How to Cheat the Death of Soccer Creativity Through Fugu

Crazed, but true story(s) of the death of soccer creativity:

There’s this type of fish called, “Fugu.”  It’s a big ugly looking fish that also so happens to be poisonous as heck.

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However, despite the fact that it has enough poison to easily kill a homo-sapien, some people (aka – crazies), like to eat it.  In Japan, restaurant preparation of this deathly thing is highly regulated.  Chefs who wish to prepare it have to go through at least 3 years of intense training to reach the “Fugu-level.”  If a chef screws up the preparation of the fish, person eating it can die….

I’m not sure if people actually like the taste, or just love the insane exhilarating feeling of taking bite after bite of something that may be fatal to you… and then try to convince people; “no really, I actually love the taste…”

But here’s the thing, there’s an interesting analogy here.

It’s this; in soccer, more people need to get that “crazy” on and become fugu lovers.  More people need to develop that “risk loving” mindset.  Specifically players in the age of development. In fact, it’s due to this risk aversion, that tons of players never develop awesome soccer creativity.

What happens is we focus on winning and immediate results too much.

We are so dang afraid of that “fatality,” that we stop anything resembling “risk-taking.

“Just pass!”

“Don’t ever play up through the middle!”

“Don’t ever dribble in your end!”

“Just get rid of it!”

Any of those sound familiar?

I like to view soccer development as constantly encouraging players to be taking that “poisonous bite…”

What do I mean?

You want them to be flirting with a big fat “fatal” mistake.  You think players became great at dribbling, moves, creativity, and being confident on the ball by playing it safe and listening to those debbie-downers constantly yelling at them to play it safe?

There’s a hilarious (at least I think so) phrase in Chile they use when someone has the ball and is in a situation where they can really “go for it.”  What’s this magnetic phrase?

“Take it all the way to the kitchen!”

I.E. You see someone dribbling and maybe they’ve already beaten one defender and immediately they start looking to pass it off.  Often this is simply due to pressure: we feel like we must pass cause we’ve held onto it for too long.  And at this point, IF you think they could just “go for it,” you would yell: “take it all the way to the kitchen!”  As in: “man you did all this awesome work beating defenders, don’t pass it, take a risk and flipping go for it dawg!”

How often do players not do that awesome play simply cause they have never actually given it a shot?

Whenever I think back to some of my most memorable plays, it’s cause I had that mentality.  And it helped my development so much. If I had simply played it safe always and not learned to (sometimes) shut out the noise and din, then I would no have developed a lot of my best skills.  And the same can happen to your kid if you just give em the safe “food” (talking soccer in case you missed that so don’t go losing your mind on me).

Remember Gretzky (aka: best Hockey player ever)? He said this incredible pearl of wisdom:

“You’ll always miss %100 of the shots you don’t take,” OR as I like to translate sometimes: “You’ll always miss %100 of the dribbles you don’t take.”

So stop only eating the safe stuff and give it the oooooooold fugu shot.  As in, go for it.  Encourage your players sometimes to go for it.  Encourage your kid(s) to take it “all the way to the kitchen” and stop always just playing it safe.  Stop underestimating soccer creativity – it’s insanely important (and fun).

Always remember: soccer is more forgiving than eating Fugu.

Let me know why you think players are often so afraid to; “go for it” below:

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