The Athletic, Bees Journo Jay Harris

Ealing Bee

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Creative set pieces, bold substitutions, clever signings: Why watching Brentford is fun​


does this link bypass the paywall?
Nice read, all right, but I'm not sure I buy this:

"However, the best way to sum up Brentford’s positive attitude is by highlighting a substitution. Curtis Jones had given Liverpool a 3-2 lead with a ferocious shot from outside of the box — and been quickly replaced by Roberto Firmino — when Frank took off Christian Norgaard and brought on Yoane Wissa.

Replacing a midfielder with a forward and switching to a 3-4-3 formation when you are losing against one of the title contenders is a move laced with risk. Brentford could have opted to bring on an extra midfielder and turned the match into a damage-limitation exercise or played more in hope than expectation, but their head coach clearly believed his team could find another goal. Wissa’s equaliser was vindication that it pays to be bold."


Surely when you're a goal down at home in a game where you've been competitive, taking off a defensive midfielder and sending on a striker is the standard response?
 
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Nice read, all right, but I'm not sure I buy this:

"However, the best way to sum up Brentford’s positive attitude is by highlighting a substitution. Curtis Jones had given Liverpool a 3-2 lead with a ferocious shot from outside of the box — and been quickly replaced by Roberto Firmino — when Frank took off Christian Norgaard and brought on Yoane Wissa.

Replacing a midfielder with a forward and switching to a 3-4-3 formation when you are losing against one of the title contenders is a move laced with risk. Brentford could have opted to bring on an extra midfielder and turned the match into a damage-limitation exercise or played more in hope than expectation, but their head coach clearly believed his team could find another goal. Wissa’s equaliser was vindication that it pays to be bold."


Surely when you're a goal down at home in a game where you've been competitive, taking off a defensive midfielder and sending on a striker is the standard response?
It's ballsy when you're Brentford and you're playing 1st place Liverpool.
 

Ealing Bee

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It's ballsy when you're Brentford and you're playing 1st place Liverpool.
Yeah, but we were ballsy right from the very start and it was serving us very well, so why change that approach with 12 minutes to go?
 

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Surely when you're a goal down at home in a game where you've been competitive, taking off a defensive midfielder and sending on a striker is the standard response?

It's ballsy when you're Brentford and you're playing 1st place Liverpool.
Indeed. I didn't think it was the the most gung-ho thing I've ever seen BUT some would take the attitude that you need to steady the ship and maybe hope to grab an equaliser from a set piece. As we've seen in the "what other fan say about BFC" some managers expect nothing from these games and that must impact their tactics even within the game...they would rather valiantly lose 3-2 and reduce the chance of an equaliser, than get hung out to dry if it finishes 6-2.
 

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Indeed. I didn't think it was the the most gung-ho thing I've ever seen BUT some would take the attitude that you need to steady the ship and maybe hope to grab an equaliser from a set piece. As we've seen in the "what other fan say about BFC" some managers expect nothing from these games and that must impact their tactics even within the game...they would rather valiantly lose 3-2 and reduce the chance of an equaliser, than get hung out to dry if it finishes 6-2.
The subs at Wolves were more gung ho. I think when Baptiste got sent off most would have expected a forward to come off, probably Mbeumo to shore up and hold the 2-0. Instead Canos came off and Ajer shuffled over to RB to give us a still attacking 432. Then Henry off for Roerslev who is a more attacking player.
 

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Talks us up on The Athletics’s Chelsea podcast “Straight Outta Cobham”

 

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Really interesting article about Jack Burnell the Mindset Performance coach. Who do we think the player is hes talking about? Sergi? Bryan?

Black wristbands and moving cereal boxes – the former Olympic swimmer adding to Brentford’s innovative approach​

JACK-BURNELL-SWIMMER

By Jay Harris Oct 14, 2021
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Forget shinpads and the latest high-tech boots. Small black wristbands and cereal boxes are being used to help Brentford’s players unlock their full potential.
Jack Burnell, the former Team GB swimmer who retired in April, is talking to The Athletic about the work he has been secretly undertaking over the last few seasons as Brentford’s mindset performance coach.

Retirement can be a daunting prospect for professional athletes, but it has allowed the 28-year-old to devote more time to Thomas Frank’s team.
Burnell visits the club’s training ground at least once a week and works with a core group of four first-team players. Free from the stress of Olympic cycles, he is keen to increase that number and has started working with the B Team.
But what exactly is a mindset performance coach and what are his responsibilities?

“I call the model of what I do ‘ELEV8 Mindset and my qualification has come from my sporting and life experiences,” Burnell tells The Athletic. “It can be adapted to people’s personalities and it’s about controlling your emotions and being able to use mental tools to allow yourself to perform in your ideal state of mind.
“There are so many instances in football when you have to be level-headed and robotic in the way that you think to make the best decisions.”

Burnell started working with Brentford in the summer of 2019, but nobody anticipated it would develop into a long-term partnership.
He was introduced to the club by Tom Bates, a performance psychologist coach. Bates had supported the former Olympian during his time with British Swimming and had held a role on Brentford’s backroom staff.

“I told Tom I loved football and that I wanted to get into it because that’s where my passion was,” Burnell says.
“He linked me up with Chris Haslam (Brentford’s head of athletic performance) and I spoke with Phil Giles (the co-director of football).
“They drafted me in to talk to Brentford’s first-team and their staff during pre-season (in 2019). I spoke about my journey and how it was very different because I didn’t love swimming. I was good at it and it took me around the world, but it was far from my passion.
“I talked about getting disqualified at the Olympic games and how that was a rollercoaster of emotions. The players connected with my story and they started asking the staff if they could work with me one on one. That’s when I thought there might be something in this.”

Burnell was disqualified from the 10km open-water swimming event at the Rio Olympics in 2016 for two yellow cards. There are no swimming lanes to separate the competitors and tussles often occur with medals on the line. As he approached the finish, Burnell claims Oussama Mellouli dragged his leg back and that he was punished by officials for attempting to break free. Following his failure to finish on the podium in Brazil, Burnell was determined to bounce back.
JACK-BURNELL-BRENTFORD-


Burnell was part of the Team GB swimming squad for the Rio Olympics five years ago (Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images)
“I started thinking about how I could shift my mindset to perform better,” he says.
“I hated the gym when I used to train and I would sneak out of the back door after my swim session. I did it constantly and would make excuses.
“I started leaving my weightlifting shoes in the boot of my car. I would see them as I tried to leave and that small act would trigger a question in my mind. I was giving myself the opportunity to do the right thing and go back to the gym. I never missed a training session again after that.
“It’s easy to get into bad routines, but it’s also hard to be presented with a choice and consciously make the bad one for what we are trying to achieve. I help Brentford’s players to implement these strategies that don’t take a lot of effort, but can have a huge impact on the way that they think.”

During his career, Burnell was provided with psychologists by British Swimming to help him improve his performances and deal with his anger management issues.
The 28-year-old cherry-picked the best pieces of advice that he received and used them to create his unique approach. Although open-water swimming is an individual sport that places different demands on athletes than football, there are clearly lessons to be learned from the intensity and dedication required to exceed at the top level.
One of the main methods he teaches involves making footballers wear a small black wristband in training and during games. When an individual struggles to transfer his performances on the training ground into a match, the wristbands, that have no words on them, serve as a visual reminder of what they are capable of.

“What I do is based around situations,” he says.
“If a player has missed a shot or an opponent is trying to rile him up, I provide them with the tools to deal with those scenarios and realign their mental state.
“I watched a player in training put four good chances wide. The next chance was a difficult situation, but he turned and hit the ball straight into the back of the net. I ran onto the training pitch and grabbed the wristband.
“It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the chances that you’ve missed. What we’ve worked on is breaking down this loss of confidence, otherwise, you will lose your accuracy when the next chance comes. None of the players has refused to wear one when we’ve spoken.”
Another technique involves getting the players to put their cereal boxes in a different cupboard. By disrupting their normal breakfast routines, he is trying to stimulate their minds at the beginning of each day. Burnell recognises people will be sceptical about the work that he carries out but he takes pride in witnessing players positively respond and develop.

“I’m not about creating superstitions,” he says.
“When I joined, one player wasn’t in the first team and he is arguably one of the best players at the club now. That journey has been incredible. He has completely changed as a human and I’ve had people come up to me and say he’s a different person on and off the pitch. That’s how far I drill down.”
A lot of Burnell’s work takes place away from the pitch. He acts as a confidante for the players and supports them in a variety of ways. He is always available to talk to for advice and frequently exchanges messages with players after games. Brentford’s squad also benefit from the support of their consultant psychologist Michael Caulfield.
“I create a deep connection with a player and I am invested in them,” Burnell says.
“I go for dinner with them. It’s that kind of relationship. I have had conversations with players in the early hours of the morning and I don’t know what other staff member offers that service.
“I work with players from across the squad — that is testament to the results they’ve seen their team-mates achieve.
“Each player has a different way of approaching things. When I speak to players, one of our first conversations is about motivation. ‘Why are you doing this?’. I couldn’t care whether it was to buy a Ferrari or for the badge on the front of the shirt. They need to talk to me honestly. It’s about understanding what makes that player tick.”
Burnell viewed his swimming career as “a vehicle to open doors” and now that chapter of his life has been closed, he is eager to expand his services with Brentford and work with more clubs. He has also just launched his own app called UltraWell.

For now, though, with Brentford enjoying a fine start to life in the Premier League, his services are more important than ever. The top flight is an intense pressure cooker and players will take solace in being able to discuss their issues with him.
“This season it’s gone from strength to strength and I’ve been speaking with Thomas Frank much more,” he says.
“I speak to the players while they are training and that’s only been allowed by proving what I can do and earning their trust. I’m taken aback by how well it has been received.”
Burnell’s next aim is to develop methods that teams can use as a collective. “When certain scenarios happen during a game, the team dynamic changes so much,” he says.
“I’ve never heard anyone in football talk about mental tools that the whole team can use to help them reset. It’s an area we haven’t explored yet and there’s so much potential. You would pick one very specific situation like when a team concedes or if they miss a penalty. What do they do then? And why can’t we come up with the process for how they respond to that?”

Brentford’s willingness to try different things has been an open secret for several years. From their recruitment model down to their B team, they are not afraid to try out new ideas, which means Burnell’s relationship with them has been a perfect marriage. He believes the spirit at the club has been key to their success.
“No matter what division they are in, Brentford are constantly looking for improvement and that’s why they are now in the Premier League,” Burnell says.
“No player comes in and thinks that they are bigger or better than anyone else. There are players that take my dinner plate off the table for me because there’s that mutual level of respect. It’s an incredibly well-knit unit and my job is to improve the individual soldiers within that team to help them perform to their maximum level. This team is good but it’s only just unlocking its potential.”
 

AB

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Interesting piece and another example of how big psychology and mental resilience is in elite sport. Christos Tsiolkas’s novel, Barracuda is a good further exploration of this in swimming and about someone who like Burnell also failed at the top. Barracuda
 

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Am i the only one who feels that after a good start. Jay Harris articles just seem stagnated and dont offer anything that anyone who watches Brentford could say?
 

rebus

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Am i the only one who feels that after a good start. Jay Harris articles just seem stagnated and dont offer anything that anyone who watches Brentford could say?
I don’t think his writing is aimed at you or me. He might have hit a brick wall but there’s seven months of the season to go.
 

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Am i the only one who feels that after a good start. Jay Harris articles just seem stagnated and dont offer anything that anyone who watches Brentford could say?

I thought his story on the injury situation - not really reported elsewhere - was a useful summary for fans of other clubs who might not be aware what challenges we face at the moment.
 
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Had a problem accessing my Athletic account (managed to get one of those £1 for 12 months offers), and Hailey from The Athletic was really helpful and proactive in sorting things. Shall I send her an application to work at the BFC ticket office ?
 

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Had a problem accessing my Athletic account (managed to get one of those £1 for 12 months offers), and Hailey from The Athletic was really helpful and proactive in sorting things. Shall I send her an application to work at the BFC ticket office ?
Sounds over qualified.
 

el57

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Am i the only one who feels that after a good start. Jay Harris articles just seem stagnated and dont offer anything that anyone who watches Brentford could say?
I mean... he is just a person who watches Brentford, same as all the journalists. They get some match-day quotes and sometimes get injury news a bit early, but most of the time they're just beat journalists. At a bigger club a journalist is more likely to have more sources who will maybe leak details since there's more staff and those are bigger scoops because of the club standing. A Brentford journalist is just going to be left with what the club tell him, or maybe some player interviews.

Also, being a "new" club to having our own journalist at a global publication, you exhaust the really obvious and interesting stories early because that's the obvious content. Maybe this can be solved by doing some history pieces? I don't know if a general audience would ever read so it might not be appropriate, but for fans its probably nice to read some stories that relate these days to storylines or teams in e.g. 90's or something.
 

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...and if you get your internet from BT and haven't been a subscriber before, you can have the first year FREE.
but after the year it gets auto renewed at a frightening 59-99. Remember to cancel in good time!

(NB note to self. Remember to take my own advice!)
 

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but after the year it gets auto renewed at a frightening 59-99. Remember to cancel in good time!

(NB note to self. Remember to take my own advice!)
I was on a £1 per month / £12 per year deal that was due to expire later this month.

I managed to remember to cancel before it auto renewed at the expensive rate, and up popped an offer to renew for the year at £1.50 per month, which I went for.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d not done so a better offer may have been forthcoming at some point later.
 

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Very good article with Andreas Georgson a snippet here which is thought provoking about short corners...



“If you have five players who are 190cm (6ft 3in) or more, maybe you should kick every ball into the box. But if you only have one, he will probably meet the strongest marker, so the likelihood of scoring reduces.

“In all three organisations I’ve been in — Malmo, Brentford and Arsenal — when we analysed our set pieces we saw that the short corner was an effective approach, especially compared to just kicking it into the box. It’s an effective way to create a goalscoring chance either in the first action, or more often in the second or third.

“A short corner creates some chaos from the rigid system the defence will be trying to produce. As soon as you go into a second or third phase, there’s a bigger risk that defensive players don’t know their roles. The system fails a little bit, because at some point the set-piece organisation has to move into an open-play organisation. And when that transition happens, some players might do it earlier and some later, which means the synchronisation of the team is at risk — and that is when you are vulnerable.”
 

OhBeehave

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I was on a £1 per month / £12 per year deal that was due to expire later this month.

I managed to remember to cancel before it auto renewed at the expensive rate, and up popped an offer to renew for the year at £1.50 per month, which I went for.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d not done so a better offer may have been forthcoming at some point later.
I wish I'd done that. I'm paying the full price at the moment.
 

nick logan

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sorry if i am " miles " but is this only on-line ?
 
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