Lucky or Unlucky – Which One Are You?


Luck is something we either get or receive. Being unlucky is something that happens or doesn’t happen. In a sports setting who tends to get lucky and who gets unlucky?

Gary Player, famous golfer, once said “The harder I try the luckier I get”. This is a statement jesting the concept that luck has either got nothing to do with it or luck can be influenced.


Manchester United Football Club are lucky?

When we watch a football match do we often see a team get “lucky” with a goal to win or draw a match when perhaps to the football fan they didn’t deserve it. For those that follow the English Premier Football League know that Manchester United have dominated the premiership over the past 20 years. How many times have they won a match when not performing that well. Who can be that lucky for that long?

Its the deep, deliberate or purposeful practice concept that springs to my mind. Gary player agrees. Here is another example. When Eric Cantona made his debut for Manchester United in 1992 he brought a different concept to training. He continued to practise after the others went. This philosophy had an effect on the other players at the club. They stayed and purposefully practised. Let’s get this straight, Eric Cantona was not the catalyst for Manchester United’s success. It is Sir Alex Ferguson’s. The point I am making is the correlation of purposeful practise and luck. There is another point to my post. Feedback.

Collingham Football Club

When coaching and playing for Collingham Reserves Football Club, I have been trying to make a point of not saying unlucky when a player misses the target. This phrase is used a lot. Look at the situation this way. A player shoots and puts the ball over the bar. Someone says unlucky. Is that a question of luck when giving feedback. It doesn’t matter whether coaching children, adolescents or adults the message we convey by saying unlucky is that shooting is a question of luck. Is that how we should advocate success?

LogoAgree with me or not but I believe it is down to a growth mindset and quality coaching not luck. Feedback might be “Well done for getting into that position. However, you must hit the target”. This player will strive to hit the target. The next time he hits the target and the keeper has to make a save. The ball could go anywhere afterwards. A deflection, a ricochet or out for a corner. The feedback initially might be “Great effort. Let’s work on making the Goal keeper work hard to make a save by perhaps shooting towards the far post”. This will give the player confidence and the understanding that hard work and effort will lead to success.

The Answers

Some might think this topic or my point is just semantics. I feel it is not a question of being lucky or unlucky. The message here is practice purposefully and develop a growth mindset by providing the right feedback.


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