We live in two worlds…
One is our world.
The world we experience firsthand.
Our children, our friends, our suburb and the streets we grew up in…our world.
When we break it down like that, our world is small…very small. Our world is composed of interactions…human contact…things we have seen with our own eyes. Things we have heard, felt or experienced.
In this world…
Bernabeu and the Nou Camp…don’t exist…unless –of course- you’ve visited these stadiums.
This world is tiny…like a spec of dust because there is very little we know firsthand…directly.
The 2nd World
Most of what we know…
Have learnt… has come to life through language.
Everything we know has been constructed by the use of words. We get most of our knowledge from our parents as children…friends, newspapers, magazines, school and let’s not forget the television.
Most of our knowledge on history, science and technology has not come to us via firsthand experience or direct experience. We didn’t live in the past with the dinosaurs; before the world was flat…we get our knowledge from reports.
Reports that are constructed with words…and communicated through language.
…and these reports are based on further reports.
Most of these reports are not firsthand accounts but messages and stories that have been passed down through generations…
The point I’m trying to make is this;
We get most of our knowledge about the world through language. We either get knowledge by experience or knowledge by description (or what I like to call it sometimes… deception)
According to Wikipedia
Linguistics is the scientific study of language…there are broadly three aspects to the study which include language form…language meaning and language in context.
I’m going to skip past language form… for english…more accurately grammar is not my strongest subject.
The Meaning Maker
Here’s something profound…at least I think so!
As my coaching mentor preaches…”no natural connection exists between a word and what is stands for”.
Please let that sink in…
No natural connection exists between a word and what it stands for
A soccer ball is not a soccer ball unless we decide to call it a soccer ball.
Another great example that is getting a lot of media attention is that of “terrorists”.
Terrorists are called terrorists not because they’re terrorists…but because someone has decided to call them that.
Last year…these same people were called freedom fighters serving a different agenda.
Knowledge by Deception
“No natural connection exists between a word and what it stands for”
Tagging things is a human act…it’s not natural and it’s definitely not universal.
We are the ones…through language and naming who create symbols and things out of reality.
Using language is a very high abstraction. Giving something a name or a label creates the difference between your thoughts and actual reality. If you need a quick refresher, try this post– “the map is not the territory”
The Meaning of Life Language
Most people are in search for the meaning of life. But what would happen if we started to search for the meaning of language…symbolism and started to think for ourselves?
We- humans- are semantic in our nature. The definition of semantics has been posted below for your reference.
Do you know why humans are semantic in nature?
It’s simple…because meaning is not given…it’s not universal…it has to be created…by the individual or by the masses.
We do not have instinctual programs such as imprinting like the animals…
We need to discover for ourselves what something is…how it works…what it’s for…
Not only that…
We need to create meaning.
We are also neurological beings.
We learn and incorporate our “learnings” into our physiology and our nervous system. Ideas, beliefs and new meanings are absorbed in our brain and throughout our body.
By now you might be wondering what’s the point.
How does this relate to kids soccer?
How does this relate to me…the soccer __________ (insert identity here; parent, coach, player)?
I’m glad you asked…
Let’s quickly highlight some key points
We live in two worlds and obtain our knowledge (information) by experience or by description.
Through words and symbols we create meaning and are neuro semantic humans (fancy word for meaning makers)
…and the final key point is this,
“no natural connection exists between a word and what it stands for”
If you ask any child how they performed they will probably answer with the following…good…ok…not so good…and on a bad day -silence.
If you talk to parents about their child’s performance chances are you will come across the following…
”not sure what happened today, he’s usually better than that”,
“we need to work on (insert issue here)”,
“he was a lot better last season, not sure what’s happening”,
“I’m happy with his performance”.
If you question the soccer coach about his performance, he will provide you with statistics if he’s winning…or emphasise how much the team has improved or talk about his plans to eliminate current issue/s.
Every performance is an expression, manifestation of a meaning.
Every skill, behaviour, action, experience and even state is actualising some meaning.
When talking about performance…the question is always,
“What knowledge are you actualising in your actions?”
“What information are you referencing when you’re making excuses?”
Performance that’s not driven, motivated and informed by YOUR highest meaning (in case you missed it, YOUR meaning) will be mediocre, average and inevitably below par.
Let’s analyse the above responses using our new definition of performance.
“Every performance is an expression, manifestation of a meaning…every skill, behaviour, action, experience and even state is actualising some meaning”
Kids are trying to please their parents- full stop. Their performance is directly proportional to their parents reaction to the game.. The meaning they’ve attached to soccer is the need to please their parents…think about that next time you analyse your child’s game. It’s a friggin shame!
Unless you’ve played the game yourself, your knowledge has been acquired by description, the second world. Unfortunately for your child, this world is manufactured…it’s not your map of the world… is it?
Do comparisons, excuses, unrealistic expectations and winning serve you?
More importantly…do they serve your child?
Have you been persuaded by others or by what you think great performance looks like? Where did you get your definition of performance? Television, the media, the coach…let me guess, knowledge by deception description.
The coach’s performance also revolves around the knowledge by description…where it suddenly reacts with the parent’s map of the world.
Coaches will emphasise winning statistics…after all…winning is associated with success and good performance…maybe in the Champions league or the Premiership…but for kids soccer…I don’t think so!
If the coach is not winning, he will focus on improvements and once again compare and create unrealistic expectations based on books, magazines or the Internet.
Unless you’ve coached at the highest level…guess what… knowledge via description.
The Gap analysis
Now that we’ve established some new concepts and definitions we must not fall into the trap of information overload.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do” Goethe
Here are 2 common mistakes parents make when dealing with new information about kids soccer.
1- Knowledge is sufficient for Success
Reading is not enough…
Learning is not enough…
Researching is not enough…
If this was the case, everybody reading the latest magazine, book, scientific review or my blog would be playing professionally.
The more books you read…the greater the success. How I wish this was true but unfortunately in soccer and in life… it’s not.
Knowledge needs to be analysed.
Is it knowledge by experience?
Is it knowledge by description…or is it knowledge via deception?
Blind acceptance should never exist especially when dealing with our children.
2- Mistaking Talking for Action
Talking is not action…or training.
Bitter arguments between you and your child is not action…or training.
Please remember…advice, demands or anger in the car…on the way home…is definitely not action.
Demanding change and talking about what needs improving…you get the picture.
The Treasure Map
When we confuse words with things they represent we start to create a false reality…a false map. False maps distort, mislead, confuse and can lead to heart ache and disappointment. Governments, advertisers and even large corporations want us to follow their maps…not our own.
So next time you’re watching your beautiful child play soccer take the time to reflect.
Think about the world you live in…
Think about your life and your reality.
Think about your child.
Before you know it…you’ll start to follow your heart. You’ll break free from the manufactured reality you were told to live by all your life.
We create our reality through the language we use. The meanings and symbols we create…Yet we forget that we control this process and let the process control us.
Children do not need more information.They are up to their eyeballs in information.
They want faith…faith in you -the parent- and the stories you tell.
We’re all stories in the end…make sure yours is a great one because your child BELIEVES in you.
“May the winds of destiny blow you to the stars”