My Son the Footballer

My son, who’s 12, is into football in a big way… playing it, I mean, not watching it fortunately.

Does anyone else feel the same?: I just can’t be bothered with football this season, especially after the Olympics.  I think it’s something to do with the athletes (except the Chinese badminton team) and the fact that they really tried their heart’s out.  I know many of them are very wealthy through sponsorship and promotional deals but from what I saw, their attitude was just brilliant.

It felt as though they were proud to represent their countries as testified by the high numbers of them sobbing their eyes out at regular intervals.  When was the last time you saw a footballer sobbing his eyes out because he was playing for England?  And the diving and general cheating, waving imaginary cards at the ref to get someone booked… I just can’t be bothered.

Anyway, I digress.

My son is playing football and, at under 13 level the boys are developing their skills, there’s some passing and their games are recognisable as football.  My lad is a left back – he’s left footed, can tackle well (mostly because he’s brave) and, last game, marked the oppo’s most skilful player out of the game, just by sticking to him.

But there’s something missing and even m’boy said it.  He marked the right winger out of the game, but that meant he didn’t see much of the ball and got a bit frustrated.

And I can tell him what the issue is… I’m just not sure whether I should!

It’s risk.

You see, Adam plays the percentage game.  He is solid as a rock as a defender and he made no mistakes… hence the lads won on Sunday 8 – 2.

But neither did he take any risks.  There were a couple of times when our team had a corner, he wasn’t marking anyone and could have gambled on making a run to the back post.  Of course, 99 times out of 100 the ball wouldn’t make it that far but 1% of the time he would score.  The team might have only won 8 – 4, but Adam might have scored.

But if he gambles it also means he has to work hard to get back into position… not something he’s averse to, he just hasn’t thought about it.

It’s the same in a business.  Safe is great but can be unspectacular.  Risk is also great and can yield massive awards.

But if risk is to be encouraged there has to be a culture that supports it, your team needs to know that if things don’t work out they have to work hard to recover the position and, if the oppo scores a break away goal that they won’t get subbed.

Gambling on an outcome is difficult to do because doing it without any thought to consequence will just end in disaster, even if the first gamble works out.  Gambling on a back post run has to be done judiciously and there has to be thought to recovery and so on.

I might have mixed my metaphors there, but you get the point.

Do I tell my son about this?  I’ll probably just let him work it out whilst shouting ‘easy ball, mark up, heads up, put him under, away AWAY’ from the sideline.

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