The danger of being a passive soccer player

by Ivan Bobanovic | Last updated

In all my years as a soccer player, I have come across every type of player: skilled players; weak players; hard-working players; angry players; and the list goes on.  I respect every style of play I come into contact with, except one: passive players.  The reason I respect everyone’s style of play – even though I might not agree with it – is because not one of us is the same.  We all have different builds, different skills and different beliefs in life.   Passive players, however, do not deserve respect because they discredit themselves and the game.

Players that are passive drive me bonkers, and players that are skilled but passive are just a shame.

What do I mean by passive players.  I mean the type that don’t make an effort because they’re too cool or too good. I mean the type that don’t care because they are not interested.  I mean the type that don’t make an honest effort even though they might not be as good as everyone.

As a young teenager (12-13 years old), I was a passive person and a passive soccer player.  My passivity took on a different light, though.  My passivity was in the form of no real purpose both in life and soccer.

In life, I often avoided conflict and welcomed lukewarm conversations that wouldn’t require that I form a potentially controversial opinion — even though I believed in it.  In soccer, although I was actually very good and I truly loved the game, I was afraid to challenge myself.  I couldn’t wait to just practice and have fun, but cringed at the idea of having to play in a big game with meaningful results.  What if I screw up?  What if we lose because of me?  What if I fail?

This is passivity.  This was someone who was afraid to change and become better.  Now this can be viewed as a failure, but the reason it isn’t is because I forced myself to break through this mold.  As I grew older and began to read a lot more and educate myself, I learned that this had to change.

This is how I did it, and this is how I propose all players who are passive – for whatever reason – change.

Ask yourself why.  Why do you play soccer?  What is the reason you play?  This doesn’t have to be a reason that would motivate an entire nation to change, this has to be a reason that will motivate you to change.  Once you identify your purpose, everything else becomes a lot easier.

In an effort to help you identify this purpose, consider this wonderful spectrum created by Amber Rae, a blogger who I often read, a creative catalyst and starter of meaningful things:


Soccer players who are stuck and unhappy can also be classified as passive.  They haven’t challenged themselves to actualize their passion and be alive because they haven’t identified a reason to do so. 

Maybe your ultimate goal is to sincerely enjoy the game and just play it for fun…then do so!  Maybe you really wish you were better so you could play on a competitive team…then do so!  Allow whatever it is that resides at the core of your belief system to drive you and motivate you.  Only then will you overcome the abyss that is passivity.

As Amber outlines, in order to overcome passivity you have to create a foundation.  That foundation consists of 5 pillars: (1) belief in yourself, (2) trust in instinct, (3) courage to experiment, (4) awareness to identify/analyze and (5) strength to overcome.

This not only improves you as a person, but it inevitably improves you as a soccer player.  If you can identify why you play, you move up the spectrum from being dead/passive to alive and motivated to play.

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