Do all soccer players behave professionally?
More importantly do you?
Before you can behave professionally you need to work out a few ground rules first.
You need to draw the “line in the sand”.
Soccer behaviour but more importantly professional behaviour is about the interactions that you have with others during soccer training or a match.
Think about this for a minute.
The day to day events of getting along with people at soccer defines how you feel about soccer.
You don’t believe me!
Ask any young player that has been bullied, intimidated, abused or even discriminated whilst playing soccer? Ask him how he feels about the beautiful world game?
But remember this, the way you respond to other teammates, coaches or managers plays a big part in defining their soccer experiences.
So what happens when those around you behave unprofessionally?
More importantly, what do you do when those around you misbehave?
Can I guess?
You probably choose to “let it go” because you decide that the behaviour while unprofessional, is not important. Chances are you will also find that when it comes to your unprofessional behaviour, your teammates and coaches will often choose to “let it go” for the same reasons.
Just a friendly reminder, there are times when you should not or cannot let things go. Unacceptable behaviour is exactly that, unacceptable.
This is where you must draw the line!
Easier said than done, don’t you think? So where do you draw the line?
With all that said, it isn’t always easy to know where to draw the line.
Do you know why?
For starters, the line can vary from player to player. The line in the sand also operates at different levels. Two quick and easy examples are the club level and the player level.
At the club level, acceptable behaviour is based on club values, rules and the environment. Do you feel your club has a clear definition of what is considered to be acceptable behaviour?
If not! Why not?
“Lines in the sand” only works when the players and the club have a clear understanding of the rules and what is deemed unacceptable.
Don’t get me wrong here, most players want to play respectfully and are hungry to learn. But every team must welcome the “line in the sand” mentality to ensure that those who are disrespectful are supported to change or kicked out if they continue to cross the line.
How do you as a player take a stand?
As a player, the one thing you have control over is how you choose to deal with a situation.
“How far has the line in the sand been crossed?”
In most cases you can talk directly and respectfully to a teammate, coach or your manager to resolve the problem. This would normally result in a positive outcome for everyone involved.
But what happens when it’s your supporters or even worse, the travelling fans?
What do you do?
This is very important so listen up.
The extent to which the line has been crossed may be so severe that it becomes dangerous to you and your team. As a result other channels are needed in the form of Police. You or the club cannot control problems such as hooliganism.
Don’t even try to draw a line on hooligans.
It’s a lost cause!
The points I’m trying to make here are simple,
Check the mirror from time to time and ask that handsome player in the mirror, “am I behaving professionally?”
Spend a little time thinking about how you can resolve certain problems and who you can confide in.
Last but not least, unacceptable behaviour in the form of intimidation, bullying, violence, racism or discrimination should never be tolerated or accepted.
Remember to draw the line in the sand and act professionally. After all, you are chasing a professional contract, aren’t you?
“May the winds of destiny blow you to the stars.”