A Football Parable


This is the story of an old coach who had been with the same club for a very long time.

One day his best player left the team to join a so called ‘elite’ team. Many parents consoled the coach saying that was such bad luck.

The coach responded ” Maybe”

The following month the player returned as he was unable to settle in his new team. Not only did he return but he brought with him another three very strong players which would make the team much better and would now be a certainty for winning the league. The majority of parents were delighted and said to the coach ‘We’ll win every game with these new players’

The coach responded “Maybe”

The following month all four players were signed by professional clubs leaving a depleted and weakened squad. Again the parents lamented at this unfortunate turn.

The coach responded “Maybe”

Losing all four players meant that some fringe players had to take a leading role and develop quickly as games were coming thick and fast. With so much more game time one of them developed so quickly that he was called up to the national squad. A great achievement for a small club like ours said one of the parents.

The coach responded “Maybe”

The following month after being ‘capped’ by his country, it was clear that the fame had got to this player as he treated his existing team-mates with contempt. The parents raised this with the coach, saying how it was having a poor effect on team morale and the team performances.

The coach, in his usual manner, responded “Maybe”

As team spirit deteriorated and the team slipped down the league, the parents were in uproar and attempted to blame the coach for their current position.

The coach looked at them hard and said “Maybe”

Following weeks of turmoil and in-fighting the coach decided that it was time for him to leave. Consequently the team folded.

When the coach was asked if he could have done anything to stop this happening then I am sure, by now, you know what his response was!!

This story was based on an old Taoist parable involving a farmer and shows us how to look at events without judging or interpreting them. We never know how events will unravel when they are occuring. We don’t know what is good or bad in the moment.

As a coach, we are never fully in control. We may influence but cannot control. An event is never ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it just ‘is’

It is our own thinking that it gives it meaning.  To finish on Shakespeare “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”


A Football Parable

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