The Emotional Toll and Development

This week began like most weeks during season, game on Monday and training during the remainder of the week. I had a prior player contact me and ask if we could talk, which is not unusual since I try to stay current with how former players are doing in their respective team settings and I have chances to speak to them from time to time. So, we set aside a time when we both could talk and she let me know how much she hates the sport (that she really excels in) and she is thinking about quitting. I hear this from time to time and for the most part, it comes from players that have moved on to new interest or pursuits.

As our conversation progressed, the picture that was emerging was one of time management and balance in her life. The player has had some unique life situations over the past year that have kept her away from the game she used to love so much. In our talk, I discovered that because of her time away from soccer, she was doing 2 a days on her own plus her team sessions AND doing some strength training concurrent to her skills training. I asked her when she spent time with her family, boyfriend, friends or did her studies and she basically said that they would all have to wait, she HAD to get back in-game form.

Over the course of the next 2 1/2 hours, we spoke about how balance is so important in our lives, how soccer, family, work and down time are just a part of the recipe we call life. She was able to make some connections between feeling “behind” and the exclusion of the rest of her life. I challenged her to define her “hatred” of the game and write it down and even went so far as to suggest that maybe it was not the game she hated but how she approached it with an “all or nothing” mentality. Was it possible that she was not making time for the rest of her emotional committment, i.e. fun, family and foundation (school) and the loss of these things lead to her feelings. I could tell she was thinking about the ground we covered during our talk as we parted and was happy to get a call from her later, letting me know she was having fun, that she was looking forward to the next game and to say thanks.

Demands on our time as adults is constant but let’s not forget that for our children, those demands seem to be just as immediate and all important. Trying to figure out what they want to do in life, their latest love interest, the social scene, it all adds up to huge emotional investments and we need to help them sort it out at times. Someone sent me one of those inspirational sayings the other day that I felt was very timely in its message; it says:

Student: “Master, I am feeling discouraged in my endeavors, what should I do?”

Master: ” Go encourage others”

Here’s to hoping I can encourage someone this week!

till I see you on the pitch


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