1. Do you believe you are getting better at soccer?
Every player has millions of ideas and emotions running through his or her head. Some of those ideas are helpful because they help you fulfill your potential, and some hinder development because they’re not based on being objective. This is difficult for players because no one wants to feel inadequate in their ability. Players want to believe they don’t have flaws and will plan others before taking responsibility for their actions. This is a conundrum that all players see, no matter the level. The trick is to avoid this conundrum. Do truly get closer to the player you want to be, you have to be brave and be honest with yourself. Continuing down the path of lies and excuses will make you regret all the time you’ve wasted, and trust me when I say I have felt this before. Making excuses and bothers for my failures made me feel good about myself. The reality is it hinders growth because you will get caught in a loop of the same behaviors. And because you’re in this loop, you won't get out of it because you like how it makes you feel. It’s easier to blame the team for not defending well, than for you to take responsibility on your mark getting pass you. Starting today you need to critically reflect and ask yourself if you’re getting better. And remember, whether the answer is yes or no, that’s ok, it’s what you do with the information going forward which is most important.
2. What makes you believe you’re getting better at soccer or worse?
If you do feel that you’re getting better or worse, what is your metric? Because it isn’t good to not be able to identify things you’re doing well and things you could improve on. This is critical in your development and everything you say you want to accomplish not just in soccer, but in life. Some ways in which I gauged if I was getting better was to create a journal specifically for soccer. And in my journal, I would write about practice and the games. I would ask myself was I completing a high percentage of passes? Did I make good contact on the ball when I shot the ball? Did the player I was playing against getting by me? Did I have control of the ball? Did I tackle well? Did I get involved in the attack? Was my crossing good on the day? And over time I would see trends in my game. This isn’t a science, but it helped me pay attention more to my game, which allowed me to adjust accordingly. You have to know where you stand and make efforts to trend in an upward direction. There are going to be setbacks, but you can’t allow setbacks to define you. You know if you’re giving it your all and if you’re playing to your potential. It is up to you to decide what it is you’re going to do!
3. How do you critique yourself as a player?
I spoke on this in tip 2 in that I had a journal to help me along in the process. It allowed me to visually see what I was doing over the course a season which is helpful. Now remember, in order to do a journal or do critique yourself, Are you have to be on board with telling the truth. If you don’t tell the truth this isn’t going to work for you and your development will suffer.
4. What plans do you have in place when you have a setback (action)?
Alright, so my first point was for y'all to ask yourself a tough question, and to be honest with that answer. I also mentioned how the answer to the question isn’t as important as what you do with the information going forward. I say this because after we either see success or failure, we usually do 1 of two things. If it is something we wanted to hear, we get complacent and plateau subconsciously. If it is something we didn’t want to hear, we usually get sad, or mad and we feel sorry for ourselves and never climb out of the hole. As I said, the answer doesn’t matter in these scenarios, all that matters is you deciding to take action
4. Are you willing to put in countless hours on and off the field, with the understanding that it might not work out?
This might be a tough pill to swallow when you heard me say this, but this is the truth for so many out there. It doesn’t have to be your truth, but it is something that players need to hear. Others will lie and sell you a dream. Here at Perfect Soccer, we will not do that. We are here, to be honest, and give our truth through our experiences in youth, college, and pro soccer. You’ve probably heard this before, enjoy the journey, Or it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey. It is true. Players get so caught up on being a pro, getting the assist, getting the goal, or getting the shutout. Whatever your soccer destination was, it’s not possible without the journey. The goal could never be scored if you didn't put in the reps. The assist isn't possible if you didn’t stay after practice day in and day out to cross balls.
The flip side of this applies to. There is a chance you practice shooting day in and day out, and you can’t seem to find the goal. You practice day in and day out your service, but you can’t seem to get an assist. This stuff happens. Does that make you a failure? No? All that means is you didn’t achieve that goal. A lesson to be learned, a moment of growth will happen, and you'll find yourself able to embrace the setbacks and to go even harder the next time.