Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)?

Sensing types, by definition, rely on their five senses for perception. They deal in 'real world' actualities where actions speak louder than words. Intuitives are more curious, preoccupied by possibilities and potential. But how do these opposite perspectives apply in the world of football management? Here's a breakdown of six fundamental categories...

Media Interaction

Sensors talk in concrete terms. They deal in facts and relay their memory of events in sequential order, recalling certain moments of particular relevance in specific detail. They paint a vivid picture when referring to chances created, individual tactical battles and key moments where games were won and lost.

Intuitives are more abstract. They jump between time intervals, recalling things at random and talk about intangibles such as momentum swings, pressure and character. They like to summarise the action using metaphors and analogies, boiling the whole thing down into a general impression.

Match Analysis

Sensors view matches as a step-by-step process made up of concrete components. They prefer to categorise things in bullet points and talk of 'key performance indicators'. They view matches as ’11 versus 11' whereby individual players should know their own jobs and be held accountable for mistakes. They generally prefer man-to-man marking at corners and free-kicks.

Intuitives are more concerned with space. They take imaginative leaps when conducting video analysis and are more inclined to identify a particular opposition weakness that others haven’t noticed before, although it sometimes comes at the expense of correcting shortcomings in their own team. They tend to prefer zonal marking.

Match Preparation

Sensors rarely get ahead of themselves and deal with their schedule one game at a time. They correct weaknesses as a matter of urgency and focus primarily on containing opposition strengths ahead of exploiting potential frailties. The old adage 'if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it' sums up the general attitude of most sensors.

Intuitives are visionaries. They operate with a much bigger picture in mind. They stick to specific values in their training regime, usually unswayed by the outcome of the last match. They rotate their team more readily when confronted with fixture congestion and they often set out to hurt the opposition with something unexpected.

Tactical Outlook

Sensors view systems and formations in black and white terms according to what works and what doesn’t, based on knowledge previously acquired. They never try to 'reinvent the wheel' but this shouldn’t be confused with an aversion to risk. Sensing, when matched with Perception, can produce a real appetite for taking big tactical gambles.

Intuitives can be more innovative, creative and experimental. They often strive to be different and imagine new possibilities with regards to systems and formations. They are more inclined to spring surprises and like to keep opponents guessing. They tend to utilise players out of their natural position more.

Player Recruitment

Sensors never like putting square pegs in round holes, so they prefer certain types of players that suit a pre-determined system or philosophy, like buying parts for a car. They seek a balanced team and value experience. Luxury players are no use if they don’t do the job required, so they tend to be kept to a minimum.

Intuitives are more inclined to indulge themselves by signing players based on their bottom-line technical ability, sometimes regardless of whether they actually need them. They tend to invest in potential more than reliability, taking more risks on young players or wayward types. Individual match-winning quality is what appeals most to them.


Sensors are straight-talking, 'proper football men'. You always know where you stand with them. They value honesty and expect every one to be 'singing from the same hymn sheet'. As such, they sometimes to struggle to relate to 'misunderstood' flair players (individuals who are usually Intuitives).

Intuitives can be difficult to read from a players’ perspective but with that comes the capacity to inspire in a motivational sense. Their man-management style is more varied, for better or worse, and they tend to produce moments of ingenuity to keep players stimulated.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson
(Bolton Wanderers)
21st August