Does sacking the coach help or hinder the team in the short term? Evidence from Belgian soccer.
The coaching carousel or turnover is an extreme but frequently occurring phenomenon in soccer. This study examines the effectiveness and efficiency of firing the coach in terms of team performance. In general, the purpose of coach turnover is to improve results in the short run. Therefore, the period of four games before and four games after the date of resignation is the focus of this paper. The hypotheses are set up within the concepts of the organizational learning theory. We analysed the effect of dismissing coaches by examining data from 8392 Belgian soccer games in the first, second and third national divisions; we found that many of the teams whose performance had declined over approximately two months had dismissed their coaches. Within four games under the management of a new coach, team performance improved. However, further analyses revealed that this increase was due to regression to the mean and cannot be attributed to the new coach. A control group comprising teams that had an equal performance dip but did not dismiss their coach showed a similar improvement. We conclude that coach turnover in Belgian soccer is neither an effective nor efficient means to improve performance in the short term.
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