Francesco Totti’s recent retirement provided an interesting case study of football longevity for Darcy Norman. The AS Roma director of performance is implementing a supply chain management and systems thinking approach typical of the world of business in the world of soccer.
In order to better explain Totti’s remarkable career and consistent performances on the field, Norman cited a complex system that includes good genetics and a balanced lifestyle. Although in the last period, the AS Roma legend was not as explosive as before, his ability to read the different phases of the game compensated his weakness.
“We are in contact with footballers for two or three hours a day,” Norman tells CNN, “but we cannot control what they do the other 21 hours. Their choices can either advance or hinder their performance.
When players are young their physical skills are at a peak, but technically they still have to properly develop. As you age your technical ability and your ability to read the game go up, and your physical ability goes down. So you get this point where they intersect, which is kind of your sweet spot.”
The key, Darcy says, is balance.
The 45-year-old from northern Alberta told CNN that sometimes he faced resistance when introducing his methodology. Especially when he asked a locker room full of Germans to refrain from beer, or Italians to avoid red wine.