“Competitive” is a Mindset
By Joe Ulm
Competition is the essence of youth sports. Competition is what creates the challenges, failures, and successes we learn from. What I think most people miss, however, is that games are only a small part of being competitive. Games are often where players get the title “competitive,” but games aren’t what makes a player competitive. What makes a player competitive is how they think. The way they think drives their actions in a way that separates them from other players; actions they engage in both on and off the field. It’s not feasible to list every element of what makes a player competitive, but there are some things every competitive player does – and it all starts with the way they think…
- Competitive players have the right mindset. They have a good attitude, they’re open minded, always learning and thinking about the sport, they’re entirely coachable, and they always put great effort into their soccer, both on and off the field.
- Competitive players are present during games and practices. They’re engaged with the coach and their teammates, they have a great attitude, and their mind is focused on soccer. They’re not thinking about their science project or their weekend plans when they’re playing soccer. They focus on those when they’re not playing soccer.
- Competitive players take responsibility for their soccer experience. They ask questions, learn from others, support their teammates, and they take the initiative to understand what they need to do to improve and to be successful. Then they do it. No excuses.
- Competitive players evaluate their play regularly and they’re honest with themselves. They understand what they’re good at and what they need to improve on because they’ve sought opinions from others (coaches, parents, other soccer experts, etc.).
- Competitive players understand that success is a process, not and end result, and they actively engage in the process over and over and over. They don’t hang their head because they got beat off the dribble, or because their penalty kick went wide. They may be disappointed, sure, but they get right back to it and do their best to take advantage of their next opportunity. No matter the result, they go back to their process; their way of working and learning…and they get after it again.
Stay United everyone.