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My team had a game recently and, because of my injury, I was sitting on the bench with our coach and other team-mates.  When you remove yourself from the game, you take on a different perspective and, therefore, see the game differently.  Your experience of the game is entirely different.  The very first thing I realized is  just how many bad decisions my team-mates were making.  It’s not to say there weren’t good decision, and many of them, but the bad decisions really stuck out.

When you’re on the bench, it’s very easy to voice your opinion and be critical.  As the old saying goes, it’s a lot easier said than done.  However, the problem was that most of the guys were making fundamental mistakes.  I’m of the mindset that you don’t need to be critical of everything that goes wrong, but there comes a point in time when you – whether a team-mate, captain or coach – have to lay down the law and voice your discontent.

Some of the players on the bench began voicing their displeasure with the teams critical comments being thrown around.  In most cases, it was because their friend was being criticized on the field.  You know what I say?  Get over it.  If you want to play at a competitive level, you have to approach the game as a business.  If you’re the president of a company and someone is not doing what they’re supposed to be doing in order for the entire business to run effectively, you tell them what they’re doing wrong.  If they continue to do it wrong, you fire them.  If this approach does not appeal to you, there are leagues all over the world that are created for fun and leisure.  It’s not to suggest soccer shouldn’t be fun at a competitive level, but the circumstances are much different.

The same way people learn differently (some visually, some practically, and so on), they also communicate differently.  I understand that being critical isn’t necessarily the best way to get your point across, but since when have we become cream-puffs?  The moment you tell someone on the field they’re doing something wrong, they begin to hang their head or feel deflated.  Come on, grow up.  I don’t mean this in a negative way, I sincerely feel that people approach the situation with the wrong mindset.  You’re not the centre of the universe; the game isn’t about you…it’s about the team.  If you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re not benefiting the team.  If you’re not benefiting the team, someone has to let you know – I don’t care what language or what tone is being used.

Don’t take it personally.  No one is attacking you because they don’t like you or because you’re a bad person; they are telling you to be better.  Again, sorry to inform you, but it’s about the game, it’s not about you.

Next time a coach or fellow team-mate is voicing displeasure, take the time to understand why.  If you feel that they’re wrong, explain why.  With that said, pick your moments.  Don’t lose your cool in the middle of a game in the middle oft he field.

Finally, keeping in mind your team is being run like a business, understand that what the coach and captain say usually goes.  You don’t always have to agree with the decisions, but you must respect them.  If you don’t like the business you’re working for, leave.




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