The Rebuilding Phase..the biggest cop out in sport.

The Rebuilding Phase..the biggest cop out in sport.



What’s this Rebuilding Phase people in professional sport are talking about?

Are they reconstructing their offices?

Are they redeveloping their grandstands?

Or is it the biggest cop out of all time– justifying poor performances by spruiking, “We’re in a rebuilding phase” to anyone who will listen?

It is all about winning.

Every Sporting Club, every Sporting team, every Professional Coach, every Football Manager, every High Performance Manager, the CEO of every sporting organisation has two primary goals:

  1. To win!
  2. See goal number 1.

Everything in professional sport revolves around winning.

Losing teams do not sell seats.

Losing teams do not attract large television audiences.

Losing teams do not appeal to sponsors.

Losing teams do not get community support.

The media are not interested in losing teams (unless they are creating off field controversy).

Losing teams do not gain increased Government funding.

The whole professional sports industry in the US, the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America…everywhere – is based on chasing winning as THE goal.


Not winning….”rebuilding”.

So it is interesting to hear the phrase “We’re in a rebuilding phase” coming from the mouths of coaches and sports administrators to justify mediocrity and poor performances.

This phrase grew out of the “Draft” system used by many sporting codes across the world. The “Draft” system and it’s marriage partner “The Salary Cap” are introduced by sporting codes trying to create and sustain the two Holy Grails of sports competitions: Equality of Playing Conditions and Uncertainty of Result!

The argument goes that the more uncertain the outcome, the more interest in the competition: The more interest in the competition means more tickets sold, more TV sets switched on, more traffic to web sites, blogs and social media and more people reading the sports pages in newspapers.

Thus – the economic sustainability of the competition itself relies on the uncertainty of the outcome of games. So by introducing the terrible twins – The Draft and the Salary Cap – governing bodies aim to ensure that no team (or teams) gain too much of an advantage and make the competition uneven.


What’s the thinking?

The logic goes like this:

  1. To win the competition we need to get preferential treatment in the Draft for two – three years and build a winning team;
  2. This team will have a limited time – 2-3 years to win a title – a “winning window of opportunity” when the maturity and experience of the team list / squad will give them to best opportunity of winning;
  3. Once that optimal “window of opportunity” has gone, we are in a rebuilding phase waiting for the preferential Draft treatment again and it is “our turn” to win again.


The Rebuilding Phase…….What Rubbish!

What you are saying by adopting this attitude is, “We are victims of the Draft system and there is nothing we can do to win a title other than wait our turn.”

This is totally at odds with the core principles of success: being different, being unique, taking what’s happening – taking what everyone else is doing – and doing it differently, smarter and better.

“We’re in a rebuilding phase” is saying, “Hey, we have no idea how to create and sustain a winning culture other than waiting for our turn to be blessed by the Draft system”.

It’s saying, “We have no idea what high performance is all about. But if you wait ten years and give us the top five Draft picks we will show something”.

It’s saying, “Our coaching, our sports science, our medical team, our analysis staff, our management have no idea how to create a winning team unless we have been given great Draft selections”.

Anyone who uses the term “We’re in a rebuilding phase” should refuse to accept a salary from their Club or Team.

Because what you are really saying is, “I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I have no answers. I will wait until the System gives them to me”.


If you have to rebuild something, rebuild yourself and your attitude to winning.

Sure – blame the Draft for your performances.

Blame the Salary Cap for your inability to compete.

Blame the System, the Governing Body, the Economic Downturn and the alignment of the Moon.

But we are in this business – the high performance sports business – to break rules, to take risks, to be innovative, to be creative and to find ways of winning that no one else can.

That’s the magic of it!

That’s why we got into it.

That’s why it is such an exciting, energising, invigorating business to be in.

So to stand up, look at the press gallery and say, “we’re in a rebuilding phase” means what you should be rebuilding is a retirement home for yourself and get out of professional and high performance sport right now.

Wake up.

Become the person who wins in spite of the System, the person who overcame the System, the person who broke the statistics of the System and not the person who justified failure because of the System!

Dare to be different and inspire others to be different with you. The benefits are immeasurable. 

Wayne Goldsmith


  • Marcos Posted July 14, 2009 11:07 am

    Fits perfectly with that other text that you mention about sports structure and performance.
    This is my mantra down here in our poor Brazil!
    Keep the good thoughts coming, Marcos

  • Wayne Goldsmith Posted July 15, 2009 7:27 am

    Thanks Marcos.

    I understand the rationale for the Draft / Salary Cap systems but it does not mean we should all accept the cyclical nature of the performances that come from it. The greatest opportunities grow from situations where everyone is doing the same thing.


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