cover it up and airbrush it from our lives. However, in the right environment, we can learn more when we fail and it can make us more creative.
Most coaches and players have what they describe as a 'Growth Mindset'. They engage with their errors and improve - which ones have done the most improving will very soon become apparent.
Good luck to all 12 teams, I hope that you have a safe landing on the winners' podium at Old Trafford.