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The Essential Component Of Player Success That Isn't Talked About
Greg Garza, former professional player in the MLS, Liga MX, and for the USMNT, and CEO at Beyond Goals Mentoring, discusses the critical ingredient of player success that is often overlooked.
If you do your research, whether looking online or talking to those with the right experience, you will find that the smallest percentage of young athletes actually make it to a professional environment. Compared to the number of players with the dream of “Making it pro”, very few get there, even among the highly talented. Soccer, being a world-wide sport, has youth development academies throughout the United States, Europe, South America, you name it. It’s everywhere. You may expect the percentage of those who achieve their dream at some level to be a little higher, especially among those players who show serious promise at a young age. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. There are so many different “other” components that play a critical role in the success of players.
We all know it takes drive, motivation, will, desire, passion to succeed, God-given talent, along with hard work, which in most people’s minds is the most important. However, there is one factor that we often don’t speak about when someone already has all of the above. Support! Support is by far the most influential and essential element of success. Spread across parents, coaches, mentors, teachers, guides, sensei’s, friends, family, etc, success is not attainable without having the right support.
Support is an essential component of success
Have you gone through life having been involved in youth sports when you were younger, but now all grown up ask yourself, “Whatever happened to (name) who didn’t make it? He was the most talented player I had ever seen!” Guess what? Most of the time, like mentioned before, it isn’t because the player wasn’t talented enough or didn’t have enough ability that caused him/her to not make it professional, or not get a college scholarship. It’s more likely that the kid did not succeed in their wants because he or she didn’t have the right support behind them as a young player. Support is very needed, especially within a youth environment that now has social media involved, where we are exposed to and being judged by a larger audience at an earlier age than ever before. Support is critical to how these youth players not only view themselves each and everyday, but also how they carry themselves and if they can develop the confidence to succeed every time they step out on the field.
Giving support is teaching, providing guidance, and mentoring in different ways that help that specific player/person grow, thrive, and reach their full potential. We are all often so easily caught up in how talented a young player is, but we are majorly blinded to what that player’s family structure is, what key components he/she might be missing, what tools he/she might be needing to continue building, and the other necessary external factors beyond the talent that he/she is influenced by. Support is critical. It is one of the most vital components that is needed to reach that next level in anyone’s life, not only on the soccer field. We must continue to build youth sports, especially the soccer industry, with the right support that is needed for the coming generations to have the right mentality to go through such a roller coaster of a journey and potentially reach and thrive at the professional level. As a professional who excelled and was able to play at a high level from a very young age until the end of my professional playing career, I must admit that I had the right mentors, coaches, guides, and teachers that provided me with more than enough support to get through all the different moments and challenges throughout my life. Whether it is the lowest of lows or highest of highs, the amount of support that is needed to continuously learn and develop is infinite. It enables us to have a healthy perspective, the right amount of self-confidence, and to succeed in something that we truly love and are passionate about.
So how can this support be given? It turns out there are many different ways. However, the most important aspect of support is always positivity. Whether it is lifting up someone's confidence, which ultimately is the most important factor when playing a sport such as soccer, or even providing criticism and feedback in a positive way which guides the individual player to learn from their mistakes and continue to grow as a player, positive support is the basis for success. We have all been there as parents, guides, mentors, and coaches, where we demand our children or players do more, expecting them to take that information such as we would in their positions, without understanding that each individual is different in their capacity to understand and take feedback. Feedback and expectations must be communicated in a positive and productive way, and this will be different for each player. Giving the right support, in the right way, is allowing that individual to intake this positive mentality and not only apply it in game and in life, but also spread that attitude to others on his/her team as well. When the communication style is positive and tailored to the individual, you enable the player to reach their potential and it spreads to those around them. That is what support is all about.