It’s almost comically predictable at this point! The responses that I’m bound to hear when I say, “Ok, let’s do the same skill with your non-dominant (usually left) foot.” Most players will reply with “My left sucks!” or “I can’t do this with my left.” Other grumbles will be heard but I don’t let them linger for too long. I know that it is not so much their left foot that needs work, it’s their mindset.
After over twenty years of coaching and teaching, I am not surprised anymore. The same patterns of problems keep coming up over and over again. It’s not because people lazy, stupid or indifferent. One of the main reasons that people don’t do the things that they need to do is that they are trying to protect themselves. Their weaknesses are safety blankets that protect them from an effort toward something that might not work out. It’s not truly the effort that they are scared to put in. The uncertainty of the outcome combined with the effect that “failure” (real or perceived) would have on their self-image are the true obstacles.
So in my practice, it is my job to create a place where we redefine failure. Failure is not trying! Success is 1% improvement. If you missed the goal by 10 yards on the first attempt, then missing by 9.5 on the second is a success. This redefinition of success and failure gives an open invitation to effort and protects their self-image.
Most of us are not working with a coach on a daily basis. No one is redefining success and failure for us, so we stick with that safety blanket approach. We protect our self-image because it is important for us to feel good about ourselves or at least comfortable with who we are. The exercise regiment, new eating habits, relationship tweaks, etc. are not safe because if we tried and it didn’t work out, what would that say about us? It would mean we’re a success.
That’s right! It was easy enough to see the efficacy with little kids kicking a ball but as soon as it is our weakness, it seems much more complicated but it’s not. Trying is your new measure of success. (Yeah, Yeah! There is no try. F$#% Yoda for the moment) Once you’ve tried, then any small smidge of improvement is something to be celebrated. You jog 100 yards on Monday. Then on Tuesday you do 101, that’s success. Perfection is not attainable and movie style miracles are not coming your way any time soon. So get up off your a$$ and put your left foot forward!
Have a great day people!