Happy New Year. I’ve had a bit of a blogging holiday as I have been too busy doing rather than writing about it. It’s time to get back on the horse in 2019 and see where we get to in terms of all things associated with kids football development.
Over the last 3 months, I have continued to read many books. Many very good and some average however the one which stood out by a country mile was ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ by David Goggins. I have followed David on Youtube for many months so was delighted to read his book (Audiobook is the best version as there are so many added extras). For anyone who hasn’t heard of him then a quick David Goggins wiki will do it better justice than me. A consistent message is that the only person we are competing against is oneself. As a coach and a player, how can a I produce a better version of myself?
I’ll start with my players first. A great bunch of lads with varying ability across all players. My ambition has always been to make each player better than when I first met them and see incremental improvement over time. As a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds there are many outside influences which means you don’t see the same person week to week. My challenge is to understand them better to try and help them develop. Goggins mentions how people fail to put themself in a position to succeed. Too many are afraid unless they are 100% guaranteed of success so will never even try. Failing is too much to handle for them so they do not even leave the start line. This demonstrates a poor mindset and I recognise this in some players. We need to get across that failure is acceptable as it hardens us for the next challenge ahead. I can see this in a few and I need to work to help them overcome this.
A Goggins classic is ‘Taking Souls’ My blog isn’t long enough to go into this in depth but it is quite literally breaking your opponent down to “snatch his soul” It’s starts with identifying your own insecurities (we all have them) but then using them against your direct opponent. Imagine I have a midfield player who thinks he is too slow or can’t head the ball etc. Will he go into the game confident he can overcome his opponent? Of course not, his mindset is not right. Turn it round to ” I just need to be ahead of him when the race for the ball starts” or “I just need to get to the ball first to head it ahead of him” Different mindset! I am always talking about winning 1v1’s and if everyone is just 1% better than their opposite number then they have won the battle and taken their soul!! We need to get players to believe in themselves and understand the first battle is winning your own mind as you are playing against yourself.
Your mind is lazy and always wants to take the easy path. I know this from experience and constantly battle that voice in my head that says it’s too cold, wet or there is a great programme on Netflix to watch rather than going for that run. Well I have ran for 6 days in a row now and going out after I finish this blog! We need to build the good habits and fight ‘our mind’ We need to take back control from it and start to programme it for the good stuff. I need to ask my players what I can do to help them do this. A % improvement every week (it only needs to be 1% to get cumulative effect (see blog 1% Rule). Remember, the only person we are playing against is ourselves. Michael Beale ( a coach I have admired for years) also talks about this in his own blog post ‘Through the Ages‘ where he talks about You v Yourself. This constant battle to improve yourself whether that is technique, socially or psychologically then we need to build the muscle.
In Me V Me, I couldn’t care how others are doing. There will always be someone who has more money, status, better job, car etc etc so why do this? It’s how you shape up against yourself that counts. As a coach and person, I am now taking score on how I am doing. External things like the match result matter little. Can I help each player be the best version of himself? A big task with 21 players!
I am willing to put myself up to be shot down and see what I can become as a coach. I have realised that I will never reach the promised land as there is no finish line and now I know there never will be!!
I will keep you up to date on progress and what is working and what is not.
Now, where’s my running shoes!!