Control the control-able's
If you stop and think about the game of soccer, there are numerous things that we can't control and a number of things we can only influence.
Can you always control the quality of the field?
Can you control the weather?
Can you control the referee? Although we sometimes can influence them.
Can you control your teammates?
Can you control your opponents?
Can you control your parents or the fans?
How about you’re your own Coach?
How about if you or a teammate gets injured?
Or how much time is left in the game?
Things we can only influence
You scoring a goal?
You winning a header
I think you get the idea. There are many things about the game you can’t control but the one thing that we can control is ourselves. In controlling ourselves, we can control things like our thoughts, the ball at our foot, our work rate, how high we jump for headers and how hard we going in for 50-50's. I like to simplify it and use “E AR” as a way of remembering what we can control.
We can control “E” for E-ffort. You see effort is a choice. In any given moment you can choose to give maximum personal effort. Consistent effort leads to increased success. Effort breaks down into many areas. How hard to do work in practice, how hard we working for the whole game. It relates to our effort in the classroom. Some us will not be allowed to play soccer if we don't do what's necessary effort wise in the classroom to keep our grades up. Effort is completing the sprints never cutting the corners. It is the decision to work hard in the gym or weight room in the off-season. Effort is a mindset to “never give up” and just keep working, no matter how tough the situation.
We can control “A” for our A-ttitude. Once again, attitude is a choice. There's nothing that will make you more successful in your soccer career or in your life than having a positive attitude. Attitude is all about how we choose to see everything that happens to us. We all have heard that old saying, "The glass is half empty or the glass is half-full” Some people choose to see everything as a glass is half empty or negative. How do we choose to see it?
How do you choose to see when the other team goes up 1-0 early in the game do you tank and get negative or do you raise your level of play and get energized by the challenge? Players with a positive attitude always look for the good in others find the best in every situation. That's a winning attitude.
We can control “R”- for our Response . we control how we choose to R-espond to everything that happens to us out on the field and in our lives. There's a formula E+ R=0
E(the Event) +(plus) R(your Response) =(will equal) O (your Outcome)
In soccer this formula is happening over and over again. Events are constantly happening: there’s a corner kick, there’s an offside call ,there’s a hard challenge a teammate, we just got scored on. All these things are happening in just about every game. How we respond is our choice. That choice ( good or bad wrong or right )creates our outcome.
Let me ask you…
Let’s say an opponent takes the ball off your foot. How do you choose to respond? Do your shoulders drop and you slowly walk back disappointed that you lost the ball, or do respond like Wayne Rooney and chase the player down to the other end line if necessary to win the ball back? How about when the coach gives you feedback about your play? Do respond by resenting being picked on ? Or do you listen and focus in on what you need to correct to get better ?
The “BIG Picture lesson” here is understanding that controlling the controllable isn’t just about the game of soccer. All through your life you’re going to have things happen to you that you have no control over. You must practice recognizing what you can and can’t control and influence.
Remember EAR and it’s your choice about your Effort, your Attitude and how you choose to Respond to everything that happens to you in your life.
The more we practice this the better we become as a person and as a player.
Gary Pritchard, C.M.C.
New York Red Bulls Certified Mental Coach