Aug. 12, 2021

Offseason Talks, Volume 10 – 5 Life Lessons from the Beautiful Game

Offseason Talks, Volume 10 – 5 Life Lessons from the Beautiful Game

In Episode 42, our co-host, Phil Darke, finishes off this offseason’s talks by sharing five life lessons we can all learn from the beautiful game and apply in every area of our lives: 1) Maximum effort; 2) Always be on your guard; 3) Be able to make...

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

In Episode 42, our co-host, Phil Darke, finishes off this offseason’s talks by sharing five life lessons we can all learn from the beautiful game and apply in every area of our lives: 1) Maximum effort; 2) Always be on your guard; 3) Be able to make decisions on the fly; 4) Your work is important even if nobody sees it; and 5) Rest is a critical component of success. 

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil:[00:00:00] Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. I'm your host, Phil Darke. And this today is the last off season talk. At least for this off season, if it's something that you like, we'd love to hear from you on that. And to let us know whether you like this and whether you want us to do this in between seasons, maybe.

10 of them, like we did this time, but a few of them just so we can hear from Paul and Marci, hopefully like you just did. I mean, that was pretty cool. The last three weeks you've been able to enjoy the wisdom of Paul Jobson and his beautiful bride Marci in what was her first podcast interview?

Believe it or not. Yeah. Smooth as butter, but something that I really enjoyed, I not only enjoyed the break over the summer, but I enjoyed hearing from my brother in arms, Paul Jobson and Marci, and just really what they're doing with that warrior way program out in Waco, which is pretty amazing and know, we can learn a lot from that, but also hearing [00:01:00] from Paul about communication a few weeks ago, if you didn't catch those, I strongly encourage you to do that.

Today, we're going to be continuing the series on these off season talks. We're going to be going a little bit into some lessons that I have learned over the decades of experience I've had in the game of soccer. As we ask of our guests, what have you learned from the game that you use in your everyday life?

And that's really I've. I got a whole list of them, as you might imagine. That's right. Part of the reason I started this podcast was because I had ideas for a book. And so today we're going to run through about five of those things it's going to go quick. We're going to not dive as deep into them as I might enable a book or in a particular podcast episode.

But I wanted to just really run through them. In our last off season, talk for a 2021. So, without, before I get into those though, I do want to remind you that we have the Facebook group. If you want to go deeper into these things that we're talking about [00:02:00] strongly encourage you to join that Facebook group and engage. Don't just join and be passive member of that, but you engage with questions.

Comments, engage with some discussion with the other folks who are in that group. That's what makes it come alive. And that's what we hope will happen through this podcast. The other thing is if you want to connect with me or Paul about the warrior way program for Paul or the DISC training that I'm able to do. The Coaching the Bigger Game program that I am finishing, putting the finishing touches on with Christian Devries, who will hopefully be on the show soon. You can reach out to me at Drop me an email and we can connect on whatever you want to connect on.  So The last three weeks, been able to spend some time doing DISC training around the country with Baylor and university of Houston, university, Louisiana, some pretty amazing programs that are going on there.

Some great coaches. Have been or will be on the show as you know, Paul Jobson with Baylor. And it's [00:03:00] been incredible to be able to really get to be a part of their program. Just a little bit to get a little taste. I am back here in the studio and getting ready to roll. So without more for me on kind of the preliminaries, we're going to jump right into it.

And the first thing that I want to say about the game that I've learned that has taught me about life as well, and leadership is really play the full 90 minutes. Best that you have, or if you don't play the full mind, 90, whatever part of that 90, that you are actually on the field, give it your best. When you're off the field, you can still give the best and you participate as well.

It just in a different role. And that really goes to any organization that we're a part of really. You need to be focusing when you're quote unquote in the game, you need to be focusing and going after the goals that you as a team have come up with. Really that's something that goes in everything that we do.

Give it the best that you have Tracy Hamm, who's going to be on the show. [00:04:00] I've already done the interview. I'm excited for it. One of the things she is the UC Davis women's soccer coach. One of the things she says is the way you do anything, you do everything. And I will say that is really this idea.

The life lesson from this is have integrity in what you do, be predictable in that allow in this sense of people know that when they put you. on the field proverbially, or literally they know they're going to get your best, give a hundred percent effort, 100% of the time finish.

Well start, well, do everything in between. Well, right. I mean, what you see when I say the full 90, because so often in games, the first five minutes, the last five minutes, that's when goals are scored either because people are not starting well, and they're just kind of easing into the game and mistakes.

Or at the end of the half or the beginning of the half or the beginning of the game or the end of the game, the really at the end of the game, maybe they're not fully focused and they're not giving a hundred percent effort because they're just tired and they're not able to finish well for whatever reason.

That's also when a lot of [00:05:00] mistakes happen. So be focused and give 100% effort mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually in everything you do. And that will go a long way to getting the results that you want. The second thing that I really have learned over the years is you can work in anybody who's watching soccer or no soccer.

You know, this, you can work super hard at entire game. And one counter attack. One lapse of focus can bring all that hard work. Right. I just look back and, you know, if you watch the all or nothing special with man city, or if you actually watch this game or you remember it, like I do, and I'm a United fan, as you know.

So it actually brings me joy way to tell this story. Man City in an FA Cup game, a couple years ago in this match, they had 81% possession, 81%. So Wigan this team in the FA Cup who was in the lower division. They had 19% possession. Yes, I can do math every so [00:06:00] often. 19% possession, but one counter attack.

I remember it. Kyle Walker had a little mistake and counter attack Wigan went in on a breakaway, scored. One, nothing. City was knocked out of the FA Cup because of one lapse. One lapse of focus, just one little. And they had the entire game. The entire FA Cup was brought down because of that. And that happens in life.

If we lose focus, when it's important, when it's critical, all our hard work can become, it can come down. All our hard work can be for naught if in certain situations, if we aren't able to focus for the entire time that we need to be focusing, when we're on that pitch, when we are playing, we need to be focusing.

I talked about this all the time with my goalkeepers, that I train. Basically, you're going to be getting action in a game may be a couple minutes of the 80 or 90, however many your playing, but you need to be focused for that full game so that [00:07:00] when those two minutes do come, you are ready. And I think that that applies to us so many times in life that we get lackadaisical because we're not quote unquote in the action, but if we're not ready, when it comes to us to perform.

We won't be able to do all the things that we're supposed to be doing and we're created to do so, be ready, be focused so that counter attack of life, so to speak does not hit you off guard. Be ready for that action when you're called to be ready. So that is that life lesson. Number two for this episode, always be on your guard and always be ready to perform when called upon.

The third thing is in the game of soccer football for our global audience, there are no stoppages. outside of water breaks, which come and halftime and the end of the game, you can't just call time out when you're tired or when you're trying to figure something out, you can't, you're not like in American football where you call a play every time and you can adjust, or even at the line, you can audible because the game hasn't started [00:08:00] in soccer, it is continually going and you just, there are no stoppages.

So what is the life lesson here? Well, really it's that we need to be flexible. We need to be alert. We need to be able to make decisions on the fly. Even though some of us are uncomfortable doing that. Some of us are very comfortable doing that. Sometimes we do. And even when, even when we shouldn't be doing it, but others of us, it's not as easy, but we need to be able to make decisions on the fly.

If we're going to be the best that we can be, we need to be able to make decisions in the midst of the battle in the midst of the game. If we're not able to make those decisions, those split seconds decisions, we're not going to be able to flourish. We're not going to be able to be the best on and off the field and really the way that we're able to make those split second decisions is by allowing ourselves ahead of time in our practices to learn and have it become muscle memory for us to be doing all these different things that it takes to be a great soccer player so we can anticipate these things that might come up in the game and we can [00:09:00] prepare ourself for those. What would otherwise be surprises on the field? It doesn't come as a surprise because we've prepared our minds. We've prepared in the practices to anticipate these things that come up during the games. So that if you need to make that split-second decision and it's something you weren't expecting, it's not completely unexpected because you have actually practiced your mind in your practices.

And you practice your body so that your touches on, and so that your, your ability to make those passes that you need to make are there. And in life, you can also do that by training in all these different things that you're doing, whether it's in school, whether it's in your jobs for those moments, when you're in that pressure cooker.

So that you're able to perform. I think of my days as a lawyer, if I wouldn't have prepared all those times when I was actually in the courtroom, when I was actually in an arbitration, if I wasn't ready to be able to deal with that unexpected thing, the judge may have asked if I was doing appeals work.

The judge would ask me a question. I had to be. The [00:10:00] only way I was ready as if I prepared by reading all those briefs. If I re read all of the different things, all of the entire case file, then I was ready to respond to that. Judge. If I hadn't read it, I would have been caught caught out, like sometimes we are in games on those counters.

All right. So the next thing, so that one is the life lesson. Be flexible, be alert and be able to make decisions on the fly by creating muscle memory in practice and preparing yourself for those moments. The next thing is really moving off the ball. It seems sometimes like it's not doing anything, but it is.

Moving off the ball takes the fenders away from others who may be your teammates who may be going elsewhere. So, really this idea of divide and conquer this idea, this life lesson from this as your work is important, even if nobody is watching you usually so much is happening off camera in the game, people are making runs.

People are opening. The, and keeping our shape. If you hear coaches talking about keeping your shape [00:11:00] that's so that your, your, the players who are moving to other spots, so you can get to them, are taking defenders away from the other people that you really want to be getting the ball to. Sometimes it's a decoy.

I remember watching on Amazon prime, there was the Messi This is football series. And what they talked about Messi is so often he would actually be a decoy by taking defenders away. He didn't end up getting the ball. Sometimes he wasn't even in the screen on the TV, watching the game, but he was actually taking defenders away by moving off the ball and people, most people in the world don't even see that.

But it was critical to actually scoring the goal. He didn't make the assist. He didn't make the actual goal, but he should have gotten an assist because he took away defenders who may have been there to stop the ball from getting to the guy who ultimately did score. So really this idea is your work is important, even if nobody is watching you, even if nobody ever sees.

[00:12:00] Hopefully, you know, the importance of what you were doing. Hopefully your coach, hopefully your boss, hopefully the different people in your life know that what you are doing behind the scenes. I mean, look at this. If we didn't, if we had an organizations, didn't have people doing accounting. If we didn't have people doing the background work to prepare marketing, if we didn't have people that were doing the thing behind the scenes to prepare the documents, prepare the different things for the people who are getting the credit to the outside world, things wouldn't happen.

Things wouldn't. And we, the people who quote unquote, get the glory would never be able to, because it would never get there. And we see that all the time in soccer, oftentimes defenders don't get that attention. Oftentimes the six, the holding midfielder doesn't get the attention, but he or she is actually doing so much behind the scenes that we don't even see they're causing people to pass it where they don't want to because they moved to the space that they know that person wants to go.

They're hitting passes in there and they're actually creating things from that place. [00:13:00] That is usually just again, behind the scenes. Unfortunately, a lot of those people love that lay loving behind the scenes and just making things happen, making things tick. But oftentimes usually not getting credit in the public eye.

So remember that your work is important, even if nobody is watching you. And even if you never get attention, assuming you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, and assuming you are making things happen, but understand that yourself and know that that is critical to the team success. And as the other thing that you're hopefully seeing with all this is our teams need a lot of different things to be able to be successful. They need a whole lot more than just me or just you to be successful. That's underlying all of this. All right. So while we've, what have we talked about today? Have integrity, give it a hundred percent effort. A hundred percent of the time we talked about always being on your guard.

We've talked about being flexible and alert and needing to be able to make decisions on [00:14:00] the fly. And we've talked about the fact that your work is important, even if nobody is watching you. Okay. The last thing I want to talk about. For ourself, for a team for everyone around us, there is a time to rest and look at this in a, in a soccer game.

We have built in times a halftime break the off seasons. Now obviously we have water breaks if it's too hot. So given the circumstances, you may need more breaks. Okay. During COVID-19 we've had a whole lot of break, whole lot of restarts, false starts a lot of other things. But the life lesson is rest is critical to success.

And the Bible God, in the first six days created took rest on the seventh day, created the Sabbath once a week, take a break Jubilee once every seven years take a longer break. There's lots of people who are very smart, who [00:15:00] have different ways that they take their rests. Some people take a Sabbath rest every week.

Once every quarter, they take three days. Once every year they take a full week. That's one way to do it. Whatever works for you. Make sure that you're getting that rest. I just read something recently. They say 60% more injuries happen to people who don't get the adequate sleep every night, which is usually about eight to 10 hours, depending on your age.

If you're not getting your rest at night. Every single night with that sleep that you need, your body is not able to recover mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, everything. You will be off kilter. We talk about being hangry. If you're hungry, if you're angry, it's often, oftentimes also when you don't get your sleep, say if you go sleep deprived for, I forget the exact amount, it might be a week.

It might be a little bit over a week. You actually are at the same level of functioning as someone who is legally drunk. Getting your rest is critical. Resting your mind, resting your [00:16:00] body, resting your soul. Those are things. If you're not doing that, you will not be the best that you can be for yourself and for everyone else in your life on a soccer team.

If you're not getting your rest, you're not going to be able to perform at your highest level. In a job. You're not going to be able to perform. You're not going to be able to be that best employee you can be. You're not going to be able to be that best boss and leader. You can be in a family. You won't be the best father or mother or child.

You can be husband, wife, you can be. So hopefully you get the point. There there's a whole lot more to it. There's a great book called I think it's called Sleep Smarter. Fantastic book about how to get actual sleep better, which allows you to rest better. But also just resting in your, as part of your flow.

And if you're not prioritizing rest, as much as you are juggling or other things in the soccer world or in your jobs with the work and working extra, [00:17:00] then you're missing a huge part of what it takes to be success. So folks, hopefully this last off season talk has been something that you learn from, hopefully something that I know I've learned, even just preparing, I reminded myself of these things that I've learned over the years.

And you'll be able to use it to help you to be healthier individually. It will. You'll be able to use it to help you be a better team member. So your teams will be healthier. Your teams will be more successful. You'll have more fun. You'll have more excellence in your teams. You get you'll, you'll be able to not have as much conflict on your teams .

So those are things that I really believe in, and hopefully they're things that you will take and you will learn from. So folks, again, I encourage you. If you have any questions about anything you've heard today, reach out to me, If you want to go deeper with any of these things, if you want to ask me some questions about anything we've talked about in any of [00:18:00] these off season talks or any of the interviews we've had to date. Coming up next week, we're going to have the first interview of Season 4. And this season we have some great folks coming on. As I said, I was able to do some training at university of Houston and university of Louisiana. And those two code head coaches Diego Bocanegra, and Lance key will be on the season. Tracy Hamm, who I already mentioned, UC Davis women's soccer coach.

She's going to be on this season. There's some other folks as well, not going to name 'em all and leave some surprises. But I hope you join us for those interviews as well. Hope you also join us on the Facebook group. And, as always, I'm going to end this show as I end all the shows, because I really to hope that everything you're taking from these interviews from these off-season talks will help you to be a better leader.

They'll help you to be a better husband or wife or father, mother, child [00:19:00] player, coach, whatever you're doing, boss, employee. These principles will help you because we've learned we're able to learn from soccer from other sports that we're playing, how we can be better leaders. And so I do hope that everything you're learning from these episodes are helping you to understand that soccer really does explain life and leadership.

Thanks a lot. Have a great week.