my soccer team’s trophy

Dear Mean Green Machine Team:

This is the day of our last game of the Fall 2015 season, which is kind of OK because it has been very cold this weekend, but sad because of how you have gelled as a team. You’ve all improved your skills and speed while becoming a better teammate and I’m proud of you for that. It would be fun to keep playing and see how many more wins we could rack up.

The one thing I want to revisit besides the reason we do neck exercises in warm-up
–to strengthen our necks and reduce concussion risk– is the best way to increase our scores per shots on goal. It was our #1 goal especially after losing one of our tallest teammates after a spectacular exhibition game (a game I count as a win).

How to do this boils down to: Where do you look?

You glimpse at the goalie, then look away from the goalie but inside the goal.

Why? When you look at the goalie, you kick it to the goalie. When you look away from the goalie but into the goal, you lower the level of interference thereby increasing your shot-in-goal likelihood. (Corners can be particularly effective but only so long as you’re not looking at the goalpost but deep in the goal.)

I had opportunity to follow this advice in my own way this week, while walking the Nature Path at Lake View Cemetery. There’s one part of the path that’s got little trees poking up randomly at 6” height. My first time through the hike, I looked at every single one of them and nearly fell flat on my face more than once.

The second time, I willed myself NOT to look at the stumps, instead training my eyes on the open path through the obstacles.

No problem. Sooo much easier, & thereby faster.

It occurs to me that “look at the goal, not the goalie” is a good mantra not only for soccer but for life and its curveballs. You don’t need to bend it like Beckham if you kick the ball where the goalie can’t reach. Moreover, you increase your success percentage by focusing on the clear path, rather than the stumps that mar your way.

You have been a joy to coach and your parents are awesome. I know this because they and you gave me so much across-the-board support as your coach of our team. Many, many thanks and best wishes for a positive future.

Sincerely yours,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *