An appetite for hard work is fundamental for success in all sports. But the hardest working team does not always win the prize. Most managers will ask their team to work harder than the opposition, but the top managers ask their team to work smarter than the opposition.
Smart work is based solely around having a solid and consistent game plan that is ingrained into the minds of the players that must carry it out. Donegal are probably the smartest working team in the country at the moment. Their players know where they "must" be during most phases of play both offensively and defensively, and this allows them to focus their efforts in a smart way, where the results of the hard work will be nearly always immediately evident.
If we take the particular aspect of say tackling high up the pitch -
Most managers will tell their players to "push up" , put them under pressure, and try to force the turn over - this will take ferocious hard work.
Smart managers might say "push up" and force the opposition towards the sideline by over defending on the strong side. Once the player turns back, we get double pressure on just as they turn, coming in off the blind side. This will force a turn over in the tackle or force the player in possession into playing a looped pass. We try to get the interception here.
So in essence, smart work boils down to attention to detail and the "knowing". Players like to know they are working hard at the thing they have been asked to do, and while it is impossible to cater for every situation, clear principles of play will ensure that your players are working smart,and managing the game on the pitch.