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When applied to football…a system of continuous improvement in quality training, team culture, productivity, leadership. It can be applied as an individual player or complete teams approach to the game.
We'll look at Kaizen by answering three questions: What is Kaizen? What are the benefits of Kaizen? What do you need to do to get started using Kaizen principles?
History: Kaizen was created in Japan following World War II. The word Kaizen means "continuous improvement". It comes from the Japanese words 改 ("kai") which means "change" or "to correct" and 善 ("zen") which means "good".
Kaizen is a system that involves every team member - from the top players down to the cleaning staff of a club. Everyone is encouraged to come up with small improvement suggestions on a regular basis. This is not a once a month or once a year activity. It has to be continuous… a daily process.
Japanese companies, such as Toyota, Honda, Canon and Sony, a total of 60 to 70 suggestions per employee per year are written down, shared and implemented. This process has made them some of the most powerful and successful companies in the world. Can it do the same for an individual or team.. Without a doubt it can.
In most cases these are not ideas for major changes. Kaizen is based on making little changes on a regular basis: always improving quality and performance and reducing waste.
Suggestions are not limited to the specifics of the game. Kaizen is based on making changes anywhere that improvements can be made. Western philosophy may be summarised as, "if it’s not broke, don't fix it." The Kaizen philosophy is to "do it better, make it better and improve it even if it isn't broken, because if we don't, we can't compete with those who do." A fine example of this is the gap between our English game and the foreign game… they are just better than us.
Kaizen does not have to be just applied to our lives surrounding the game or club. Improvements can include both home and football club life. Kaizen even includes social activities. It is a concept that is applied in every aspect of a player’s life.
Kaizen involves setting standards and then continually improving those standards. To support the higher standards Kaizen also involves providing the training, materials and supervision mental and physical that is needed for players to achieve the higher standards and maintain their ability to meet those standards on a daily basis.