Scanning, Skill Acquisition & Mantras


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By Rob Ryles. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Skill acquisition is vital and the elite, those with the most influence have specific skills that separate them from other players.

In this episode, Rob takes a look at the importance of scanning, skill acquisition and mindset in the game. He asks ‘do we concentrate so much on the doing that we fail to teach the vital concepts and skills that enable great decision-making performance under pressure?

Rob discusses the underlying research and how leaders and coaches can effectively teach these skills to raise the level for any player.



  • There is a skill the top players with the most influence have that separates them, their ability to perceive and scan, to know what’s going on around them.
  • This skill is applicable to all sports you must have a perception of what’s going on around you to be able to analyse it.
  • Currently it’s about teaching players to be masters of the technical skills first.
  • If we believe it takes hours and hours and years and years to master a skill then as coaches we need to be teaching the skill of scanning from an early age enabling players to make better decisions.
  • The exceptional players, those at the top of their profession, scan 6 to 8 times in every 10 second period they have a picture in their heads and when they gain possession of the ball they already know what the best move will be.
  • If you want to make great decisions, create goal threat and impact the game you have to know what the pictures are.

The skill acquisition process

  • If you are asked to perform an activity you will do it at a level you are comfortable with.
  • If you are being watched or observed research has determined that you will perform the activity at a higher level -  this is known as the audience effect.
  • Our brains interpret what other people’s attention means to us and because we desire a positive reaction from those watching us we perform at a higher level.

The power of Mantras

  • The definition for the word mantra ‘is a tool of the mind’
  • It’s a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself over and over. It is strongly believed it has a positive effect on your skillset because it influences your state of mind.
  • Use the mantra in the calm areas of your day and in stabilising your mind you will find that when you are under pressure your mantra will help you.
  • Your mantra is a foundation, part of the preparation for more challenging situations.


‘Instead of looking at social media reach for a mantra and use it as an incremental step to achieve’

‘You will be shocked at the poverty of players with scanning because they have not been taught’

‘We cannot leave this conceptual thing to the last minute then expect people to be brilliant at it’


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Rob Ryles is a UEFA A licensed coach with a League Managers Association qualification and a science and medicine background. He has worked in the football industry in Europe, USA and Africa; at International, Premiership, League, Non-League and grassroots levels with both World Cup and European Championship experience.

Rob Ryles prides himself on having a forward-thinking and progressive approach to the game built through his own experience as well as lessons learned from a number of highly successful managers and coaches.

The Leader Manager Coach Podcast is where we take a deep dive examining knowledge, philosophies, wisdom and insight to help you lead, manage and coach in football, sport and life.


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