Chapter 42: LOVE YOUR NOSE – ROOKIE: Surviving Your Freshman Year of College Soccer
There’s another excellent way to disqualify yourself and it has nothing to do with team rules, but it has everything to do with attitude.
Let me make this impossible to misunderstand: Don’t be a brat.
Yes, you may be genuinely disenchanted with your playing time and you may feel wholly justified in projecting that disenchantment, but when the spirit moves you to project, don’t. Just don’t.
There is nothing more annoying than a player whose body language screams, “Look at how unhappy I am!” Your coach knows that you really want to play, but that’s not a good enough reason for him to put you on the field. For you to play, you have prove that you’ll actually help the team win games, and you’ll never do that by acting like a brat.
When the game ends, your attitude should reflect the team’s success, not your own. If your team wins a game, the last thing in the world your coach wants to see is a player pouting because she didn’t get to play. Yeah, it may be hard for you to control your emotions, but sometimes you just have to be a good actor. Sometimes you just have to put on a brave face and save your tears until you get into your car to drive home.
Of course there are other ways to pout, and you won’t be the one to invent any of them. Disgruntled players will use all types of bad body language to express their discontent; they’ll start mailing in their effort at training; they’ll give the coach the silent treatment. Believe me, your coach has seen it all and he’s gotten over it. Incidentally, few things will come off quite so foolish as complaining about your playing time when your team has just won five games in a row.
Look, when you project your personal misery onto the team, you’re going to aggravate your coach and hurt your own cause. No coach is going to reward a player for acting like a brat. No one in his right mind wants to set that type of precedent! I’ve dealt with 23 years’ worth of disgruntled players; do you honestly think I’m going to cave because you gave me your pouty face? Your coach is trying to protect his job and his paycheck and if that comes at the cost of your unhappiness, then so be it. This isn’t rec soccer.
Somewhere along the line someone may have convinced you that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Well, when it comes to college soccer, the squeaky wheel gets replaced. Coaches get paid to coach and win, not to babysit. It doesn’t take a coach very long to decide that his team and his life would both be better off without a disgruntled player.
When you put your personal unhappiness ahead of the team, you’ll just end up cutting off your nose to spite your face. Your coach holds the ultimate trump card and there is not a thing in the world you can do about that. You need to find a better way to make your case.
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