Getting Players and Parents to “Buy In”
Optimal Individual and Team Meaning
You can have the best developmental philosophy in the world but if your children don’t buy in you’re wasting much of your time. To get your child to commit, what you ask them to do must be creative and meaningful from two paradoxical viewpoints; a) individual and b) team.
The percentage of developmental focus on the individual or team has to be carefully balanced at all stages of life. To prepare your child for the most meaningful team interaction the initial focus must be completely individual. As your child gradually embraces and masters creative uniqueness and essential individual life skills, the emphasis gradually changes to team empathy and leadership.
It is impossible to explore individual and team creativity without examining the issue of meaning. The majority of people want their life to have meaning, and to make a difference. If over a career one spends 100,000 hours at work it makes sense to want to “make a difference”.
“An easy medicine for self-esteem: Become a part of something important. Identify with important causes or jobs. Take them into the self thereby enlarging the self and making it important, this is a way of overcoming actual human shortcomings e.g. IQ, talent, abilities etc.”
When we look at the core of meaningful participation your child must first experience measurable individual and personal growth. This type of growth relies on the process of moving beyond current ability to build new skill. Courage is essential to this process. True courage is a commitment to what needs to be done to learn new things, irrespective of the cost or risk to previous knowledge. Deciding to have meaningful participation in all areas of our lives tests our courage because we often have to reject the past to welcome the present; or abandon the familiar for the new.
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force on Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
George Bernard Shaw from Man and Superman, Epistle Dedicatory
“True courage is never a calculation of risk – it is a commitment to what needs to be done irrespective of the cost of risk. Deciding to have meaningful participation in life will eventually test our courage. A famous bullfighter was once asked to define courage. He said, to step into a ring when you are not afraid is nothing. To not step into a ring when you are afraid is also nothing. To step into the ring when you are afraid, now that is something.”
Stephen Joyce from Teaching an Anthill to Fetch
Often the most fear is associated with doing the right thing and tests our dedication to the most meaningful path.
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce
Creativity is the other main component of meaning. It is vitally important to children. Creativity improves your child’s self-esteem, motivation and achievement. If you encourage your child to think and act creatively and independently, your child will try new things. He/she will be more willing to open up to new ideas and work with others to explore novelty. Creativity motivates children to do extra work at home. For example, creative soccer players conquer new moves and build elite skills inside and outside of team practices and games. As a result, your child’s pace of learning, growth and self-esteem will increase. As you encourage creativity your child will become more talented and confident. Confident children welcome new challenges. They develop good instincts and unique abilities. Confidence fosters a positive attitude toward problem solving. This allows your child to enjoy more of life’s experiences. To optimize their potential children need meaningful learning environments and philosophies. They need to feel that they make a difference. When your child knows he/she makes a real contribution in important ways it will nurture and stimulate his/her creativity. If you involve your child in creative activities you bestow a gift that money can’t buy. Better still, if these activities combine creativity and fun with manageable challenge and stress, (as in Legends soccer), you will nurture self-esteem and creativity, while also cementing the foundation of a strong character.
The creator of the Stanford Business School course on creativity, Michael Pay, shares three theories about creativity with his students:
“Creativity “is essential for health, happiness and success in all areas of life, including business. Creativity is within everyone. Although it is in everyone it is covered over by the voice of judgment.”
Individual creativity is important. Just as one cannot build a resilient team out of non-resilient individuals, one cannot make a creative team out of non-creative individuals. By more fully expressing their adaptability and flexibility, two of the most important aspects of creativity, team members are able to operate more creatively together.
Unfortunately, “creativity killers” are commonplace in sports, schools and homes. Avoid environments and people who micromanage and control your child. Control freaks will teach your child that originality is a mistake, that exploration a waste of time. Mentors like this hover and order children around. This causes your child to hide or suppress creativity and risk taking. Also steer away from adults who focus on the win, (outcome), versus moments of deep focus, (process). Another to avoid is the “my way or the highway” guy. Anyone that allows only rigid pre-defined actions limits your child’s curiosity and creative passion. Lastly, get away from the person who pressures your child to do things that are way above their current level of ability. Unrealistic expectations can instill negative feelings for the subject or activity.
What you should first do is pick a mentor who strengthens your child’s creative and courageous habits. Pick a person who relaxes the controls; when allowed creative license children embrace spontaneity, generate self-confidence and build the will to experiment. These are essential to the creative spirit. Second, choose a mentor that shows appreciation for your child's efforts. Third, find one that allows your child to accomplish tasks without help, one that encourages new, innovative, and original perspectives. Pick a teacher who provides a creative aura. For example, pick a soccer coach that encourages your child to pretend to be one of his/her superstar heroes. Your child should have fun emulating great players. Find an environment that promotes maximum creative performance; one that encourages creative problem solving in a variety of ways. Find a teacher who encourages children to embrace alternatives, experiment and constantly re-assess and adapt based on each new experience.
“Flexibility and adaptability do not happen just by reacting fast to new information. They arise from mental and emotional balance, the lack of attachment to specific outcomes, and putting care for self and others as a prime operating principle. Flexible attitudes build flexible physiology. Flexible physiology means more resilience in times of challenge or strain. Staying open – emotionally insures internal flexibility.”
Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer, from Chaos to Coherence
The “Legends for Life” program has a proven track record of developing phenomenal courage. To do so we emphasize and teach elite individual deceptive dribbling and goal scoring skills. In doing so it will challenge your child to combine courage and creativity in ways that can’t happen when the focus is on team interaction and winning. As your child learns to perform the most difficult and creative soccer skills under pressure, he/she becomes capable of team interaction and leadership on a completely different level compared to players without the individual brilliance, self-concept and problem solving ability of a Legends trained player. While players from traditional programs, with limited skills and confidence, struggle to step up to the next level, the Legends trained player welcomes the challenge with total belief that it can be beaten.
More importantly, this great strength of character and self-concept carries over into life where Legends trained players are better prepared to embrace new situations, tests and changes that determine life long fulfillment.
“To an ordinary man everything is either a curse or a blessing, but to a Man of Knowledge everything is a challenge and an opportunity.”
Teachings of Don Juan