self-reliance, SoccerLifeBalance

Soccer Life Balance – The Defensive Half

This video explains the “boundaries” of the defensive half as they relate to life. The dimensions of a soccer field matter. While there are parameters for the boundaries in soccer, the parameters in which most of us live are determined by us. Showing up to a field that was too short or too wide or too narrow would cause an uproar by players and coaches. We all set up the field that we are playing on. Many of us do so in a way that guarantees that we will struggle and/or lose. If you want to understand completely what I’m talking about, check out the video below. Or read the description. Both have their value but the video has the visual representations of the content.

The life that each of us leads has boundaries. A standard life does not exist. We all have advantages or disadvantages based upon our organization or lack in our life. There are places that some people can reach that others cannot. With that in mind, each of us can do things to make our playing area to our advantage. This particular set of boundaries deal with the “Defensive Half.” These are adjustments that can be made to your personal “field” that will help protect your goal.

The Sidelines

Breathing – It’s a concept that I cover with individuals quite often. The question “What is the most important thing that you’re going to do today?” get s a variety of answers but it is the same for all of us. Breathing is the most important part of our survival. Yet we overlook it regularly. This is not a call for people to start paying more attention to their individual breaths. It is a call for a breath practice. Most of our maintenance oriented activities are done, once, twice or thrice per day. The same should be happening for a breath practice. My personal preference is the Wim Hof technique. It’s not for everyone and NEVER DO IT AROUND WATER! But it gives you a place to start. Once or twice per day for about ten minutes is all that it takes. The benefits of a breath practice are multiple but the main component deals with your ability to bring yourself from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system. Getting from your “fight/flight/freeze” response to “rest/digest” is a skill that needs to be developed rather than hoped for.

Hydration – YES! I am aware that these first few are simply survival necessities. Unfortunately (or fortunately) due to our overwhelming success as a species, we rarely have to consider our survival. Therefore we need to consider these for their optimization. Getting more out of your body and mind is completely dependent upon the ingredients and predispositions that you give your body to work with. In the realm of hydration, you are looking to consume half your body weight in ounces. The math is not overly difficult. It is simply about finding the right container to use for measurement. The 8 glasses per day rule is a bit too arbitrary. A 12oz glass x 8 glasses would be 96 total ounces. This is fine for someone around 190 lbs but might be a bit much for a 140 lbs kid. Finding the right container in order to track your hydration is really almost half the battle.

Diet/Fuel – The word diet has been mangled for decades now. It does not mean a weight loss program. More than anything else it is the food that you habitually eat. There are so many possibilities out there that could work for you. The only suggestion that I will make on this subject is to see what actually works for you, not what you want to work. I’d love for an ice cream and pizza diet to get me into optimal shape but it’s just not going to happen. So find something that balances both your nutritional needs and the reality of your life. Choosing to be a vegetarian could be the answer but if it is only going to make you miserable, don’t do it. Fuel your body with food, don’t feed your cravings at all times. The food industry has spent decades making things delicious with barely a scrap of nutritional value. Craving those foods is not an indication that you are a bad person. Give yourself a break and take time to figure out what truly works for you.

Shelter (Mental Safety) – The list of basic human needs continues with a slight twist. Very few of us are likely to succumb to the environment because of a lack of shelter/housing. However in a modern context we live an increasingly large part of our existence in the mental space. Therefore the ability to have mental shelter from “elements” is a crucial part of our boundaries. Much like food, water and oxygen, having a daily practice within this space that sets us up for success is important. Unlike the other survival needs, this is less apparent. Many people live in an unsafe mental space due to their focus or lack of control of that focus. Journaling is just one of the many techniques that can be used in order to get the mind to focus on things that are advantageous to the individual rather than the outside world. My suggestion would be to have a practice of not using any electronics for at least 30 minutes in the morning. That time can be used to establish a focus on the things that are important to you rather than others.

Sleep – This is another area that is of supreme importance but the needs of each individual vary greatly. So I am not going to give many suggestions here other than to say that your sleep should be regular. Length may vary based on the individual but having a regular bedtime and wakeup time can be a game changer. Also try as best as you can to avoid electronics for at least 30 minutes prior to falling asleep. It can help with falling asleep and also gives you time to set your intentions for the next day.

If you didn’t watch the video first, you might be wondering, “what is the goal that I’m protecting?” You’re protecting against drops in self-esteem. Having all of these boundaries set up correctly can create a space where it is unlikely or even impossible for the world to make you feel bad about yourself. The most important relationship that you have is with yourself. All of these daily practices help to keep others away from your goal – the way you feel about yourself when you’re by yourself.

Hopefully this discussion has been helpful. Leave a comment below with any thoughts or additions. This concept is not done. There is another half of the field to go but let me know if I missed anything on this side.



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