Strategy Playbook: Self-analysing your SuperCoach team

We take a deep dive into the relevant weekly strategies to help you with your NRL SuperCoach trade tactics.

Strategy Playbook

The overall race has really opened up in recent weeks, as intriguing new options, such as Papali’i, Turbo and Ponga, present themselves.

The changes in the Roosters fortunes have also significantly opened up the fullback position and captaincy decisions, as Tedesco seemingly has less opportunity with the ball.

Consequently, it could be ideal timing for us to reconsider our overall squad make-up and goals for the season. This article is going to take a look at how we might do this utilising a strategic planning approach. 

Author Alastair Campbell shares an insightful framework for strategic planning, in his book ‘Winners’. Campbell analyses several of the world’s top performers in various fields to identify this approach (‘OST’).

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It can be summarised, as follows (from https://kieranearley.co.uk/2017/01/winners-by-alastair-campbell-and-school-strategy/):

Objective – “Where you want to get to; what you want to achieve.”

Strategy – “The key ideas you need to put in place to achieve your objective,” – should be memorable and easily repeatable

Tactics – “How you visibly implement the strategy,” – these can adjust according to conditions and opportunities that arise.

This has several fascinating applications for SuperCoach. Firstly, it highlights the crucial link between objective and strategy. This is clearly evident in the difference between strategies employed by SuperCoaches aiming for overall glory, compared to those aiming to win head-to-head leagues.

Overall requires accumulation of total points by capitalising on opportunities across the whole season.

Head-to-head requires defeating your direct opponents on a weekly basis, as well as ensuring your team is best placed for finals at the end of the season.

Therefore, trades, start/sit and captaincy decisions should differ depending on your preferred objective.

Trades, start/sit and captaincy decisions are more so examples of tactics under Campbell’s framework. So, the link between these and your objective, is a clear strategy. This is how SuperCoaches can differentiate themselves.

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In recent weeks, SC Playbook contributors have been debating this very topic. Site founder and 2020 runner-up Tim Williams is taking a long-term approach to building a rounded squad through cash generation and planning.

2019 winner Dez Creek is taking an aggressive approach of targeting players who he sees as being able to net maximum points in the short-term.

Both are targeting overall SuperCoach glory. However, they’re applying differing strategies to get there.

So, as you can see, there is more than one way to play the game. Let’s now take a closer look at each part of Campbell’s framework, as it applies to SuperCoach.

Objective

Of course, we’d all like to takeout the overall prize, but how realistic it? Play your cards right and sure, you can give yourself a decent chance. However, a few injuries or suspensions and the dream can quickly be over.

This to me is one of the reasons that can prevent SuperCoach being enjoyable. And I’ve decided that my real objective is to enjoy SuperCoach. This means that whilst I’m happy to dream of overall glory alive, I’m content to finish as high as possible.

Strategy

This is where this framework really gets interesting in terms of SuperCoach.

I recently attended a strategy workshop delivered by a specialist in high performing organisations[i]. A key insight I gained from the workshop, was how to effectively utilise a SWOT analyses (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

The SWOT is a relatively broad analysis, so to utilise it effectively, it’s important to build it from other tools and frameworks. I’ve outlined a few of these that could be utilised to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your SuperCoach team.

Firstly, the weekly Quantium Stat Analysis on SC Playbook provides an ideal tool for competitive analysis (for SuperCoaches aiming for overall glory). Put simply:

  • Low ownership player in your team with favourable average / stats and upcoming draw = Strength.
  • High ownership player not in your team with favourable average / stats and upcoming draw = Weakness.
  • Low ownership player in your team with a high average / favourable and upcoming draw = Opportunity.
  • High ownership player not in your team with favourable average / stats and upcoming draw = Threat.

Secondly, I’ve recently been thinking about the SuperCoach application of a ‘balanced scorecard’. Looking at an adaptation of the perspectives in a balanced scorecard could help form a strategy. The business application of this looks at financial, customer, internal business and innovation/learning processes.

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I’ve adapted this for SuperCoach purposes below:

  • Financial – Strengths / Weaknesses – If you were to look at players in your SuperCoach side as a financial portfolio, what would be the level risks/rewards? (you can read more on SuperCoach risk/reward analysis here).
  • Financial – Opportunities / Threats: What players do you own / not own who are set to rise or drop in value?
  • Players – Strengths/Weaknesses: Who in your squad has favourable upcoming fixtures (including bye coverage)? Who is scoring consistently from repeatable stats (e.g. base + power as shown on nrlsupercoachstats.com)?
  • Players – Opportunities/Threats: Who from outside your squad has favourable upcoming fixtures (including bye coverage)? Who is scoring consistently from repeatable stats (e.g., base + power as shown on nrlsupercoachstats.com)?
  • Internal processes – Strengths / Weaknesses: How do you personally make decisions each week? Do you look at certain statistics? Are there certain articles or podcasts you listen to? Are you considering enough options for your decisions? Do you have any biases?
  • Internal processes – Opportunities / Threats: What tools are available that could aid your decision-making? What existing or new content could aid your decision-making?
  • Learning & Growth – Strengths / Weaknesses: What have you learnt so far this SuperCoach season? What have you learnt from previous seasons? How do you learn most effectively?
  • Learning & Growth – Opportunities / Threats: What trends can you identify from watching games, looking at statistics and reading / listening SuperCoach content?

Tactics

This is where the rubber hits the road by making decisions on your team each week.

I’ve applied the earlier mentioned frameworks to create a matrix for resources and considerations in key decision areas.  

 TradesCaptaincyStart / Sit
Strengths / Weaknesses1) Player Ownership (recommend SC Playbook, Quantium Stat Analysis).
2) Podcasts/articles.
3) Risk / rewards analysis (see Strategy Playbook article)
4) Self-reflection
5) Watching games / highlights
6) Upcoming fixtures
7) Stats analyses  
1) “”
2) “”
4) “”
5) “”
6) “”
7) “”
1) “”
2) “”
3) “”
4) “”
5) “”
6) “”
7) “”
11) 3wisedraftmen Twitter account – real position scoring
12) nrlsupercoachstats.com position vs team stats
Opportunities / Threats1) “”
2) “”
5) “”
6) “”
7) “”
8) Player breakevens
9) Late mail
1) “”
2) “”
3) “”
5) “”
7) “”
9) “”
10) VC loophole calculator (available on SC Playbook website)
1) “”
2) “”
3) “”
4) “”
5) “”
6) “”
7) “”
9) “”
11) “”
12) “”

As you can see, there is quite a lot of duplication here across the three decision categories, with the exceptions being:

8) Player breakevens

9) Late mail

10) VC loophole calculator

11) 3wisedraftment Twitter account – real position scoring

12) nrlsupercoachstats.com position vs team stats

The above demonstrates the extent of resources available and number of factors we need to consider as SuperCoaches. How we utilise these will determine our unique strategy as SuperCoaches. I’m a firm believer that “strategy isn’t what you say, it’s what you do” (Tim Kastelle, 2010, http://timkastelle.org/blog/2010/08/strategy-is-what-you-do/).

So, in summary, once we work out how we make our best decision, we then need to do these things consistently.

As a word of caution when utilising the resources and tools available, one consideration I haven’t listed in the above, is our inherent biases.

In my opinion, one of the biggest biases we face as SuperCoaches, is confirmation bias. This is defined as “the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs” (https://www.britannica.com/science/confirmation-bias). This is where making decisions, based on your own clear rationale, is crucial.

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Conclusion

This article has adapted strategic planning tools for SuperCoach purposes. As SuperCoaches, it’s up to us to set our own strategy for our team. What this looks like is based on how we consider decisions on a weekly basis.

There are significant resources available to aid decision-making for SuperCoaches. How we utilise these resources to inform decision-making is crucial to maximising our chances of success. If we can consistently undertake processes that aid our decision-making, we’ll give ourselves the best shot at overall or head-to-head glory!


[i] https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-david-white-0854862a/?originalSubdomain=au

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