20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 4 of 4)

I-learned-all-about-life-with-a-ball-at-my-feet-football-quote

The World Cup in Brazil commenced last week Friday (12th June) and will run through to Sunday (13th July). It has been a terrific time of football thus far with teams upsetting some big teams. While watching some of the matches, I discovered these life lessons that football teach us. The first fifteen have already been discussed (READ; Lessons 1-5 and Lessons 6-10, Lessons 11-15). We will be looking at the last five in this article.

16. Everyone is gifted: Every footballer has a gift and what makes them unique. Every football has a talent and recognizing what it is and working on improving it is the gateway to success as a footballer. Cristiano Ronaldo’s gift is his pace, skills, shooting and heading ability. Messi’s gift is his trickery, speed, confidence on the ball. Jay Jay Okocha’s gift is his flamboyance on the ball and dribbling skills. Rio Ferdinand’s gift is his coolness on the ball and confidence. I could go on and on by naming footballers and their gifts but the point is all footballers are gifted with something that makes them unique.
In life, we are ALL GIFTED. We have something that makes us unique. Its not dependent on your result in school, or your family background, or your past rate of failure. Your gift might not be academically inclined (that’s why you do bad in school). Your gift could be drawing, photography, writing, singing, dancing, cooking or baking. Your gift could also be sports related, maybe you are a good footballer, basketballer, table tennis player, chess player or a good athlete. You are gifted and not less special than the first class graduate, top class lawyer, big doctor. What’s your gift? Discover it.

17. Have a winning mentality: Let’s imagine two sets of players. The first group go into a match not believing they can beat the other team, they believe the other team has better players and a better coach, they believe they have no chance of victory. The second team go into the match believing they can win the match, they believe in their team and the manager’s instructions, they believe nothing can stop them from winning the game. Which team do you think will come out successful? The answer is obvious. One team has a negative mentality while the other has a positive mentality.
We have to enter life with a winning mentality. We have to believe we can do it. We have to believe we can conquer life’s battles. We have to believe we can make it happen no matter the cost. We have to believe nothing will get us down and no one can make us feel worthless and derail us from life’s path. Believe in yourself.

18. Learn from every game: After every game whether win or lose, the coach studies tapes of the match to analyze what they did right, what they did wrong, what they should improve on and what they should maintain.
The players are encourages to watch the tapes especially if they lost the match, so as to identify what went amiss and fix it before the next match.
In life, we should endeavor to learn from our mistakes and don’t let it affect us. We should also learn from our victories in a bid to improve on it. Life is an educational journey and we should continuously strive to improve.

19. Don’t be a spectator: Are you aware that only 22 players (11 on each side) play a football game and as much as a billion people watch the matches? About 30,000 plus watch as spectators in the stadium while billions watch as viewers or fans. At the end of the day, only the players get the prize, only the footballers get paid, only the footballers get recognized. In fact, the money accrued from the fans through gate fees, sale of jersies, satellite tv fees, sale of mechandise are used to pay the footballers. Spectators do the shouting and supporting while the footballers do the playing.
Don’t be a spectator in life. Don’t watch as your friends and colleagues succeed in life and you just stand there either cheering them or beefing them. Be the player and make things happen. Remember only the player gets the prize. Be a player today.

20. Perseverance: Perseverance is simply not giving up. When footballers play, they never give up because they know they can score anytime. They keep at it, they keep shooting, they keep tackling, they keep passing, they keep fighting until they score and win the game.
We will be faced with difficult circumstances, we will cry, we will smile, we will be tired, we will want to give up, we will seek help, we will be happy, we will be sad, we will be encouraged, we will be discouraged. All these and more will come but NEVER GIVE UP. Persevere to the end because its all gonna be worth it when you succeed.

 

20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 3 of 4)

destroy clubs

The World Cup in Brazil commenced last week Friday (12th June) and will run through to Sunday (13th July). It has been a terrific time of football thus far with teams upsetting some big teams. While watching some of the matches, I discovered these life lessons that football teach us. The first ten have been discussed (READ; Lessons 1-5 and Lessons 6-10). For the purpose of this article, we will be looking at the next five.

11. Time: Every football match is played in the confines of 90 minutes including stoppage time (added time) to make up for time lost during the match. No matter how rich they are or famous they are or influential they are, they cannot buy more time to play a football match. Its either you make use of the 90 minutes allotted time positively or negatively.
In life, we have an allotted time for everything we do. There is a time to go to Primary school, time for Secondary school, time for University, time to read and time to sleep, time to eat and time to defecate, time to love and be loved and ultimately time to live and time to die. Make use of time properly because everyone has the same 24 hours. Don’t waste yours.

12. Pledge your allegiance: Every footballer plays under a body whether a country or a club. When it comes to playing for your country as a footballer you have to believe in your country, love your country and decide to do your best for your country. I am yet to see a footballer that hates his country or club and still gives it all his best to make the team win. Even in business, I am yet to see a successful person that despises his/her country. Dangote loves Nigeria, Bill Gates loves USA, Oprah loves her country and many more billionaires like them love and invest in their respective countries.
If you are going to succeed, pledge your allegiance to your country. Love your country with all your heart whether its in crisis or not. Loving your country comes with a blessing from God that I can’t explain.

13. Respect to authority (Referee): A referee is someone that takes charge of a football match and makes decisions that could affect the match both positively or negatively. The referee has the final say over what happens on the field of play. The referee is supposed to be impartial to both teams. A referee is someone on the pitch that chases the ball around all match but never gets to it..lol. In life, we have different referees at different points in our lives. The referees could be our parents, family, friends, bosses, lecturers, spouse and mentors. We should learn to respect authority. Don’t disrespect people that are put by God to correct you when you go astray.

14. God comes first: I have noticed that footballers are very spiritual people. They always believe in a deity. Some believe in the Almighty God while others believe in their small gods but the point is that they believe that there is someone up there that would make their hard work and talent work for them and bring them victory. For example the Nigerian team has daily prayers to seek Divine intervention. They pray both individually and as a team. They pray on their way to the stadium to play the match. They pray in the dressing room as they prepare for the match. They pray as they get on the pitch before the match. They pray during halftime and also after the match. This shows that they are well aware that without God all they do on the pitch would be a waste of time and effort. We need to put God first in everything we do. We wake up in the morning and dedicate the day to Him by prayer and devotion (reading The Holy Book). Whatever decision you want to make, please make sure you consult God. As footballers do before every match, pray to God and He will see you through.

15. Don’t look down on people: When a big star studded team plays against a smaller team. They have the confidence that they can win the game because they are better than the other team. But the biggest mistake a big team can make is look down on the opponent and underestimate them. This could lead to complacency and they might end up defeated.
In life, we should never underestimate people, we should never look down on people. Everyone has something to teach you because no one knows it all. Be open minded and not block headed. Only foolish people think they know it all. Someone once said “The wise man knows he knows nothing, the fool thinks he knows all”. While William Shakespeare added “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool”. Remember everyone knows something you don’t know. Be open minded to learn.

Continuation: 20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 4 of 4)

20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 2 of 4)

osaze odemwingie

The World Cup in Brazil commenced last week Friday (12th June) and will run through to Sunday (13th July). It has been a terrific time of football thus far with teams upsetting some big teams and our own Super Eagles of Nigeria making us proud thus far. While watching some of the matches, I discovered these life lessons that football teach us. The first five were discussed last time (READ HERE). For the purpose of this article, we will be looking at the next five.

6. Block your fears: When I was in JSS2, my class goalkeeper left the school so we needed to replace him because we had a football match coming up. I was the tallest in class so I decided to try out for the position. From that day till my SS2, I moved from JSS2’s goalkeeper to JSS3’s goalkeeper to Junior school’s goalkeeper and then to the ultimate; the school’s goalkeeper. The most important lesson I learnt as a goalkeeper is to make sure the ball doesn’t get to the back of the your net at all costs whether you use your hands, your leg, your stomach, your head, even your face, just don’t let the opponent score a goal.
In life, your opponent is your fears, the people that don’t believe in you, the people that said you will not amount to anything, circumstances, your bad result in school, your past bad experiences. You are the keeper of your heart and your mission is to make sure negativity, fears, past mistakes don’t get pass you in the net (your heart and mind). Be a goal keeper and keep away negativity.

7. Make changes: When a football match is going on there are 11 players on each team. These players are instructed by the coach of the team to play according to a formation which could be 4-4-2, 4-3-2-1, 4-5-1 etc. This formation determines how the team set ups, how they attack and how they defend. This formation is strictly adhered to by each player on the team until the coach decides to change it. On the bench are substitutes who are brought on to the pitch during a match in exchange for an existing player. Substitutions are generally made to replace a player who has become tired or injured, or who is not performing well; or for tactical reasons.
We have tactics that we use in the fulfillment of our dreams. If one tactics is not working, change it. Sometimes we make changes out of external influence, peer pressure, “following the crowd” or fear. Before we change our tactics we need to ask the creator of the Universe (God). With His advice, you can never go wrong. Substitutes on the other hand are friends. Friendship they say is not by force but by choice. Friendship should add to you and not remove from you or even leave you the same way. If you have friends that only draw from your resources (mental, financial, emotional, physical and financial) and not adding to you then its time you make new friends. Remember, friendship is not by force. Make substitutions when someone is not helping you fulfill your dreams.

8. Only goals matter: There are various statistics collated during a football match including; possession, shots on target, shots off target, shots blocked, saves made, corners taken, yellow cards, red cards etc but ultimately the most important of the statistics is goals scored. No matter how much possession a team has or chances created, if they don’t out score the other team then they would lose the match.
In life, your goals (dreams) are all that matters. The amount of times you tried and failed doesn’t count for anything, the amount of times you missed the target doesn’t matter, the amount of times you were looked down on doesn’t matter, how old you are doesn’t matter, how emotional you are doesn’t matter. All that matters at the end of the day is; did you score enough goals to win the match i.e Did you score enough goals to achieve your dreams. Please be focused on achieving the goals on your way to your dreams.

9. Delay is dangerous: Let me paint this picture in your mind. Let’s imagine a footballer on the pitch with the ball, he keeps the ball, dribbles past all the players, dribbles even the goalkeeper and is faced with the post to score the goal but instead of shooting the ball, he begins to think, analyze, strategize and evaluate and then the opponent gets back and takes the ball from him.
This is exactly what most people do in life, we analyze too much and take action few times. Analysis they say leads to paralysis. Plan and run with the plan. Don’t waste time planning, planning and planning without taking action. Delay is dangerous.

10. Celebrate your triumphs: I remember playing as a striker for my class team against another class in the University. The game was 0-0 and then I scored. That feeling when you score a goal, not even sex can give you that feeling. Its a feeling of greatness, a feeling like you are on top of the World, a feeling like you are the boss. I ran across the field, danced at the corner while my teammates rushed and hugged me. Mehn, I miss that feeling. Have you seen footballers celebrate their goals? Some celebrate by taking off their shirts (e.g Ronaldo and Balotelli), others summersault (e.g Obafemi Martins), while others run and shake the coach (e.g Robin Van Persie against Spain). There is no better feeling on the field of play than scoring a goal.
When we score goals in life, when we accomplish set targets, when we make things happen, when we surprise ourselves, when we get promoted, when we win a contract, when we get a job, when we pass an exam please endevour to celebrate. Life is too short to take it too serious. Be free, don’t be rigid. Enjoy life, don’t let life enjoy you.

Continuation: 20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 3 of 4)

20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 1 of 4)

football problems

The World Cup in Brazil commenced last week Friday (12th June) and will run through to Sunday (13th July). It has been a terrific time of football thus far with teams upsetting some big teams (sorry Spain and Portugal fans..lol) while surprises are springing up everywhere. While watching some of the matches, I discovered these life lessons that football teach us.

1. Everyone is chasing one thing: I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine about football. She obviously knew my love for the game but what puzzled her was the fact that 22 grown up men would be chasing after one ball. According to her, the ball was the real star not the players. In her words “if 22 men are chasing a fine girl like me, please whose the star; me or them?”. In football everyone is after one thing; victory so they chase after one thing; the ball. In life everyone is after one thing; success so they chase after one thing; their dreams. If you don’t have the ball, you can’t score in football. In life, if you don’t have dreams then you can’t succeed. No one in his right mind wants to be a failure, no one wants to be poor, no one wants to be disrespected. What are your dreams and what are you doing to make them a reality.

2. Be a team player: If you know a little about European club football then you would know that Real Madrid won the Champions League in May this year. During their run to the title, one player stood out from the rest and that was Cristiano Ronaldo. He scored the most goals with 17 goals in 11 matches (the highest goal tally in the competition ever) but who won the cup? Cristiano Ronaldo? No! The whole team.
In life especially in business, we can’t work alone. We need to be embed in a team with people working with different strengths for the good of the team. The team might have a star man but without other men he can’t function properly. Learn to be a team player, its not all about you. Someone has something to teach you. Be open minded and learn.

3. Everyone is a leader: A football team is made up of group of leaders. The coach is the number one leader. He trains the team, disciplines them when he deems fit, chooses the players for each match, determines the tactics deployed in each game etc. Another leader is the captain of the team. He’s the leader on the pitch. He fights for the right of the entire team with the referee and gives out instructions. But for me the most important leader in the team is the player with the ball. When a player is with the ball, he becomes the leader because everything that happens with that ball at his feet is dependent on him. If he shoots the ball over the post, it affects the whole team. If he scores the goal, it affects the whole team. In life, you are your own leader, don’t let anyone control your life, tell you what to do and how to dream. You need advice from people from time to time but don’t live life by their rules but yours. Be a self-leader.

4. Be prepared always: Football is far more than what we see on the pitch during the game. The preparation put in before each game is even more than during the game itself. Before a team comes out to play 90 minutes of football, they have had to endure over 500 minutes of training on the training ground. They endure hours in the gym to build their physique. They endure hours watching previous matches of their opponents. They wake up early to undertake various exercises. So even when a player is called from the bench during a game, he is fit and ready.
How prepared are you in life. If you are faced with an opportunity, are you prepared for it or are you waiting for the opportunity to show itself before you prepare. Have you spent countless hours on the training ground (your room/office/library) preparing your self for the opportunities ahead. According to the Roman Philosopher Seneca “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Be ever ready.

5. Fight for your right: In football, you don’t get the ball from an opponent because you asked for it, neither do you get the ball from an opponent because you deserve it. You get the ball from an opponent because you fought for it. You collected the ball from him, you didn’t plead with him for it, you didn’t cajole him, you didn’t bribe him with a smile. You knew you wanted the ball and you went after it until you got it.
Life works this way. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you desire. You don’t make it because you are beautiful or handsome, you don’t make it because you have the best degrees, you don’t make it even because you are smart. You make it because you are determined to fight for that ball (your dream) and no one is gonna stop you from achieving that. Not the economy, not your family situation, not circumstances. No one I say!

Continuation: 20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 2 of 4)