The Soccer/Life Connection
It’s easy to get caught up in soccer victories and losses, making the team (or not), college recruiting, and other parts of the game that players, coaches, and their families are consumed with. But have you pondered the bigger picture of how soccer affects your life and the lives of your players? With everything you can achieve in the game, it’s also worthwhile to consider the fantastic “life lessons” it offers.
Techne Founder Yael Averbuch West recently spoke with famous University of North Carolina (UNC) women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance on the Vision of a Champion podcast about this. The audio episode’s topic is “Enriching Your Life Through Soccer,” taken from chapter four of Coach Dorrance’s bestselling book The Vision of a Champion, which he co-authored with Yael’s mother, Gloria Averbuch.
The UNC programme is well-known for its winning record and domination in the soccer world, making Coach Dorrance’s emphasis on character development intriguing. During her 4 years as a UNC player, Averbuch West learned a lot about soccer but even more about life.
Learning About Life via Playing Games
Soccer has an impact on people’s lives. Although the soccer/life connection may appear incidental, it is an integral component of everything that players and their families go through. Consider pre-and post-game chats with players from coaches, team captains, or parents. Consider the seemingly innocuous instances of players being commended for grit, growing in confidence, assisting a teammate, or fulfilling the universal ritual of shaking opponents’ hands after a game. These acts are based on subjects and notions that help develop life skills and build personal character.
“The thing I love about the challenges that these students experience when they jump in with us at the University of North Carolina is that at the end of their four years, we know exactly everything about them,” Coach Dorrance says of how he connects soccer to character development for his players. Because our game is a contact sport, there is a danger of bodily harm, injury, disappointment, and defeat. We see the other things regularly are grit, perseverance, and a dedication to being the greatest.”
Players’ Life Lessons
The game’s challenges encourage players to develop universal virtues such as commitment, discipline, focus, hard effort, and overcoming adversity. Players are achieving more than just how to play a game, these life lessons occur both on and off the field, and they are ideals that go beyond the sport and help athletes succeed in life.
Learning these qualities, like learning the game itself, can be difficult. Soccer is a sport where you compete against yourself and an opponent. Players are frequently challenged to be competitive both within themselves, wanting to improve, and competing for playing time with teammates. Coach Dorrance concludes that the competitive instinct helps players prepare for the game and helps them in life “to stand up to the chaos of the universe,” as he highlights the value of cultivating the competitive skill.
The Techne app’s primary components are anchored in UNC women’s soccer’s Competitive Cauldron and Yael Averbuch West’s UNC experience: the Techne Leaderboards, tracking time, self-competition, and competition with others. Those characteristics are valuable and enjoyable. Many of the thousands of Techne users around the world have expressed how inspiring this is and how much they like the competitive nature of the Leaderboards and the app.
Coach Dorrance’s email to soccer legend and UNC player Mia Hamm exemplifies the Techne principle of “owning your growth.” He noticed her training alone one day from a distance. “The vision of a champion is for someone who is bent down, bathed in sweat, at the point of fatigue while no one else is seeing,” he writes in his note to her. “What you do on your own is the margin of victory and the important character piece,” he says in the podcast.
Parents and Coaches of Soccer Players
Gloria Averbuch, Yael’s mother and co-author of Coach Dorrance’s book, also joined the podcast. She was asked how parents might serve as role models to supplement the game’s life lessons. “As a parent, you may teach by example. All of the ideals and prerequisites for success at UNC are therefore universal. They’re all about discipline, commitment, attention, hard effort, and overcoming adversity. Whatever you’re doing in your life, whether it’s your profession, vocation, pastime, or making a meal, it all serves to teach your children.”
Coaches, whose devotion and attitudes are visible to their players, are in the same boat. Both parents and coaches emphasise the same personal character traits highlighted in the game: commitment, determination, tenacity, and the capacity to face obstacles and overcome adversity in their children. In everything they do and say, parents and coaches serve as role models for their children.
In practically every area of sports, particularly soccer, life values are prevalent. They demonstrate that, while a player’s cleats may be retired at some point, the importance—and joy!—learned via the game will never be forgotten. Those ideals are instilled in us for the rest of our lives.