That’s right, playing Angry Birds Space (ABS) on my phone, has made me a better coach---not because of the improved digital dexterity, but for some other reasons that you just might find surprising. Some lessons were simply reminders; others provided a new perspective of how a video game can translate to other areas of life like coaching. Here’s what I mean:
1. There is a way to defeat your opponent. I hate the question, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t win?” My answer is “Then I wouldn’t try because a pre-determined outcome would make it all rather pointless. Duh!” However, in the case of playing ABS, I adopted the mindset that there definitely is a way to win. In fact, there is often more than one way to defeat the much-despised green pigs and move on to the next level. Approaching the challenge with that fact established in my mind gave me the confidence to persist even after struggling and failing multiple times on a particular level. It was not a question of whether or not I’d succeed. Instead it was simply a matter of when and how it would happen, if I persisted. No opponent is unbeatable particularly if the coach and team approach the competition with this attitude.
2. Every team member can contribute, if I learn their strengths first. In ABS, my team members are colorful little birds. In my ignorance, I thought that each bird served the same function when I first started playing. Over time, I discovered that each bird color has different gifts that make them unique and uniquely able to contribute to the goal of defeating the piggies. The light blue ones split into three when the screen is tapped, the big green one isn’t very agile but can plow through almost anything, the red/black ones explode, etc. When I was trying to use them all in essentially the same way, I wasn’t getting very favorable results. Once I learned and then utilized the strengths of my team members, it became exponentially easier to win. Hmmm...you think that might apply to our human team members, too? You bet it does! As coaches, we need to make the effort and take the time to get to know our athletes’ strengths. Then it is incumbent upon us to find ways to use those strengths to help the team---in practice, during team-building, and in competition. Every team member definitely has something good to offer to the team. The process of learning those strengths can be time-consuming, but it is worth it!
Get the rest of this article in the March Issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete magazine. Our March issue also includes the following articles and more:
- Passing and Finishing Development Game
- The Power of Improvisation by Ian McClurg, Founder of 1 v 1 Soccer and UEFA “A” licensed coach
- Silence as a Teaching Tool by Coach Reed
- Alternative Match Warm Up from Ritchie Semple, Director of Football for LGC Event