Just the sound of a T-bone steak sizzling on the BBQ makes my mouth water. Lately I’ve found comfort in cooking steak in the backyard. Gives you time to reflect on the day.
With the change in season I’ve come across some large spider webs in the backyard with happy spiders displaying the no vacancy sign due the influx of trapped flies.
As my mouth drooled I managed to free a butterfly that was trapped only if he agreed to stay away from my BBQ. The deal was accepted while the spider looked on in disbelief.
You’re probably thinking, huh, but hear me out.
The biggest problem/s facing kid’s soccer these days can be related back to the spider web. Funny how my mind comes up with this kind of stuff.
We’ve all seen spider webs and witnessed the misfortunate stuck, waiting for their death.
But here’s a thought.
Picture young players caught in the middle of a large spider web. They’re stuck in the middle and like most people, scared. After all, big spider web usually equates to big spider, maybe even two.
Being stuck in the middle creates confusion, paralysis, soccrastination and generally a sense of fear.
Okay enough of the spiders for a minute.
All development, growth and improvements happen in spurts or stages. A child learns how to crawl, walk and run in that order. It’s a process.
Within each stage, the child comes to a point where further development or improvements are no longer possible. Whether it’s the coach, team or environment, certain skills, knowledge or techniques become inadequate for the young player to progressively develop.
Status quo anyone?
In most cases, this state of paralysis (fear) becomes permanent, which is why so many children will quit the game before they become teenagers. They simply fail to grow beyond a particular stage of development.
Let’s eliminate some of the common problems a young player might face for a second such as inadequate coaches, bullying, unnecessary pressure and the lack of focus.
What could be the problem now?
Can you identify any others?
How about experience?
That’s right experience!
Within each stage of development, we gain experience, knowledge and wisdom which usually come from the school of hard knocks. By engaging in the great game of soccer, we never know when we are going to enter a new stage. We never know when the improvements we desperately seek will eventually surface.
The little boy who learnt how to walk, run and now juggle a ball has paid a price. Believe it or not, experience has a price.
Each goal we achieve, each improvement we identify, each problem we’ve overcome adds to our confusion. Each hurdle we leap frog represents one more strand in the web.
As we finally move away from the center of the web, we’re constantly confronted with new layers of web. As we continue to develop and improve, at some point, we get caught, troubled by a new web strand. Improvements suddenly stop and inhibit our ability to learn new drills and techniques.
So what happens, we get stuck. Just like a fly struggling to escape. Get passed one layer, two layers and finally give up on the third.
Our ability to improve and train suddenly stops with a mass of accumulated experience that waits for our spider to feed. The journey of soccer doesn’t stop when we get stuck, unlike the fly waiting for those hairy, creepy legs. Something else occurs.
When we’re stuck or faced with problems we get very good at developing habits. Especially those bad ones.
-hiding at the back of training drills
-refusing to kick or practice with your weaker foot
-compromising development for victories and the list goes on.
These habits which are formed by experience can turn us into spider fodder. We become overwhelmed with confusion, paralysis and fear that comes from years of accumulated experience.
Simply playing or training harder, faster and longer doesn’t necessarily work all the time if you do not address the other issues. Image, confidence, self esteem and praising effort rather than ability are key contributors.
If you’re finding this difficult, which it is, don’t worry.
All stages of improvements and levels of playing ability form new stands in your web. So if you’re finding that some of the fun and excitement of being a soccer player/parent is fading, remember the fly trapped in the middle of the web.
Each new strand of web is just one step closer to freedom and that elusive professional contract. Most will not escape the spider. Will you?
So many young players are walking through life dazed.
They’re trapped in the middle of their web and the battle hasn’t even begun.
They can hardly move.
We make soccer complicated. It doesn’t have to be!
3 Steps to free your children from the Spider.
Step 1 Love your children.
Step 2 Love your children.
Step 3 Grab a large broom (practice, practice, practice) and help tear down those spider webs.
“May the winds of destiny blow you to the stars.”