How OODA Loop can Benefit Individuals in a Recreational Setting

Damian Espinosa
4 min readMay 15, 2020

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OODA Loop can be beneficial to an individual in Sports Management to make decisions in a structured manor. Including this system can benefit program directors, coaches, and other staff members.

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What is OODA Loop?

OODA Loop is an acronymn standing for:

Observe- where a visible advantage is crucial

Orient- Where the observations are quickly turned into a situational assessment.

Decide- where a decision is made based on the situation

Act- where action rapidly follows the decision

  • The OODA loop was a tool developed by military strategist John Boyd to explain how individuals and organizations can win in uncertain and chaotic environments. (2)
  • It can be applied to anything with the knowledge that it can ensure that process runs smoother and more efficiently.

Main Idea

OODA Loop can be beneficial to an individual in Sports Management to make decisions in a structured manor. Including this system can benefit program directors, coaches, and other staff members.

  1. OODA Loop provides a way to elevate situations program directors may face at various events.

In a recreational setting a program director faces many things on a daily basis. Implementing the OODA Loop system of differentiation can help the director make the best decision. Decision making is something that is highly stressed on by many factors. These particular factors can change the way the director percevives the situation due to the high stress of decision making. With the help of OODA Loop the director now has a basis, or foundation, on which he can build the best programs. Whether its a missing coach, the wrong amount of equipment, the facility temporarily out of use, a decision has to be made. OODA Loop helps the program director disect the situation fairly in order to make the best decision moving forward.

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2. During sporting events, OODA Loop can be vital for coaches to implement when adversity strikes.

There are four key areas within OODA Loop. They are manuever warfare (emphasizes disrupting the enemy’s decision-making skills), mental models representations and explanations of humans behaviors), situational awareness (environmental stimuli), and reaction time (refers to the time that elapses between a stimulus and the response given to that stimulus)(3). Based off these four, one can easily see how these can transition for coaches and even athletes.

Coaches and athletes are bound to face circumstances in a game setting that make for hard decision making. As a coach it can be hard to assess a situation because one may be missing information, time, and skills that they deem neccesary. OODA Loop put into practice helps each coach have a guideline to follow, one that all know well, and one that ultimately works. As a coach, you want to give your team the best advantage in a competition setting. For example, a coach would go to many lengths to ensure the win. Step one may mean coaches watch a video (observe), gather thoughts (orient), game-plan offense/defense (decide), and apply to the team (act).

3. Facility managers can gain from using OODA Loop by ensuring the safety of the facility.

As a facility manager it is your job to ensure the safety and work flow of your particular area. OODA Loop can be adopted into ones training upon hiring in order to make sure everyone knows and understands how to best solve every situation they may face before they face it. It can even include financial issues, cancellations/postponements, working with higher authority, cooperating with people outside of the workforce such as parents, students, and athlete personal issues, etc. Being one step ahead in day to day things can help ensure the safest and best outcomes. Safety is crucial, as a manager it is so important to use OODA Loop and model it to the employees.

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Conclusion

Is OODA Loop completely necessary to use in the work place? No many have been working for years and still to this day without adopting this exact plan. However, I do believe we practice this idea more than we thinkwe just dont use a title for it. Some of us may never of heard of this exact method. OODA Loop has been proven to benefit in many areas of life. Looking from the outside in, if there is a possibility to diminish time, conquer daily issues, and use less energy while still remaining an effective business I would say it is worth it.

(1)Luft, A. (2020, March 17). The OODA Loop and the Half-Beat. Retrieved from https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2020/3/17/the-ooda-loop-and-the-half-beat

(2) Taylor Pearson. “The OODA Loop: How to Turn Uncertainty into Opportunity.” Taylor Pearson, July 30, 2019. https://taylorpearson.me/ooda-loop/.

(3) Rouse, Margaret. “What Is OODA Loop? — Definition from WhatIs.com.” SearchCIO. TechTarget, June 28, 2019. https://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/OODA-loop.

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