Friday, March 24, 2017

Soccer's 4-3-2-1 Formation

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Birmingham resident Ramon Arias has served as president of the pizza franchise Bravo Corporation since 2002. An avid follower of Alabama collegiate sports, Ramon Arias has also spent time coaching his children in Birmingham youth soccer.

There are numerous ways for a coach to organize the 10 players he or she is allowed to have on the field. The most common - and basic - is the 4-4-2 with four defenders, four midfielders, and two attackers. Another variation is the 4-3-2-1, appropriately dubbed the Christmas tree formation.

Like the 4-4-2, the Christmas tree formation employs four defenders (two fullbacks and two center-backs) who rarely cross the half line, but that is the only way in which the two are similar. Two of the three central midfielders are expected to play attacking roles, while one is expected to hang back and focus on defending. Having just one dedicated striker presents challenges in creating offense on the run, but the formation is best used when protecting a lead.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Insights into Leadership on the Field and in the Workplace

Ramon Arias serves as president of Bravo Corporation, in which role he guides a successful restaurant business in Birmingham, Alabama. Having coached his children in youth soccer, Ramon Arias of Birmingham, Alabama, believes that sports teach core lessons of teamwork and character building. 

In a piece published on the Development Dimensions International Talent Management Intelligence blog, a digital marketing executive reflected on connections between on-the-field teamwork and business success. One key insight is that technical experience is not equivalent to leadership. The effective leader understands the rules and strategies of the game intimately and then takes this knowledge to the next level, by assessing the personalities, as well as strengths and weaknesses, of individual players. 

Understanding how to motivate others can be challenging, particularly when the leader is close to the players. The line between mentor and friend is a fine one, and setting the proper boundaries, without coming off as pedantic, is a critical leadership test many coaches face. One key corporate insight is that the inability to lead those who were former colleagues is a key stumbling block when transitioning to a role as “front-line leader.”

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Alabama Alumni Playing in the NFL

Ramon Arias is a Birmingham resident and graduate of the University of Alabama, where he studied economics. When he's not busy managing the successful pizza franchise Bravo Corporation, Ramon Arias enjoys following the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team, which plays an hour outside of Birmingham at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama has been one of the most successful college football teams in recent years, winning four national championships in the last seven years. That success has led to an influx of former Crimson Tide players competing in the National Football League (NFL). At the start of the 2016 season, there were 35 Alabama alumni on NFL rosters.

Fifteen of those 35 players are offensive or defensive linemen, while five are either top-tier running backs or up-and-coming backs. Eddie Lacy and T.J Yeldon, for example, have been starting backs with their respective teams for at least two seasons, while recently drafted Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake are thought to have promising futures. 

The most dominant former Crimson Tide in the NFL has to be Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who finished second in total yards among all receivers in 2016. Other prominent former Alabama players in the NFL include Amari Cooper, Landon Collins, Dont'a Hightower, and C.J. Mosley.