Today: how Arsene Wenger can teach you how to get better with women!
My friend Felix is a huge football fan. He loves reading about all the backstage stories of famous football clubs and finding out about all their new training methods.
Anyway, he was telling me the other day about the innovations that Arsene Wenger had brought to Arsenal over the last ten years or so.
A lot of it was stuff about nutrition and warming down and passing drills – but he told me something about the way that the changing rooms were organised that really piqued my interest.
The Arsenal Locker Room
Apparently, when the players come off the pitch (or training ground) they go first into a “dirty room” where they take off all their dirty kit and chuck it into a huge laundry basket.
Then they go through into the “wet room” where they shower. Then they towel off in another room (a “dry room”). Finally they arrive in a “clean room” where their fresh clothes are laid out for them.
Now clearly this has hygiene benefits: the dirty clothes and dirty bodies don’t contaminate the clean areas. Gone are the days where guys would get dressed while standing around their sweaty jockstraps and picking their way over dirty towels.
But Felix told me that there was a psychological benefit too. Wenger liked the idea that the players left the training session or the match behind them; they left the effort and the stress in the dirty room and the journey from dirty -> wet -> dry -> clean represented a psychological cleansing.
Wenger didn’t want his players dwelling on what had happened on the pitch. He didn’t want player who’d had a bad game to get down on himself; he didn’t want players who’d had a blinder strutting around either. The players walked out of the final room with the match behind them, refreshed and ready to eat or have a meeting or a massage or go home or whatever it was that Wenger next had planned for them.
Keep Your Venues Appropriate
I wonder if there’s some merit to bringing the Wenger approach as we learn how to get better with women. Too often, guys want to indulge in long debriefing sessions and analysis while in the club. They want to breakdown each approach and go over what they could have done better.
But the club isn’t the arena for analysis. The club is like the pitch or the training ground: it’s where you play around with new ideas and test new strategies. You do your analysis away from the hustle of the club/pitch, in the meeting room or when you’ve got back home or over a coffee the next day.
So keep the club for chatting to girls. When you’ve finished practising, head home and have a shower and put on some fresh clothes. THEN you can look back and work out what you did well and what you need to improve.
How We Do It
When we run our training courses, we differentiate between teaching sessions and what we call “supervised practice”. Teaching sessions are conducted with an actress present and in a quiet environment where we can really get stuck into the details. We may try the same opener or the same conversational gambit a dozen times until we get it right.
Supervised practice sessions are exactly what they sound like; they are a chance for the client to have a go at what he’s learned with real women in real environments. But they aren’t times for analysis or detailed feedback, which will come at the start of the next session. So structure your learning appropriately for the environment you’re in, and keep the clubs and the streets for doing, not thinking or talking.