I preach to my players all the time that preparation is a key to winning soccer games and winning in life. The older I get, and the more experiences I gain the more conviction I have in that statement. One of my favorite quotes is “Everyone has the will to win, but not everyone has the will to prepare to win” -Coach K. Winning comes in preparation. Everyone wants to win when the whistle blows to begin the game. No one wants to lose. But did you win in preparation? Did you hydrate properly? Did you eat properly? Did you get a good nights sleep? Did you give everything you have in practice? Did you do extra work outside of organized practice? Did you do everything the day of a game with excellence to get yourself in the right mindset for the game? A soccer game is 90 minutes. Preparation is days, weeks, and years. Having the will to prepare to win is much more important than simply having the will to win because that preparation bleeds into your performance. One guarantee I can make is everyone wants to win the game, but most people don’t want to win in preparation, that is the big separator.
Why don’t people want to win in preparation? Because its hard work. We naturally want to take the path of least resistance. How can I do as little as possible but still get the result that I want? Thats a question that constantly runs across our brain whether we want to admit it or not. However that is not the mindset of a winner. Not giving into that thought is the key to preparing for success. Preparing thoroughly gives you a swagger or a confidence because you know you are 1. Doing everything you possibly can to set yourself up to win and 2. Doing what most are unwilling to do. I am much more confident coaching a practice when I have thoroughly prepared for it. When I was in sales, I was much more confident when I woke up early, went for a run, ate a solid breakfast, got to work early to clean up emails and got on the phone before anyone else. That confidence bled into my performance. Preparation gives you an edge. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Tim Grover, Michael Jordans private coach. I asked Tim what made Michael so great. To sum up what he said was that Michael was relentless in preparation. His mindset in practice and preparation is what separated him from his opponents on the court.
Ive heard people say that success is when preparation meets opportunity. Ive always believed that opportunities will come and they always have. Some may argue that they don’t get the opportunities they need, however I can’t believe that to be true. Opportunities pass us everyday. I always tell my players that every time they touch the soccer ball, its an opportunity. Its an opportunity to get better, to impress someone, to learn something new, however if you don’t have a positive mindset when those opportunities comes it will pass you by and you will never get them back. We must seize these inevitable opportunities by having a positive outlook and being relentless in preparation. It sure is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one then to not be prepared and have one pass us by.