Football bloody hell! Never has there ever been a team sport that combines both elation and heartache for athlete and spectator alike. More than any other activity the sport of football or soccer asks of any man or woman willing to participate in its swing of emotions a great deal of devotion and sometimes for very little reward. Nearly 250 million souls on earth can be counted as active professionals with each and every one of them striving to reach the summit of the beautiful game.
The ups and downs of the demanding journey to its dizzy heights signify that one must possess the trait of commitment on a level which borders near insanity. Engaging in endless drills that encompass many simple but yet incredibly important technical skills.
Step overs, speed dribbles, kicking techniques, ball mastery as well as the dark arts of its many tactical nuances. To reach the top of this most competitive and universally acclaimed of sports everyday your grind and hustle must be on point, as you look to master the intricacies that are synonymous with the crème de la crème of this most sacred of human past times.
For the past 2 and a half years whilst working with the Tuks Sports elite junior teams, said showing of commitment has become almost second nature. Prevalent amongst many would be stars of the future looking to steak their claim as the next best thing in South African football.
Epitomized by a rigorous training schedule which sees young men balance their academic commitments with those of a professional athlete, its toll on both mind and body can be arduous to say the least. And in such a scrupulous environment where commitment is compulsory lest you fall behind your peers, added dedication is very much essential in being able to find the edge over all those around you in the field.
One Friday morning whilst I was tucked away in my bed, I would receive a text from a well to do young man beaming with commitment’s radiance. It was a shocker to say the least, seeing as Friday mornings are usually off days, where the necessity of rest is afforded to these young matadors in a bid to give them ample time to recover from their grueling training schedule.
“Coach are we still on for this morning? Read the message, “I am still looking to be able to practice some of my shooting techniques and I was looking for your help”. Hardly do I ever shirk the opportunity to be able to assist any one of the players to whom I am constantly side by side with in the trenches, but considering that this was 5: 15 in the morning even I had a little bit of indifference on this occasion. However, in spite of this up I went, taking my little 5-minute walk from my apartment to the High-Performance Center where we would engage in a one-on-one practice with this enthusiastic young man. His infectious nature of commitment had been transmitted to another one of his friends also up in the wee hours of the morning, eagerly awaiting practice amidst the mist laden field at the HPC.
For an hour and half, we would engage in countless drills with the use of different shooting techniques which are a staple for any aspiring professional. Whether be it the use of the top of the foot to drive the ball low and hard into the corner, or the use of the side of the foot to bend it away from your opponent in a similar manner to that championed by a certain blonde bombshell who now owns Miami United. That most difficult but yet so flamboyant of techniques the volley both half and full as well as the dead ball or set piece, each technique we committed to practice as these two boys looked to improve their level of proficiency to ensure that decisive outcomes multiply in their favor.
“Dedication is never going to guarantee you anything but without it you don’t stand chance” as Pat Riley stated and, in any endeavor, one would ever dare to embark on commitment is so crucial in being able to ensure that you are at least within a shout of success. Whether you are a lawyer, a banker, a teacher or a student to stand committed is the least to which one can have expected of them if they are ever to rise to the top in terms of proficiency within their craft.
This is what separates the good from the great and decisiveness from haphazardness as through commitment you gain a sureness and clarity in yourself which can flow to the wider group to which you are present. To not commit is to vomit away your God given talents as without commitment’s prompting you can never fully manifest the edifying nature of your potential and this is why commitment is a key trait in character for any leader of a decisive nature.
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence regardless of their chosen field or endeavor” as Vince Lombardi once wrote. And through commitment comes balance plus discipline, as your time becomes fully devoted to issues which leave one less idle and susceptible to confusion’s entrance.