Don't ever tell me I'm not competitive.
For a change of pace, and to support my kids, I volunteer in the local community to coach soccer every fall. This has been a mostly positive experience, with youngsters whose chief motive is having fun, and most of the coaches and parents being supportive of that venture.
However, this season, an opposing coach decided to ruin it for everyone by bending the rules (to the point of breaking), then bragging about his team being “undefeated" after he cheated for most of the season.
Following a prior 3-3 tie game, his team 'borrowed' some players (while sitting his own rostered players on the bench), and promptly beat us 5-0. A thorough humiliation.
When I questioned his tactics to the league office, their response is “Well he's very competitive.
Wrong thing said to wrong coach.
I'm as competitive as anyone – but I believe in competing fairly and honestly.
After this particular defeat, I stepped up my game.
I stayed up until around 5 am the night after the game…studying formations, downloading e-books and guides, and watching instructional videos.
Then I scheduled an extra practice a week – voluntary of course – for my team. Brought them out here to the Home Attack Field, just to get in some extra practice.
Practices had a different tone to them…more structured workouts…and a training system similar to what my wrestlers get every week and have gotten here for decades.
I know – its only rec league – but we lost and I hate losing.
The system I installed could be defined as such:
1. study the key skills
2. teach the key skills
3. train athletes to develop these key skills
4. use skills in live practice situations
5. use them in live game situations.
If anyone recognized this pattern, it closely mirrors Phase Five that we've been talking about for a while now.
So the last game of the season arrives and we're playing the same team again. They hype the game to their team as a “championship game" even though the league never called it that. They're bragging about being undefeated, even though they 'borrowed" (aka cheated by snagging) other players not on their roster in order to secure wins.
We were given the option of not playing this team, due to their cheating ways.
Well you already know the answer to that.
Of course we played them.
And we beat them.
The skills we worked on for weeks paid off in a big way as we shut them down for most of the game.
Yes, I know it was only a recreational league game, but ultimately, that doesn't matter.
My team learned valuable lessons about perseverance, hard work, learning a system and implementing it.
I couldn't be prouder of them, but I especially have a message for anyone who makes the mistake of mislabeling me…