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World Cup Soccer
Most of the time players kick the soccer ball to another player. 99% of the time players kick the ball directly to a stationary player or where they think a mobile player is going.

My son, age 5, started playing soccer last fall. During drills Michael and the other kids practice passing the ball to each other. When they line-up to take shots on goal almost every ball is kicked directly to the stationary goalie.

I have been watching bits of the Soccer World Cup. Have you? The passing is crisp and amazingly accurate. Shots on goal are rare and usually stopped by the keeper who seems to be in the path of the ball before it is kicked. Imagine the decades of brain hard wiring of passing the ball to other players and then in a moment of sympathetic nervous system euphoria running full speed to kick the ball into the goal. In that rare occasion the player needs to kick the ball not to the goal, but as I tell my son, instead of kicking to the goalie kick past the goalie.

At the level of World Cup Soccer play the players have the physical skill to place the ball virtually anywhere. I wonder do they have the mental skill to kick to empty space instead of to a person.

Here’s the Metaphor
In work and school do you kick for empty space – the niche that is unoccupied – that will bring you success, reward, and recognition, or do you kick to the keeper that will halt your ambition?

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.