How to Be a Smart Soccer Player And Win At Life, Too (Post 38)

I’ve been playing on a pickup soccer league once a week for the past two months. It’s refreshed my foot skills and endurance, which I expected to happen. What I didn’t expect was the free nuggets of wisdom.

Being the only girl in the league, I’m judged for doing really well and for doing really poorly. One of the older men decided to make me his project. When I screw up, he gives me blunt pointers. This might sound obnoxious (sometimes it is), but it has given me a better understand of the game.

You know those times when someone says exactly what you needed to hear? Last week, the advice that man gave me was striking. I knew right away that I needed to hear those words and mull them around for awhile. The advice was meant to help with soccer but rung true to life in general.

Always think two moves ahead. You can’t make a decision about what to do with the ball once it comes to you. Pay attention to what’s going on around you and know your next two moves before the ball is at your feet.

Your problem is that once you have the ball, you’re trying to get it under control and don’t have time to make a decision about what to do next.

Think ahead. Know what to do with an opportunity before it’s right in front of you. That’s deep stuff.

I like to think that I live a strategic life. When my peers were waist-deep in the YOLO culture, I rejected that lifestyle for its glaring stupidity. Before leaving the house, I think through my plans and make sure I have everything (within reason) that I might potentially need before returning home. I always have been, and always will be, a planner.

This is my problem: I’m always thinking way too far ahead of myself. I spend years waiting for that distant opportunity and then lose hope that it will ever happen. When the time comes and the opportunity finally arrives, I’m caught on my heels. I haven’t thought about how to react and it’s too late. I flounder in the eagerly anticipated, yet unexpected moment.

That’s my downfall in soccer too.

I’m the only girl playing and I’m not the best soccer player in the world. The guys don’t pass me the ball super often. That means I wait for the opportunity to do something, but give up on waiting for someone to give me a chance. Then when I do steal the ball or get an opportunity to make a play, I’m not ready for it. I haven’t thought about where to take it or who’s available for a pass.

Simple Breakdown:

  1. Be fully present. Pay attention to what’s going on around you even before you have an opportunity.
  2. Consider how you will use the opportunity when it arises.
  3. Position yourself to be useful and expect to get your chance.
  4. When the ball comes to your feet, be confident in your skills and your plan.
  5. Go for it! If you lose the ball, don’t be defeated. Start thinking ahead and preparing for the next opportunity.


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