We have 18 students in grades 5-8 participating on the middle school soccer team this fall! Our season has been fun and challenging. We are a mix of veteran players and relative newcomers to the sport. The players have experienced practicing in the rain, having games cancelled due to rain, playing students their own size and playing students who are, at times, taller and faster.
Before the players even ran a step on the field or touched a ball with their cleat, we met in the classroom and talked about certain “agreements” we would have as a team. Each player was given a copy of some choice phrases to hang in his or her locker and refer to throughout the season, and hopefully even beyond. Here is a sample below.
Be a pro.
Act like a champion.
Respond to adversity; don’t react.
Be on time.
Being late means either it’s not important to you or you can’t be relied upon. Execute. Do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it. Not almost. All the way. Not most of the time. All of the time.
Take ownership. Whatever it takes. No excuses, no explanations.
Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life
Although this was written by a former NFL player and NFL head coach, these principles can be applied to any walk of life. These words set the bar high and circumstances are not always going to be easy, but acting like a “professional” means aiming mentally to bring your best to whatever you’re participating in. It addresses how one responds to being fouled hard or to having unkind words said by another team. Mental preparation and practice is certainly important before someone speaks or acts. This is important in sports and for all of life.
The soccer team has made progress throughout the course of the season and we look forward to the practices and few games we have left during late October and early November.