Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)?

Judgers like to have things settled, which means eternally coming to conclusions. Perceivers prefer to keep their plans and opinions open, so that no valuable experience or opportunity will be missed. But how do these opposite perspectives apply in the world of football management? Here's a breakdown of six fundamental categories...

Media Interaction

Judgers are generally bigger moaners. They tend to be more critical (judgemental) of referees, mainly because unwanted decisions interrupt their best-laid plans and craving for order and control. Post-match summaries often make reference to what they anticipated beforehand.

Perceivers tend to be more philosophical about bad breaks, making observations rather than conclusions. They prefer to ‘dust themselves down and move on’. They are inclined to spend more time explaining their rationale behind certain tactical decisions because the decision itself, at the time, was probably spontaneous.

Match Analysis

Judgers are quick to jump to conclusions. They might even have conclusions formed in their mind straight after the final whistle, before they’ve seen a game back on video. And those conclusions will often relate to preconceptions, developing a pattern of continuity regarding strengths and weaknesses. Opposition scouting is done well in advance.

Perceivers like to keep an open mind, so might not debrief players until much later after matches and they generally spend less time worrying about the next opponent. The aspects of a performance that come under scrutiny is liable to change from one game to the next, which brings variety for the players rather than covering the same old ground week after week.

Match Preparation

Judgers like everything to be ordered, planned and scheduled. They plan their work and work their plan, so everybody knows where they stand in the scheme of the overall routine. However, this can be troublesome in the midst of a busy fixture list and quick turnarounds can lead to stress and fatigue. Under these conditions, Judgers will invariably blame the schedule.

Perceivers are less orderly but more adaptable. They cope better with unforeseen events or difficult circumstances. They can often wait until the day before a game before naming their team or outlining their game plan. This keeps players on their toes but Judging players don’t always cope well with such uncertainty.

Tactical Outlook

Judgers are likely to have one or two systems they stick to religiously and strive to perfect, even substitutions will be mostly pre-ordained. The players are made to fit the system rather than the other way around. When games don’t go according to plan, Judgers will seldom make radical changes to disrupt the pattern.

Perceivers are much less predictable. They have an extensive range of ideas and will more likely tailor their system according to the players at their disposal. They operate best with a broad range of player types, giving them with a variety of different options. They aren’t afraid to make radical changes during the course of a game.

Player Recruitment

Judgers prefer to get their business done early, giving them a full pre-season to integrate new players and drill their methods. They usually compile a hit-list of players they would like to target before a window opens and they become stressed if the recruitment process drags on longer than anticipated.

Perceivers are wheeler-dealers in the transfer market. They are opportunists who love nothing more than doing last-minute deals on deadline day. This is invariably where they find inspiration, thriving in a high-stakes environment that demands a calm head and favours spontaneity.


Judgers tend to have their favourites, often players who are most reliable in sticking to the brief. This can create a sense of hierarchy in a dressing room - for better or worse - but many elite athletes and flair players tend to be Perceivers and they can lose motivation or inspiration once this pattern develops.

Perceivers are more inclusive of everyone and most players tend to get an opportunity eventually. However, this can lead to Judging players becoming disillusioned by the lack of order and continuity. High player turnover can sometimes dilute the identity of a squad.

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Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander
(Salford City)
12th October
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