The Psychology of Coaching Brazil’s Soccer Team

Credit: Andre Penner, AP

Credit: Andre Penner, AP

The New York Times published an interesting article on Brazil’s national soccer coach Felipão (full name: Luiz Felipe Scolari) and the psychological approach he uses in coaching the team. He undoubtedly faces tremendous pressure to deliver this June, and with the players spending most of the year in different countries playing for different teams, he has his work cut out for him.

However he has help. Regina Brandão, a professor at the Universidade São Judas Tadeu in São Paulo, has worked with him since the late nineties to develop psychological profiles for each of the players. With a series of thorough questionnaires, Brandão evaluates how each player responds emotionally to certain situations or obstacles. With additional data about other nations’ teams, Felipão can then plan a strategy in accordance with the players’ emotional strengths and weaknesses.

“Our players are very skilled, some of the most skilled in the world,” Scolari said. “But what really matters is what type of people they are. Some are more melancholic, some are more aggressive. This is the scientific part. This is how we win.”


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