One of the most repeated phrases you will hear coaches say on the sideline or during practice is decision-making. On the field, players are taught to think one step ahead, and world class players often already know what to do with the ball, long before they received it. It´s all about quick decisions, and yet, major decisions in life, what college to choose, switching to a different club, attending certain tryouts, tend to be put off for a long time, sometimes with the result of no change at all.
Decision-making skills for players off the field are just as important as they are on the field. It starts with the most basic things: “What do you want to eat for dinner?” – “I don’t know.” Successful people often are the ones that can decide rather quickly. Not always the right one, but they also learn to deal with the consequences. That could mean you realize halfway through your chicken salad that you rather ate pasta at this moment. Sometimes you need to start small and work your way up to the bigger decisions.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
It´s usually the decisions that make you feel most uncomfortable thinking about, that allow the most growth in a player´s personality on and off the field. Change is never easy, and it takes a lot of guts to leave your well-known territory and start all over again. Unknown teammates, new coaches, new playing philosophy, all factors that can seem scary for a young player and parents alike. But it is important to remember: everything you or your player did in the past, brought you where you are right now, but it might not get you where you want to be in the future.
During tryout season, you see it every time, parents bringing their kids to a better club after several years of debating, and the skill level is often not the deciding factor, but building up courage to make the next step. Sometimes, the best years for a player´s development are wasted because of that. The beauty about young players and sport is that just by being a soccer players. They automatically have a major passion in common with their potential teammates!
Successful people have followed on rule-of-thumb for centuries to make big, important decisions: the “72hour rule”. It basically says that anything you want to change, you need to start within 72 hours. Want to play for a better club? Set up a tryout within 72 hours. Want to become a better soccer player? Start with extra training within 72 hours. Want to participate in international training? Sign up within 72 hours. After the 72 hours, or 3 days, your chances to change something are being reduced drastically. For many of these, it is not important to find the perfect solution right away. Maybe after the tryout, your player realizes that this is not the right choice, or the workout program to lose weight is not right. But it is important to start, or otherwise it will always stay a resolution. Better to start imperfectly than to procrastinate perfectly.