Are you someone who is into New Year resolutions? Do you like the idea of new beginnings and starting fresh? I’ve never been one to set new goals just because the date changes on the calendar, but I feel there’s something about 2017 that’s giving me a “new beginning” or “fresh start” kind of feeling. I have been thinking about all the things I would like to do or re-do in the new year and it’s got me very motivated and excited.
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my coaching and on the kids that I coach. I want to see them grow and develop so badly, and it’s disappointing when they don’t put in as much hard work as they could to keep improving their skills on and off the field. All this reflecting has brought me back to my days as a youth soccer player, trying to see what helped motivate me to work hard.
Besides the love I had for the sport and having fun with friends, I knew something else drove me to work as hard as I did. Then I remembered, as a freshman in High School, I had written down my goal! I told myself that by the time I graduated from High School I wanted to get a scholarship to play in College. I prayed every day and worked as hard as I could every chance I had to play, so I could achieve that goal.
I came to realize as I grew older, setting goals and writing them down helps you stay focused and gives you a reason to sacrifice. That goal that I had in High school was written down and placed on the wall of my room growing up. I saw it every day and therefore I worked toward it every day. This got me thinking. Parents, why don’t you have your player write down their soccer goal for 2017? And then have them tell you how they plan on achieving that goal in specific details and schedule. This could be something they do for school and other areas of their lives as well.
For four years of high school, I was determined to achieve my goal. My mom didn’t allow me to get below 3.00, or else I couldn’t play soccer, so I knew I had to keep my grades up in order for me to play. I also knew in order for me to continue improving to achieve this goal, I needed to practice more than once a week. I was so focused on my goal that I promised myself to practice every day. I would finish my homework first thing when I got home, which allowed me to go to the park for as long as I wanted. During the summer, I trained two times a day, every day and played with the older men at the park.
Little did I know, the rest of my life would be about setting smaller goals that would help me towards my main goal. I believe if we can teach our youth these life skills, they will be better prepared to succeed in the future.
So parents, before the month of January is over, please help your child set their 2017 goals with specifics ways they will go about achieving them. This will not only help them to be more disciplined and motivated now, but it will set them up for great success for the rest of their lives.
Kokou Assigbe, Coaching Director at World Class Premier