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Lessons From Monday Night Soccer – Semi-Final

I’ve put this off long enough. It’s time to get a few more lessons from Monday Night Soccer out into the world!

To give a recap from 2 weeks ago, our team won the game which put us into 4th place. That meant that in the playoffs we would be playing against the #1 team in the league (playoffs are two games 1 vs 4, 2 vs 3. Winners then play for 1st and losers play for 3rd)

Before I tell you the final results, let me remind you that I play in an intermediate rec league. The understanding within this league is that you have some skill with the ball, but do not play any level of competitive soccer. Apparently our competitors on Monday didn’t get the same memo!

As I mentioned in previous postings, you can learn a lot from success as well as failure. After Monday’s game, I now know that you can learn a lot from competing with people who are much, much better than you…

1. Play your game and don’t let your opponent dictate the terms
The Stars play their best when we are excited, winning and positive. During the game on Monday, the other team caused us to lose our focus so we stopped playing our own style of game. Perhaps it was because they had such great players but, as the game wore on, we started to take shots that were less effective, passed to the wrong areas of the field and just didn’t connect as a team. We tried to get fancy (as the other team played) but our game is really a grind, short pass and score style of play.

Lesson Learned: If you are going to model success, make sure it fits in with your team style, skills and dynamics. Even if you’ve had success with your current strategy keep improving but don’t throw out the basics that helped achieve success in the first place.

2. Bracket effectively – set the field to fit your style
Bracketing in negotiation is to create a scenario or set of conditions that almost force the opponent to play a certain tactic or make a specific decision. In real estate, it’s making the counter-offer prices at a value that positions you to achieve a result better than splitting the difference. (ie. The seller drops from $100K to $95K but you only raise your offer from $90K to $92.5K – this probably means that the final price will be closer to $93 than to $95 – saving you $2K.)

In the game against this team last time, the opposing team modified some of the field sizes (width and goal crease) to fit their style of play. We didn’t object at the time (being the team captain that was actually my job – didn’t I read my own blog post?) but as I look back, they shaped the playing field to their advantage. Great for them…stupid for us.

Lesson Learned: Know your strengths and change the perceived situation to help create your desired results. Also, know the variables that can be modified in any scenario and use that to your advantage.

3. When one player on your team loses motivation, it affects the whole team
Everyone makes mistakes. On Monday, one of our players made a few plays that didn’t work – energy down one level. Then there was a goal scored because of a bad play – energy down two levels. Finally, the player was out-maneuvered and simply stopped running – energy down three levels to zero.

Watching one of our own team mates lose their motivation and energy started to drain the team and slowed us down as well. Not only did we need to work harder to continue at the same level but we started to get down on the player for their lack of effort (not very helpful I might add.)

Lesson Learned: It’s the job of the whole team to bring up spirits, help motivation and stimulate success for individuals and the group. Watch for signs of lost energy and deal with it with positive, rather than negative, feedback.

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Related Posts:
The Failure Series
Lessons From Monday Night Soccer – Game 6
Lessons From Monday Night Soccer – Game 5
Lessons From Monday Night Soccer – Game 4
The Success Series
Lessons From Monday Night Soccer – Game 3
More Lessons From Monday Night Soccer – Game 2
Three Lessons From Monday Night Soccer – Game 1

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