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In soccer, as in life, it’s not enough to be in the right place at the right time.

Very often, in all fields, not necessarily soccer fields, people complain about the fact that life didn’t give them the right opportunity. They keep saying that they where unlucky.

This is the consolation of mediocre people.

Life, ALWAYS and many times, gives us the right opportunities. The aspect that we constantly miss is: we where at the right place, at the right time, but we just didn’t see the opportunity!

That leads to a hard question. Were we the right person?

Very often this aspect is forgotten. So, aside from the two first assumptions, right place and right time, the third is fundamental. Being the right person. This will give us the chance to grab the opportunity. In any field.

So coming to soccer, even if you are not in the group of the starter players, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be ready, fit and sharp. On the contrary, the players that are in a kind of ‘B’ situation have to be ready when life gives them a chance.

Work hard, get better and, because your coaches are not stupid or blind, they will see and appreciate your efforts. This means that sooner or later, more sooner than later, they will give you the chance to show what you have to give!

Life always gives opportunities so, grab them! Be ready.

Enter in the game, with the right attitude. Remember what J.F. Kennedy always said: “Don’t ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Moving this to sports and to soccer in particular, ask yourself what you can do for your team, not the opposite.

So, stop complaining if ‘apparently’ your team mates don’t give you the right assist, don’t pass the ball to you enough, don’t come back fast enough, the referee doesn’t see that particular situation, an opponent pushes you a little to hard.

Instead ask yourself: Was I in the right place to receive the assist? When I passed, did I immediately SPRINTED to a better position to receive the pass back? Are my team mates too tired to come back so I have to fight for them too? Was the referee in a good position to see what was happening or were you in a better position with a better angle of view? Do you constantly move so that for the opponents you are not a standing target?

Think positive. Give instead of asking for help. Be a protagonist not an extra.

If you saw the Champion League Final, you have the perfect example. Arsenal’s keeper was sent out for a very well deserved red card, by grabbing the foot of the opponent who was able to score on a break through.

The back-up keeper came in the game. Just looking at him, he was so nervous that I thought he would lose his lunch. On every intervention, he always looked lost. But on the occasion of the 2 goals, he constantly made the mistake that every decent keeper doesn’t make. The mistake of standing, with the legs open, to face a player who comes from that angle. All my keeper students, after a few lessons, know to come out and, with the right timing, challenge the opponents by putting themselves on the ground, like a trunk in the middle of the street. That way, with their bodies, they cover every possible angle to forbid the forward to shoot on goal. Even without using their hands, they can easily stop the ball with their bodies. The only chance the forwards have is to ’chip’ the ball over the keeper. Not really easy to do, under the pressure of a Final of the Champion league. In particular if the keeper, big like a refrigerator, comes to him like a ’tsunami’, yelling ’KEEPERRRRRR!!!!”

For sure, even the best players in the world, could have panicked and shoot at him or out! I don’t want to seem immodest but, one of my ex-student/players at High Scholl level, Bobby, 18 years old, minimum would have saved one of the 2 goals, if not both, just by doing what his soccer teacher had taught him!

So, life gave to this Arsenal keeper a life chance to bring home a trophy that his team had never won in a century. He could be the hero that Arsenal fans would have remembered forever. What did he do? Not only did he not save the game in an easy keeping situation, while Arsenal was winning in 10 against 11, but he threw the ball in his own goal, by letting the ball go TROUGH HIS OPEN LEGS WHILE STANDING, and permitting the ball to hit his leg, change direction, and go into the goal. 2-1 for Barcelona a few minutes to the end. Good-bye Champion League Cup!

Continuing to talk about the correct attitude, you can even help the other two assumptions: be in the right place at the right time.

What does this mean? It means that even if we are the right person, very often we are not in the right place at the right time.

In any field, this is fundamental. If you’d like to become a great photographer, you have to find a way to stay as close as possible to a great photographer. Do anything, any job, even for free, but stay close to him in his studio, where he creates and you can learn from him for free!!!!

Exaggerating, you can sweep the floor, but stay there. Sooner or later, not the great photographer, but an assistant of the assistant of the assistant, will ask you to do something for him. Anything. Just hold a camera, bring new roll of film, carry the films to be develop, move or carry a light, a mirror, a bag, an objective, a lens, a filter or WHATEVER!!!!! When there is a problem or simply the need of a little or infinitesimal help, you WILL BE THERE. You will help. You will be useful. You’ll solve a problem, even if simple. So people, with the passing of time, begin to know that they can count on you and they will give you more important things to do for them, knowing that you can do that without ruining everything. Without being the one that make a mess and instead, is a trustworthy person.

In a reasonable amount of time, you will become an assistant of the assistant of the assistant, someone who knows what he’s doing and has good taste in solving situations in the blink of an eye. The famous photographer, will see this. It’s part of his greatness to see this and, with time, he will pass to his assistant some job that he knows he can solve greatly like him. One day, even if it’s not tomorrow, you’ll be his assistant, and he will pass some ‘shots’ to you. With a little more time, you will have your own studio, your assistant and the wheel will keep turning and you’ll notice a new boy or girl, that seems smart, even if they just sweep the floor at the end off the day.

Are you able to transfer this concept to soccer? Good!

If you’re not, in this precise moment, you are reading the right words at the right time but, unfortunately for you, you’re just not the right person.

Coach Gianni
Posted on 15 Sep 2006 by coachgianni
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