Ted Lasso is the name of the soccer coach of AFC Richmond, a fictional English Premier League team from the popular series of the same name. Ted Lasso is also the triumph of benevolence and surpassing oneself. He is a coach who does not get angry, who understands his players and who gently brings out the best in them. Is it possible ? Is there a Ted Lasso effect in sports, but also in life?
According to Patrice Bernier, former Montreal Impact player, Ted Lasso is an inspiring role model. “I come from a time when coaches were more authoritarian, a time when you had to show your displeasure to bring out the motivation,” he explains. I don’t think many coaches have as much empathy as Ted Lasso, but I see a change in behavior. Modern leadership in sport or work is about empathy and caring, about understanding each other, and we see that more and more. »
Patrick Leduc, soccer culture director at CF Montreal, agrees. He sees less and less old school coaches, which is good news.
“I’m a former player, I’ve coached young people, and Ted Lasso brings another perspective: you don’t have to be tough to bring out talent, that’s the message,” he said.
“The fear of some coaches is that by having empathy, we are not demanding enough, but with respect, we get results, and the series helps to change mentalities. »
For sociologist Michel Dorais, retired full professor from the School of Social Work and Criminology at Laval University, the way Ted Lasso addresses his players is almost, in his eyes, a course in social intervention.
According to him, we must promote benevolent behavior and show that, in life, work and sport, it is a winner. As a counter-example, he cites coach Jacques Mercier of the Lance et Compte series who was screaming in the locker room against his players. “Even today a lot of people have this pattern in mind… It needs to be gotten rid of and replaced. We are making progress, but there is still work to be done,” observes the author of Antitoxic Masculinity.
According to columnist David Desjardins, co-founder of the Laflèche agency, several examples come from the world of sport, but also from that of business. “We are in the extremes, because there are still models of managers who blow up Elon Musk, and on the other side, there are calm and benevolent business leaders.
I am convinced that listening, supporting colleagues and employees, is where the motivation will be the best. People will be more efficient, with more loyalty, but you don’t change a culture overnight. »
Sociologist Michel Dorais reminds us that there are many positive and humanistic values in sport: loyalty, surpassing oneself, team spirit, the pleasure of playing, but we forget them when we are looking for victory at all costs. “You have to constantly promote and repeat to young people the values of the team, solidarity, empathy, compassion,” he explains. I will start training the coaches of the LHJMQ [Quebec Major Junior Hockey League] in benevolence and on how to eradicate toxic behavior in players, and I will certainly tell them about the series, which is very inspiring. »
It’s a big shift to make in our society, he believes, especially in sport, because this area is a reflection of who we are. The sociologist notes that it is difficult to convince people in office to devote money to training on benevolence. “It’s a good investment. The player will not be less combative on the field or on the ice, on the contrary, he will be better and the teams more united. And when the guys on the team make front-page news, it won’t be because of inappropriate acts, but because they won! »
When it comes to healthy competition, the most beautiful image that Michel Dorais has in mind is that of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, against each other, in Federer’s last match. “Two great friends who were rivals on the pitch. The real adversary is not the other, it is oneself. It’s about surpassing yourself and winning, that’s the nuance, “he says, recalling that benevolence pays off.
“The younger generations see leadership as something respectful that happens in sharing and understanding, so we are moving in the right direction. »
Patrick Leduc believes that the Ted Lasso phenomenon will take hold in sport. “The well-being of the players comes first, and being optimistic encourages you to push yourself harder. »