At risk of doing the same introduction ad nauseum, if you’ve found this website, chances are, you love football. Whether it be analysis, tactics, transfer talk, data or whatever it may be, I know you share the same love and passion that I hold near and dear to my heart, and that is the beautiful game. So let me ask you a question. How do you release the footballing demons (a.k.a. all of your thoughts on the beautiful game) out into the world? I know you have those thoughts, bursting inside of you, desperately clinging to the edge of your cliff brain, just waiting to get out. Do you share your thoughts on Twitter? Through podcasting? Writing? Do you bottle it up inside and never let it out? Regardless of whatever it is that would constitute as your “jam”, why not start your own website? Seriously, why not?
Six years ago, on a whim, I started themastermindsite.com. I don’t really remember how I came to decide that I would start my own website. All I remember is that I wanted to share my thoughts with the world. I wanted to delve into the strategies behind not only football, but strategy-based game shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race. What started as a place for me to rant about whatever I was watching on the screen and creatively get my thoughts out to the world, has now become one of the biggest tactics and analysis websites around. Little known fact – that’s actually why the website has nothing to do with football in the name. I fancied myself a “mastermind” (still do), but it was never meant to be exclusive to football. Around 2018, it evolved in that direction once I saw the potential I could have in this realm to truly educate others about the game. And here’s the thing – you could, with enough practice and enough dedication, do the exact same thing. In fact, if you want to grow and expand your knowledge of the game, starting your own website is one of the most productive undertakings you can take on. So with that, here are five reasons why you should put your plans for tonight on halt, and start your own football website.
1. LEARNING & GROWTHEmbed from Getty Images
One of the top five questions thrown my way is the old song and dance – “How do you know what you know?” How does anyone know what they know, really? But in truth, somewhere between 50% of what I know about the game has come from writing about the game. Each and every single article requires far more research and intense scrutinization over the finer details of the game, than sheer intuition and intelligence. Following the processes detailed here, and here, my knowledge about the game grows on a daily basis, through the simultaneous system of observing, learning, researching, and writing.
Don’t get me wrong. This takes time and dedication. On a weekly basis, I watch about a dozen matches, listen to another dozen podcasts, watch educational-enough videos, and interact with a countless amount of people to hear their thoughts on the beautiful game. I don’t do any of that for the direct purpose of strengthening my articles, even if that work may inspire certain topics. But all of it helps grow my knowledge about the game, and how I can continuously take my analytical and tactical edge to the next level.
I also coached for years (this will be my first summer not coaching in eight years!), did my fair share of coaching and analysis courses, and spent years on a soccer pitch having fun and spreading the game we all know and love. But all of that combined cannot equate to the amount I’ve learned from actively thinking about the concepts behind the eight-hundred+ articles on this site. Writing is so tremendously powerful. I believe that if you can explain something to someone else, you’ve instantly become more educated on that topic, and enhanced your own knowledge of the subject. Writing within the realms of football website gives you that platform. 800+ articles later, and you’ll have former professional players, current pro coaches, and some of the top writers in the business calling YOU a “genius”.
But the important thing to remember is that learning is a continuous process. You never know everything there is to know, and you can always learn from and be challenged by knowledgeable others. Writing about the game helps you to constantly question your own biases and beliefs, while learning about the biases and beliefs of others that guides their own work. It’s one of the most powerful learning and growth transformations that you can undergo within the game.
2. improve your writing
This may not be something that you first think about when starting a football website, but writing consistently will help you to consistently write more efficiently and effectively (see those big words there!) in every facet of your life. I’ve never been in a line of work where some level of writing wasn’t key to the process. Even as a summer camp counsellour, I was constantly writing songs and cheers for my camp groups to perform. It’s something that I’ve always loved to do, and something that has always been a part of my life. But my writing between 2016 and 2022 is night and day. You can even see that for yourself if you want to dig into the archives!
There’s something extremely powerful about scrutinizing over the same topic for six years, that allows you to know exactly what words to sandwich.Embed from Getty Images
When writers approach me about wanting to contribute, I often have to remind myself that they haven’t been writing about the same topic for six years. Those who haven’t been writing for a captive audience often still write in a way that served them in school – to the fact, to the point, essay style with little room for personality and humour. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve received that look like a Wikipedia entry. But as you write, and edit, and write, and edit, and write again, you continuously learn how to convey what you have to say in a succinct way that serves your shiny personality. You start writing less like a robot, and start writing more like a human. You start writing less like you’re speaking to your friend Ralph at the bar, and start writing more like you’re writing to your friend Ralph at the bar. You even learn the best ways to convey your ideas, or the best words to use to get your point across, that you can then use repeatedly within your work – speeding up the process. How’s that for an automatism?Embed from Getty Images
This is the massive benefit of continuously writing about the game – regardless of the topic. Even if your writing isn’t all that grand, there’s a reason why the untrue saying of “practice makes perfect” still exists. Practice makes for improvement, in any realm. So take your writing to the next level right now by writing more. Again, if you read any of my articles from 2019, they are significantly lower in writing quality, tactical and footballing knowledge, even grammar! But take one of my articles from 2016, and that 2019 article holds an infinitely higher status. That isn’t to say my old articles don’t hold any value. In fact, the opposite. Those old articles have been the gateway, the catalyst, toward becoming the writer that I am now. Heck, next year I’ll probably look back on this article and shudder at all the errors of what I don’t know right now, that I will know then.
3. OPPORTUNITIES IN THE INDUSTRYEmbed from Getty Images
While this has always been a passion project and an enjoyable hobby for my ever-growing lack of free time, this kind of platform can always be used as a stepping stone toward greater avenues. Anyone who’s done well in this sphere has always gone on to do great work for other people, whether it be writing for a top website like The Athletic, or working for a professional club.
Had I never started this website back in 2016 (or continued growing it into 2022), I would never have been able to have cool conversations with the likes of David Edgar, Michael Cox or Alex Stewart. I would have never been able to write analyses for professional clubs, or have my work cited by some of the best in the business. If you want to work for a professional club someday, whether it be as a coach or analyst, starting your own website is an excellent way to get your name out there, and separate yourself from the crowd. Not only will you constantly challenge yourself to learn more about the game and develop your craft, but you will also garner the attention from onlookers. This isn’t to say that you can’t be intrinsically motivated to write for you and you only, but sharing your work with the world results in some seriously strange occurrences. You never know who is reading your work and who might just be a DM away. By the way, if you’re reading this Kristian Jack, I’m waiting.
In 2019, I was essentially a nobody to the footballing world. Fast forward to 2022, and I’ve appeared on podcasts, had my name referenced and mentioned on most of the top platforms that exist in the space (the others are just jealous), and written reports for pro clubs. What’s more? You know my name. That’s pretty cool.
P.S. It’s Rhys’s Pieces if you don’t know already know. #Rhyspect.
4. NEW CONNECTIONS & RELATIONSHIPSEmbed from Getty Images
Similarly to the opportunities that can come up within the footballing industry itself, starting your own football website provides a natural gateway into connecting with some marvelously cool people. Just a little over a year ago, I was approached by RDF Tactics to write tactical analyses for his Football Manager videos. I’ve never played a game of Football Manager in my life (I’m sure I’d love it), but it was a great experience that helped both of us expand our networks, engagements, and connections. Around the same time, I connected with Sam Holmshaw over in England, with whom I’ve now had several valuable conversations about the game. On the daily, I engage with football fans from around the world, passionate about the exact same things that I am. I’ve become closer with people from my own university that I barely ever spoke to during our time as Residence Life Dons together (shout out Kausty!), and had numerous of talented people do great work for the site (Declan Da Barp and Charlie Ellis, I see you). It’s a truly magical feeling to connect with people from all over the world on the beautiful game, and constantly learn about the game from thousands of others. All of that and more can be possible without starting your own website, but it will be enhanced once you take that leap.
5. THE POWER OF HELPING OTHERSEmbed from Getty Images
Helping others has always been a major focus of mine within this space. My goal is to educate others about the beautiful game, and assist anyone in the quest to improve their footballing craft. I’ve never desired to make massive amounts of money through this, to turn it into a business, or take on writers who care about a pay cheque more than spreading their knowledge and passion for the game. With your own footballing website, by sharing your thoughts with others, you will always be helping others learn about the game, whether education is a goal or not. As you build and expand your website into new avenues, you can increase the variety of forms in which you spread that love. On TMS, in addition to all the articles, I also have Ebooks, Podcasts, and opportunities for Q&A – giving more to those looking to scuba dive into the ocean. Soon enough, I’ll have courses and a revamped mentorship program to add to the mix. Through all of this, the goal is to educate others about the beautiful game and help anyone that may qualify as a “football obsessed individual” to develop their craft in any realm they wish.Embed from Getty Images
Beyond that motivating cause, you may be surprised how your newfound skills translate to your professional or personal life. I already spoke about the benefit of improving your writing, but starting a website has helped me learn about E-commerce, business practices, social media marketing, email marketing, networking, and even some elements of leadership. To give an example, my current workplace has existed since the 1980s, but never bothered to develop an email marketing scheme to accompany their strong social media presence. Through having gone through the motions with TheMastermindSite, I was able to quickly set my organization up with an email marketing plan, helping them in ways they wouldn’t have dared to try otherwise.
This is to say that not only will learn new skills and tricks, but you’ll also be able to use that newfound knowledge to continuously go on and help others. This is ultimately what I want to do most with my life (help others), in whatever capacity that may be. Having this grand-scale website always feels personally meaningful to me, because of its potential to help anyone and everyone that visits.
If you start your own football website (and you should!), you can have whatever goals in mind that you want. But ultimately, what is the point if you’re not helping others, or at the very least, helping yourself.
So there it is! Five reasons why you should start your own football website. Be sure to follow on social media (and email!) via the links below to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
This article is part of our Introduction to Football Analysis – Online Course with Rhys Desmond. See what else is in store for the course and navigate to the next section below.
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Introduction to Football Analysis – Online Course with Rhys Desmond
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