Knock, knock, anybody home? What makes a good player great? What makes a mediocre player dominate the green pastures?
Could it be genetics?
What about attitude and the ability to accept situations and make them work in your favour? My friend Jared Montz has a slogan “Believe in it!” which I endorse whole heartedly.
The slogan is so simple, innocent, but so true. My spin on the slogan is “You only achieve what you believe.”
Think about it.
Losers (probably not politically correct but I’ll stick with the terminology) always look for someone to blame when they lose. They blame their coach, parents and the referee. They might even extend the abuse to the pitch or the weather and look out if you happen to be a teammate.
Winners on the other hand play with their sleeves rolled up and play above their problems.
Soccer is not something that gets served to us, good or bad. It’s how we deal with the issues and problems that arise from the game that separates the good, bad and the ugly.
If I asked you what the most important area or space is on a soccer field what would you answer?
Without a shadow of a doubt it’s the six inches between your ears. Six inches might be a little conservative for those that have a big head like me. In most cases, winning or losing is determined by the players who can remain focused.
Great players never let their opponent disgruntle them or put them off their game. Great players aren’t intimidated by the 1000’s of opposing fans thirsting for their blood. Great players are mentally tough and mentally conditioned to remain focused against all odds and flying bottles.
It’s very easy to lash out when the ball refuses to listen to you. It’s even easier to lose your cool when you can’t shake off those pesky opponents that seem to introduce you to their studs every second of the game.
When the pressures on both physically and mentally it’s very easy to get frustrated and dwell on your mistakes. The level of frustrations seems to follow a linear pattern that produces more mistakes. How many times have you seen a frustrated player get dispossessed only to lash out with a savage, late tackle from behind? After the initial outrage and the dreaded yellow card they never can remember how they got an early shower. Something nasty about their ancestors or their mother usually does the trick.
If your opponent gets inside your head, who wins?
Once you’re boiling with a rush of blood to the head, tackles, mistakes, fouls, referee decisions resemble World War 1 and 2. Once this happens, you’re history. Enjoy the early shower.
But always play fair.
We can’t always control the hooligans, supporters, zombie like parents and your opponents, but we can control ourselves and what circulates in that space between our ears. Remember, Champions are made, never born. Ability can get you to the top but it takes character and mental toughness to stay there.
Easier said than done. Fatigue and frustrations makes cowards of us all. To lose to your opponent because you ran out of gas is unforgiveable. To lose to your opponent because he made reference to your mother or ancestors is criminal.
Great players criticize themselves, not their teammates, coaches, opponents or the referee. Think about that next time you’re scrubbing your back while your team plays out the rest of the game with 10 men. Emphasis on the word “men”, not little boy who lost his cool.
“May the winds of destiny blow you to the stars.”