One of my worst moments as a coach was when I was relatively new. We’d been working on breaking the offside trap with a through ball consistently in one game, and even with my own player starting in our end of the field we kept getting called offside. Yes, it happens. I asked the ref why we were being called for offside and the response was “He received the ball in an offside position.”
Nope, not a weird rule that is played in US Youth Soccer, this is a gap in the ref’s understanding of what the rules are, and what the rules actually are. I told the ref that I felt they could maybe use a little more study and their lack of understanding the game was a little short of what I would like to see in a match official.
I will stress, there was no profanity. There was a lot of disrespect, frustration, anger, and very, very poor role modeling. I had a choice, dig into my list of excuses why it was acceptable to behave like that, or apologize immediately. I apologized to the players, explaining that my behaviour was unacceptable and not something I should have done. I make no excuses for it, and never have. The reality is that I had choices. I could have been calm, kept my players calm, accepted that certain situations were out of my control, and adapted. Instead, I was frustrated that the plans we had created, and the perfect execution of the plan from a bunch of kids who were performing out of their skin was being undone by someone in a role they were unprepared for. My reaction showed that I was also unprepared for the role I was in.
I had choices. We all have choices. Sometimes we make good decisions, and sometimes we make bad ones. The key to success is to making more good ones than bad ones, and the answer to this is much simpler than the doing of it – Consider the outcome. Will decisions in anger results in good outcomes? Does a rash decision generally lead to positive result? What do you want your outcome to be?
This week we will be inspired by the quotes of Frankl, who to be honest, had more to be bitter about than the majority of us.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – We all make mistakes, and sometimes there are ongoing consequences for those mistakes. Sometimes the mud sticks, no matter how much you try to wash it off.
2 – We all make mistakes, and sometimes there are ongoing consequences for those mistakes. If someone behaves badly against you, the chances are that the only person harmed by ongoing bitterness is you.
3 – You have decisions to make. No matter what you are experiencing, there is always more than one choice. What do you want the outcome to look like?
Towards the end of my coaching career I was more likely to be sitting on the grass, observing, and making mental notes to talk to players than giving instruction or engaging the ref. I have learned that being a youth soccer coach is much, much more than coaching soccer. Life is a series of moments and decisions, make them count, make the next moment better than this one.