New Book in Progress

The new Legends book Legends For Life will show how our philosophy develops the highest levels of courageous, creative, leadership character for life. To the right is a photo of Gandhi. A great example of selfless, courage and creative leadership!

 

The Current Philosophical Problem Identified

Modern knowledge of soccer tactics and systems has allowed us to manipulate statistical results and control players in restrictive ways to their detriment. This is a fact that becomes clearer each day as creative development dies and our players fail to achieve their potential. Indeed by disconnecting us from creative license traditional win/profit oriented coaching has led us into actions so inharmonious with developmental reality that a character catastrophe seems inevitable for our players if we stay the course. Win oriented coaching methods, far from telling the truth about how we develop character are myths meant to feed our fading fantasy of ego based coach power and control. If we dare to move beyond our fear of losing to practice coaching as a form of creative character development we might abandon our illusion of control and enter into a partnership with parents in developing truly brilliant humans with spectacular character. By optimizing our most purist selves we might teach more clearly the actions that are life-empowering and in the process participate more fully in establishing human destiny and the destiny of the world than we do in our quest for control, winning and profits. This relational way of coaching, in which creative character development takes away fear and optimal self-determination replaces control, is a way of teaching that can help us develop phenomenally capable young men and women, the capacity for elite connectedness and truly great team interaction in life.

 

Bringing The Game And Life Together

Society is both more disconnected and connected than at any time in history. I can talk on a local phone number with a Legend’s alum in Bucharest, Romania, but I hardly know my neighbors. In our intellectual, high tech culture we have refined individual and team disconnectedness to an extreme of separation yet we communicate with more semi-strangers than ever before. Because of the Internet each of us is able to specialize and separate to a greater degree than previous generations but because of the new imbalance between individuality and teamwork we are in danger of losing our ability to interact closely with a diverse cross section of society. Life should be a balance. We need to meld facts with feeling, rigid technique with creative license, objective with subjective. In perhaps the great paradox of life, personal fulfillment comes partially from close relationships with others and part from feeling special and unique. Because of this the best sports teams and systems need to develop, recognize and reward the most creative individualists while simultaneously creating an elevated unity of interaction and mutual respect. Traditional soccer coaching has "unbalanced the scales" horrifically in the direction of team and winning to where psychological abuse of children is accepted as a "necessary" character building component of the youth sports environment. Kids taught this way learn that it’s OK for the coach to cheat and abuse another child if the team wins. They are taught to expect their mentors to allocate playing time unfairly, pigeonhole players for the purpose of winning, demand fear based actions when in danger of giving up a goal, etc. They therefore grow up thinking that these sanctioned abuses are OK to repeat with their own children instead of learning to develop incredibly creative, courageous leaders/mentors and teaching them to balance these aspects with the depth and meaning involved with deep and harmonious team interaction.

Training young people to be creative leaders and mentors is the neglected discipline. In demanding rigid learning of factual knowledge some teachers are in danger of developing rote robots. Alternatively we have “laissez faire” teachers who excuse and sanction poor technique at the cost of individual responsibility. Very rare is the teacher who trains the parents, coaches, leaders and mentors of the future.

In youth sports should we be focused on winning the game? Or would it be better to develop creative, courageous, intelligent, moral, determined characters for life. Defining our true objective will help us plan the appropriate curriculum.

Over the years the unique Legends philosophy has been credited by many extremely intelligent and worldly-wise parents with developing an unusual degree of very positive life character attributes in their offspring. Many of these character attributes are very different from the traditional benefits of team sports, e.g. risk orientation, willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty, balance of science and art, logic and imagination, emotional intelligence. Many are already commonly accepted e.g. teamwork, work ethic, rule adherence, organization of time, commitment, recovery from negative events, conflict resolution, etc. It seems as though the longer a player spent with the club the more the parent and child felt that they gained a very unique and positive perspective on life as a result of their "Legends" experience.

As a bonus the majority parental hypothesis is that even accepted positive characteristics were developed to a significantly greater degree than normal by the challenging and creative "Training Soccer Legends" approach. Much has been written about the traditional benefits of the team sports experience. However, my intent is to illustrate comprehensively and conclusively that a soccer training curriculum, when properly structured, can foster desirable character attributes for life in a way that other team sports environments cannot. The goal is to show how the Legends for Life approach develops cutting edge personal characteristics that enable alumni to welcome positions of leadership and mentorship and the inherent challenges of those positions. The ultimate goal is to provide the best coaches with a resource that gives them the tools to provide children with far more complete and beneficial life training using soccer as the catalyst and vehicle.