If we set aside the physical part of soccer, in many ways our day to day business decision making is as grueling as those 90 minutes. The one thing which most of us might find tougher than soccer is the “goal/objective”. In soccer, the goal is fixed and we always know what we have to do with the ball. I am pretty sure many decision makers, entrepreneurs CXOs would love to be in a position where the objective is so apparent. Having set the most important philosophy in place, the second most important requirement is “focus”. Focus towards the goal. Having a clutter free, non-chaotic environment to augment focus is one big deal which very few individuals and even lesser organizations are able to ensure.
The thought of focus reminds me of a football match, where we were one down till late second half against a team which we were pretty comfortable with. We had missed few easy chances and couple of our headers had landed straight into the goalkeeper’s hands. We were striving hard and at times we were trying too hard, thinking too much hence loosing coherence on field. From an upbeat start we had come down to a position where we were just thinking to save the match. Our coach, who is a veteran and a capped player for India at times to bring some coherence into our approach, would hop into midfield for few minutes. Though he was way past his prime fitness, he had a thinking mind and could always asses a chink in opponent’s defense in a jiffy. Only problem was that the second midfielder had to do double shift to cover-up our bosse’s weak fitness. Hence we could afford him on field for at most 10 minutes. More often than not I ended up being the second midfielder. Just as we managed to get him on field as replacement, we landed up an indirect free kick from about 30 odd meters. Keeping things simple is always one of the key agenda on field and during the final moments, wasting a free kick (though in-direct) is like a blunder. Idea was to bring the ball as close as possible to the goal and manage a powerful shot. John (Our Coach) asked me to initiate “one-two pass” to take the ball as close as feasible. To hustle up, I immediately took an easy kick and ran to receive the second pass, before I could receive the ball I saw John rushing to wards the gap to receive my pass. I passed the ball back without even stopping it and rushed into the left end of the penalty box sensing a return ball form John. As always John the return pass was not only precise but aptly paced to take a power-full kick from inside the box. For a striker, this is next to god, its like a popping a cady open. With nothing much left to be done rest was easy piece for me. With five meters from goal, with the ball at my best foot (i.e. right) I banged the ball hard to the left corner to beat the approaching goal keeper… and I missed the bar by inches outside the gaol.
Missing a goal is not an issue, so is missing targets. However, what transpires during the process is important to understand. The nightmare which invariably haunts stickers across world is the inability to convert passes into goals. If you see a penalty shootout carefully you will find that those who see the ball till the last micro second of the kick actually convert it into a successful penalty. Map the goal post and then choose the spot on the ball where you need to kick and 90% of the time you will hit the target because the goalkeeper either guesses from the feet movement or the eyes of the sticker to pre-decide a jump.
For all of us frequently making multiple decisions amidst chaos while ensuring focus is probably the most difficult task. Unfortunately there is no apparent tool to ensure focus, however the best we can do it follow the three simple steps to ensure we get what we want.
- . The first step to a focussed effort is cutting the clutter around the goal: Most of the times, we have all junk and multiple thoughts hovering around. Invariably before the last mile, our thoughts are infested about the result and its consequences.
- Keep it simple….
- Keep you eyes always on the ball. The most important mantra is to keep your eyes only and only on the goal, neither beside it, behind it or on the goalkeeper