So How Bad do you want it? This post is a reality check, so let’s dive right in! There are millions of kids out there that have the same dreams and aspirations as you. Making their academy or high school team, playing soccer in college or even becoming a professional soccer player one day. Of those millions, a tiny percentage will make it to the higher levels. I don’t say that to scare you, but to give you perspective. You need to recognize that any goal worth achieving isn’t going to be easy and it is going to push you to grow in ways you might not have thought were possible. You’re going to have to take a hard look in the mirror ask yourself “How bad do I want it?” and HONESTLY answer if you’re willing and committed to doing what is necessary to reach your goals. Here are the three central questions that will help you figure out if you’re on the right path.
1. One, are you willing to sacrifice things that kids your age are doing to achieve your goals?
This is very difficult for kids, and I know this because I once was a kid (to be honest this is something that is difficult for adults as well) and this was a struggle for so many players I played with. Other kids are going to want to stay up all night, play video games, eat junk food, and not do extra training on their own. I’m not saying not to have a social life, and that you can’t enjoy sweets from time to time, but if cutting those things out was necessary to reach the goals you say you have for yourself, are you willing to? These are the types of tough questions you need to be asking yourself and more importantly, be honest with. How committed are you? Do you think, or do you know? And are you willing to figure it out?
2. Are you ready to put in countless hours of unacknowledged work?
When I was 11 years old, I was playing six days a week, watching every soccer game I could and ANY free time I had, was spent playing soccer and training on my own. I was OBSESSED with the game. This is the quality many players that make it to the pros would say they had. In many ways, the game must change from being a part of your life to become your life, something you can’t live without. Are you willing to stay after practice even when it’s easier just to go home? Are you ready to do your homework on the car ride to training so you can stay later on the soccer field and practice? Will you give yourself extra homework, by becoming a student of the game? Studying players, tactics, formations, and techniques to improve your game? Will you take what you learn and apply it to the extra work you’re going to do on your own?
This is what it will take, and if you don’t think it will. You’re going to lose to the player who does. Maybe not today, but over an extended enough period the one who adopts this mindset will catch and pass you. The cream rises to the top. Are you going to let the other player pass you?
3. Are you willing to fail consistently, not have anyone believe in you, be rejected continuously, and keep going?
I was cut by my club coach from the regional team, and got, 2’s and 3’s on my player evaluations out of 5. Coaches didn’t believe in me. They said I was too small and didn’t have the skill it took to be a Regional team or National team player. At the time I was 13, and like any 13 years old, that is tough to hear. It stung, and there were times when I felt sorry for myself. I felt defeated and started doubting my ability. But I had to brush these feeling off, take the criticism and double down on my efforts if I wanted my dreams to come true. I had a lot of talks with my mom to figure out what I could do to improve and got refocused. From that point on I blocked out the negativity and criticism and focused on me. Concentrate on what I had to do and what I was committed to doing going forward. I learned that rejection will always be a part of life, so you have to learn from it and be better the next time. Rejection is guaranteed to happen, the earlier you’re ready for it, and have the proper mindset in place to overcome it. It will become fuel to help you move towards your goals, not something that keeps you from them.
I know it was a deep one. So, are you going to become the type of person willing to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve their goals? I hope this inspires you to go for it and pursue a life of no regrets!