Soccer Science and Soccer Success.
What keeps you from playing for the Soccer Team of your dreams? What keeps you from starting the new training/ coaching regime you’ve been planning for years? Why do you keep missing those training sessions? What prevents you from doing whatever it takes to make your Soccer Life exactly as you’ve imagined it?
Even though you know what actions are needed to succeed and that all these actions would benefit you and allow you to play at the highest level, you fail to act simply because in that moment, you associate more pain to doing what’s necessary than missing out on your Soccer Dream.
So what can we learn from this? As a coach or player, we must be careful what we link pain and pleasure to. We must see Soccer as the beautiful World game and not link the pain of the cold winter nights training or the pressures of parents demanding that their children should be playing.
To put it simply, although most will deny it, what drives our behaviour is instinctive reaction to pain and pleasure, not intellectual calculations. Take a second to really absorb the above statement.
Intellectually, you believe that missing training will be bad for you. For starters you let the team down which inevitably destroys team spirit and moral. Your fitness levels diminish and so does your skills and match hardness to some extent. You are aware of the consequences, but you continue to miss training sessions. Why? Is it because were not driven by what we Intellectual know? Its a harsh fact that we’re driven by what we associate pleasure and pain to.
If you associate training sessions or Soccer with pain, the likelihood of you attending training will follow a graph of percentages that declines linearly towards zero. Your attendance will continually decline to the point were you will give up the game you envisioned to be fun and all your soccer dreams will inevitably be shattered as well. All those days you dreamt of playing professionally will seem like an empty pipe dream that never became reality.
So what are some of the factors that would condition you to associate Soccer with pain? The cold winter nights could even break the most dedicated professional. Your fitness levels or lack of could easily let you miss a pre-season due to the physical pain associated with high intensity training. Your lack of form or the mistake you made on the weekend could easily bruise your ego and confidence. These associations with pain are the reasons why you will never commit to Soccer and your soccer ambitions.
So how do we overcome this? What’s the first step in creating a change? The first step is to become aware of the power that “pain and pleasure” exerts on us. Short term pain must be overcome in order to experience long term pleasure. No player has ever made the big league without experiencing pain along the way. Lets not forget, that its not pain that drives us, but the fear that something will lead to pain. Most players will not committ to Soccer for the fear of experiencing pain. Whether it’s injuries, fitness, bruised egos or the risk of being rejected, most players don’t even try. They will harvest in their own misery and continue to take the safe path to no where.
On the other hand, it’s not actual pleasure that drives us, but our belief or assumption that somehow taking a certain action will lead to pleasure. If we train hard with discipline, we “might” make a living out of Soccer. We “might” be rewarded with the inflated pay packets of a professional Soccer player. The emphasis is on the word “might”, the belief, the chance, the dream that we too can make it. This is the driving force.
As you can see, we’re not driven by the reality, but by our perception of reality. To conclude on this post, Soccer has placed players under the categories of pain and pleasure. These categories will inevitably determine the experience you get out of Soccer. So my suggestion to you is this,
“Make pain your new best friend, one that will drive you to a new level of Soccer. Link Soccer to pleasure and the pain you experience as the stepping stones to your new 5 year deal with the club of your choice….”