What I learned from my soccer coach

I started playing team soccer when I was 6. I was dreaming of becoming the next Pele or Guenther Netzer. We met twice a week for 2 hour practice sessions. The first hour consisted of running. And I mean running. Interval training: 1 lap fast, 2 laps faster, 1 lap super fast. And repeat. The next 45 minutes consisted of drills: 100 headers, 100 passing plays, etc.

The only fun  happened in the last 15 minutes: We played soccer. (I could write essays about the difference between Brazilian and German soccer – the way practices are handled is just one reason why Brazilian soccer is so beautiful).

Ultimately, we won matches against teams that were stronger, faster and more experienced. Heck, we even won the German championship at one point. We won most of our matches in the last 10 minutes, in the moments when your feet feel like lead, your lungs are filled with pain and you long for a shower and a good sandwich. These last 10 minutes were our prime time. That’s when we excelled.

Just like Tom Peters describes his gardening experience, all of us had these crossroad moments. When you work late on a presentation, ready to close shop, trying to calm down the nagging feeling that this is not the best you could have done. When you daydream about a couch, a beer and a mind-numbing reality show while working away. When good enough is not an option. When good enough feels like a complete failure.

These moments are the ones that determine who you are. Who your company is. What your brand is standing for. Recalls, product flaws, marketing flops don’t happen in a vacuum. They happen in these moments. Are you ready to fight through them?

Thank you to Kontraband for the image.

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2 responses to “What I learned from my soccer coach

  1. Interestingly, I had a similar experience in the US while I did track and field. I was a hurdler, and our coach made us practice our hurdle form (an extremely important part of the race – when falling could mean a broken arm or leg) only at the end of practice.

    The reason: Practice form when you’re tired, because that’s when you’ll need it most in a race. It’s easy to jump a hurdle perfectly when you’re just starting the race, but you also have to do that last hurdle (which seems 2 meters tall by the time you run 400m) perfectly. That’s the part that’s important to practice.

    I’ve never forgotten that lesson!

  2. Pingback: One giant says goodbye «

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