It's more than the goal
Hola, or "bon dia" as they say in Catalan!
I'm still in Barcelona as I write this, at the end of an exhilarating week being an (international no less - lol) soccer mom. After being immersed in soccer at the highest level both with talented youth and the insanely incredible FC Barcelona pros, I couldn't help but notice some things.
1. Like music, you start training at a young age and you devote so.much.time to it.
2. The boys had training every morning, and played "friendlies" each night - games with local clubs where they could put what they learned into immediate practice. Ever heard that? We practically have this tattooed on our foreheads here at 360.
3. Individual skills were taught and practiced with high reps. Then corrections and adjustments were made before being implemented into a scrimmage within the training hour. Again, when you zoom in, you gotta zoom back out and put it into context.
4. Periods of intense focus were separated by water and rest breaks that were a time for fun and team camaraderie. Take time to rest and reset, people!!
5. One day the kids had a career talk by a retired player who said: all of you dream of becoming a soccer star one day, but the reality is only a very small number of you will achieve it. Despite this, keep working hard, persevere and keep your mind open to possibilities. There are a great variety of jobs to be had in the field, and your soccer training carries over to anything and everything you choose to do.
We are all conditioned to want 1 or 2 "dream jobs" but in reality there are many more opportunities and paths to follow (and create for yourself) that are incredibly and wholly fulfilling.
6. The coaches emphasized playing with freedom, personality and h.e.a.r.t. Playing with personality means having fun on the pitch, and they were taught that the acronym for Barça's game values, "heart", stands for:
H - humility
E - effort
A - ambition
R - respect
T - teamwork
One piece of feedback my son received was not to linger on his mistakes but keep moving forward and look for the next play or pass. As a musician, if you find yourself distracted by a mistake, gently bounce right back into the flow of the sound, the spirit of the music, and the pulse.
7. Finally, the teams were pitted against similarly-aged Spanish teams who routinely crushed our American teams. My son's team did win one match, but as the director of the program explained, "you have to open your eyes to the game at a global level", and learn from teams that are better than you!
While the aim is to develop skills to put the ball into the net and score goals, it's not the only "goal".
In each of the above, parallels are obvious, but it's important to note that there's so much gained in the process of training. You develop tenacity, resilience, discipline, vision, trust in yourself and others, connection to a wider world, communication skills, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
It's important to add: the extent that the pro players feed their bodies nutritious foods, take care of their physical and mental selves, is astounding and should be a bigger focus for us as musician-athletes. Music-making is as much physical as it is intellectual & emotional.
Before I sign off, I'll leave you with a proud momma moment. Here's a clip of one of Max's goals. You can thank me for leaving out the audio of one of the other moms screaming. 😂
See you back stateside!