We have become accustomed to describing things as "outstanding," "world class," or even "the greatest." In fact, the terms come most often when discussing players or teams. This 15 year old is world class, that U10 team is outstanding.
This morning, I watched a video that claimed "soccer players need several hundred to a few thousand touches each WEEK to be OUTSTANDING." Read it again, let it sink it. It couldn't be further from the truth. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that this was part of a marketing video that promoted a product for moms and dads to buy their aspiring young players.
We have become a culture so accustomed to getting what we want that we have ultimately lowered the bar on what world class really is. We have decided that mastery should be easy, that getting to the top should simply require an average level of commitment because otherwise why should we bother? It is in the watering down of words like world class, outstanding, and excellent that we get products each year that try and tell us we can be outstanding if we do this or that.
"You can be world class" if you buy that nonsense contraption that has a string attached to the ball. "It works on your touch!" They exclaim as they simply keep kicking the ball, never stopping it. Working on your touch? Or working on kicking a ball endlessly.
"You can be outstanding if you buy our soccer dancing DVD that will teach you 40 new moves," none of which you will master and thus be able to use effectively in a game, but it will look great in your backyard!
"You can be a professional if you buy our book of 10,000 soccer drills." That one may be my favorite.
Mastery is not easy. Mastery is the hardest thing you will EVER do, and that's if you even manage to try. I don't know this because I have mastered something, I know this because I am trying to. I have been encouraged by the works of people and groups like 3Four3, BeastMode Soccer, and HupTVC because they don't advertise gimmicks. They promote a dedication to their craft that requires insane amounts of hard work. Check them out, and don't be scared by the work that's required. Be encouraged that you're one step closer towards mastery by accepting that it is going to be different than anything you've done before
As a player, are you interested in 30 new moves by the YouTube Skills Gurus? A jack of all trades but a master of none? Or are you interested in mastering two or three moves that will give you the time and space to dominate the pitch?
Mastery is not easy. I'm not even 5% of the way there. But I can promise you this, mastery doesn't require contraptions that make fun Christmas presents. It requires hard work, constant practice, focus, and determination.
It's simple, but it certainly isn't easy.