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The Four “D’s” of Success in Soccer and in Life!

 by  Coach Gianni Mininni

Very often, we have the ‘desire’ to achieve something, but we don’t have the ’determination’ to go to the end. To do this, we need ’dedication’ and this means, to give our time systematically. To do this takes one fundamental thing: ‘discipline‘!
I would like to call these 4 words, the 4 D’s of success and if you can put them together, make them work together, no target in the world will be excluded during your lifetime!
They are strictly connected and just taking out one of the four, the other three can’t work anymore. It is like an Ireland dolmen. If you take away one stone, all the others collapse on the ground. The ’magic equilibrium’ is gone!

As human beings, from the time we were kids, we like to have things. In particular the things that we don’t have! Every kid says: “I want this, I want that!” At the beginning they are simply objects. With the passing of time, they become expensive objects. But we can still have them. We just buy them, with our parents money or our, when we grow up and go to work. But in growing up, there are other things, that are not ‘objects’ that we can buy. We could have the desire to draw or paint, to play an instrument, to sing, to write or to play a sport, maybe soccer!
This is very easy, if our goal is just to cover the paper with lines, the canvas with a crust of colors, make noise with an instrument or with the voice, write some email or……………………………… kick the ball around in the back yard.
It will be very hard, if instead of the above, we would like to draw a portrait or paint like the great masters, play an instrument or sing in a way that will permit us to go on stage and make people listen to us and enjoy it, maybe even pay for a ticket, or play soccer at a high level, no matter what our age is.
At this point, the desire is a great starting point! It is the ’ancestral’ mechanism that makes us want things that at the moment we don’t have. But, it’s just that. An instinct. A starting point. Unfortunately, the things listed above, are things that we can’t just take from someone else or buy. We need to use the second “D “.

If we just ’want’ something and when is hard to have it, at the first obstacle, we prefer to have something else, we will never achieve anything in life. We have to want something a lot and work hard to have it! Determination is a great weapon. It takes courage, to try again and again and again, no matter how many times. We have the goal on the horizon and it seems that the more we walk toward it, the more it stays on the horizon and doesn’t come closer. It will be always like that. We get closer, we have a better and clearer vision, but we never reach the goal. It’s determination to get close that makes us better.
Never give up. Challenge yourself, in doing something that is hard, that others are not able to do. Try to juggle 100 consecutive times. Try to stop a quarter on top of your foot, 10 times consecutively. Juggle with the head for 1 minute without mistakes. Obviously to do this, you need time, and here is where the third “D” comes in.

To achieve something, anything, takes time. I was young too and like every young person, I wanted everything now! Possibly yesterday. We need to dedicate time to the exercises, because it is only through repetition that we build the new neuron connections in our brain, that make us act perfectly under pressure.
Our brain works, transmits information, makes deductions and associations of ideas, by electric and chemical neuron connections. When the brain realizes that we will repeat the same movement over and over, because it’s very smart, it builds a neuron SHORT CUT that enables it to reach that information faster and better, without making a long tour! Exactly like when we put a short cut on our desktop computer, to reach a page that we use often.
So, repetition, repetition and more repetition, to make movements become mechanically right under pressure. We will not act anymore. We will re-act! When some object is thrown in our face from close, we don’t think that the object can hurt our eyes. There is no time to think! Our brain reacts mechanically and our hand immediately raises and protects our eyes. We are reacting, not acting after thinking. The same has to happen when a soccer ball comes very fast to us. We have to react perfectly right and make the automatic right choice, by controlling it, passing or scoring!
Repetition, repetition and repetition takes time, but not only. It takes the fourth “D”.

Almost all people, in repeating endless exercises, get bored. Even with little variations or trying to make them a little more fun, it’s still boring. It takes patience but more than that, it takes……………………………… discipline!
Not the kind of discipline that makes us obey. That is good, but it’s not that. It’s an interior discipline that pushes us to continue, to not give up, and never take the eyes from the horizon, where the final target is. It comes a little closer but you never catch it. The concept of getting better, is an endless effort. This explains why the more we know, the more we understand that we don’t know!
Discipline, is the glue that sticks desire, determination and dedication together. Without this glue, they don’t even come close to each other.
A few lucky people, have the patience and the interior discipline, to repeat, repeat and repeat.
This explains why there is a limited number of successful dancers, musicians, writers, painters, singers and……………………………… soccer players!
Anyone can draw, paint, dance, play, sing or kick the ball around. Doing all of this is good, correct and very fun even without succeeding. To be someone who succeeds, one needs to use the four “D‘s”.
It’s up to us to be ’someone’ and not only ’anyone’ and it takes, desire, determination, dedication and discipline. The four “D’s”.
Coach Gianni can be reached at:

Gianni Mininni

Coach Gianni Mininni is the author of "The Team", a Soccer Novel. The novel is for people of all ages, even if they are not strictly soccer lovers. Players and coaches will find dozens of situations and suggestions that will permit them to improve their soccer knowledge and consequently, perform better at any age. Learn more about Coach Gianni Mininni at The Coach Gianni Soccer Academy.