Betfred Sport

Go for goals: Prawn sandwiches

Roy Keane has never been one to mince his words and infamously ranted about ‘the prawn sandwich brigade’.

He said: "We're 1-0 up, then there are one or two stray passes and they're getting on players' backs. It's just not on. At the end of the day they need to get behind the team.”

Rather than criticising the team and eating their prawn sandwiches, they should have been making use of another type of sandwich - the feedback sandwich. This is a very simple and very effective technique to get even more from the performance of your team-mates or players, if you are a manager or coach.

The technique can be broken down into three sections:
- Tell them something that they did well
- Tell them about an area that they need to improve
- Tell them something else that they did well

For example, a team may be using the ball well when they have it and the score is 0-0, but they are sitting back and allowing the opposition too much time to pick their passes and create scoring opportunities.

Instead of laying into them for their slopping marking, you can offer the following:
“You’ve done great in keeping a clean sheet in the first half. To build on this in the second half, let’s get tighter to them when they have the ball and narrow down their options. You’re playing really well and using the ball intelligently, now go out and win the game.”

The reason that this technique works so well is that it gives positive feedback and encouragement about how they can improve their performance so that it is better next time, instead of criticising and running the risk of lowering their confidence, which will have the knock on effect of impacting their performance, likely for the worse.

Telling them what they should doing as opposed to what they shouldn’t be doing has much more of a psychological impact, as it focuses their mind on what they must do.

You can even use the feedback sandwich on yourself. Rather than criticising yourself and knocking your confidence, think of what went well in the game or training session, what you need to improve on next time and finally what else went well in the game or session.

You’ll find that you feel a lot more positive and motivated about going out and improving your performance!

NLP expert Dan Collinson is happy to hear from readers who are interested in the techniques he applies to help players raise their game. He can be contacted via email at:

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