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Lessons from Football Field.

NEW DELHI, June. 21 -- The world cup football was kicked off on June 10 in South Africa. People all over are spending hours before the TV sets with great enthusiasm. Apart from the entertainment the matches provide, a close look at the performance of each team in the field would be very enriching and educative. It will provide more spiritual insights than entertainment. The game would provide many useful insights which could be applied to various aspects of our life and mission. There are plenty of practical tips in each of these matches for the renewal of our religious communities and their mission.

A team game with big role for individual

Though there is scope for every player to prove his talent and make a name for himself, the game basically is a team event. All the members have to collaborate and support each other. The strikers who score goals get the support from the midfielders and defenders. The companions in the forward line support each other by passing the ball and making it convenient for others to strike. The defenders have a tough job not to allow opposition strikers reach anywhere close to the goal. Perhaps no other game demands total and selfless involvement of all the team members to win the game. Every member of the team has to maintain the speed, stamina and collective strategy of the team to score goals. Individuals achieve glory with the help of their team mates.

When someone shows selfish and individualistic traits, the coach calls him back to the bench. He is substituted by another player. The team can win the title only when all the members play in collaboration with everyone in the team, keeping the goal before them. A momentary distraction from the part of even one player can cost the team very dearly.

Do we see this kind of teamwork in our organizations and communities? Usually 80 per cent of the work in the organizations is done by 20 percent people and 20 per cent of the work is done by 80 per cent people. If all hundred per cent people give their hundred per cent of resources for the community, miracles could happen. Are we ready to learn some lessons from a football match?

Speed, stamina and skill

Football is perhaps the only game which needs much stamina and speed from every player. Players are expected to run all over the large field with maximum speed both to attack and defend. Each player has to maintain the speed and stamina throughout the 90 minute game and another 30 minutes of extra time if required. If any player shows signs of fatigue, he is taken out without any delay. Even captains and star players are not exempted from this rule.

Together with speed and stamina, every team member has to perfect the skills of passing the ball to the right person at the right time, skill of striking with focus at the goal and playing the game with rules. When these qualities are absent the great teams could be defeated by insignificant teams.

Usually in the communities and organizations, the status and position of people count more than merit. Hence, exceptions for the rules are made to suit the convenience of the privileged group. Ultimately, the organization suffered substantially due to the imbalance of the speed and stamina among the team members. Certain areas become weak and vulnerable. Here the opponent strikers take advantage to score the goal. The tired strikers are not able to reach to take the passes supplied by their teammates.

Strategy and focus on the goal

Before the team is sent onto the field, the team members together with the coach plan their strategy for the game. Some of the ordinary strategies are the following: How many strikers shall be in the front; who will take the free kicks, penalty shots and corner kicks? How to mark and check the best players of the opponent.

As we make the strategies for different situations it is important for every player not to miss the focus even for a second. Every player should be conscious of scoring goals and keep this focus of the game before him. It happens very often that a good team dominates the game throughout the match and yet fails to score any goal. Their 'good game' was of no use. On the other hand, a team which did not dominate the game may win because they were conscious of the focus and hitting the target to win the game.

Often big organizations and communities fail in their mission despite having enough resources. The major reason for such failure is lack of strategy and focus to hit the target. Hence it is not enough to have good individual players with speed and stamina. They should be accompanied by focus to hit the target. When the players are not trained well many of them hit the ball far and wide. Striking the ball is not enough. It should hit the target, i.e. into the goal.

Many members of the community/team work very hard with sincerity. Yet, if they are not aware of the strategy of the group to work as a unit, they may not be able to produce any result.

Uncompromising discipline

In the midst of speed and intense desire to score a goal, players could become aggressive and passionate. Every player is trained to keep the rules and discipline of the game. The referee is given a free hand to ensure discipline and order in the field. Free kicks, yellow and red cards are his tools to keep law and order even in a fiercely fought match. The referee is the ultimate authority in the game. His decisions are final and unquestionable when the game is in progress. He has the power to send any player out of the field for indiscipline and misbehavior in the course of a game. The referee has the power to take action even against the coach. In the Euro 2008, German coach was sent to the stands for two games by the referee.

Indiscipline is the major reason for the deteriorating quality of life and work in organizations. There is no will to use the laws to ensure discipline and order in the groups. Institutions and groups lack impartial and just leaders to ensure implementation of their laws by all members. Members are losing respect and fear of people in authority. Those in authority, on the other hand, make compromises and only disgrace and discredit themselves.

Support of the fans

Fan support from the gallery and outside the stadium play a vital role in the success of the team. The support of the fans recharges the energy of each player and the team as a whole. Fan support increases the confidence of each player. Singing, beating of drums, screaming, shouting and clapping help the players to keep up their stamina and speed.

Good will of the public is the fan support of the organization. Hence, creating good public opinion and developing public relations are equally important as any other work in the organization. Often the organizations neglect to develop public relations and good will of the people. As a consequence, the organization suffers from misunderstanding and negative publicity. Even the neighbors do not take the risk of supporting institutions when they are in crisis.

Role of the coach

The role of the coach is very important for the success of the team. Even if a team has many talented players if it does not have a strong coach the team may fail. The role of a coach is to identify the strength and weakness of each player and make use of them for the success of the team. The coach not only gives physical and technical training, he has to deal with emotional and mental aspects. He fills the team with positive self image and confidence to win the game. He provides the strategy to the team regarding the attack and defense. While the team is fighting the battle in the field the coach is alert and attentive of each player. He judges the speed and stamina of each player and decides the substitution of the players. He takes crucial decisions while the game is in progress. He motivates the players on and off the field. An experienced and skillful coach is very expensive, yet much needed for the success of the team.

Regular training

Regular training as a team is very essential to develop the speed, stamina and skill of the players. It is during these training sessions that the unity of the team members is developed. They are given special training to overcome physical, psychological and emotional stress and anxieties. It is during these training sessions the members of the team develop relationship and learn to play as a family.

Many organizations and communities have talented members. Yet, many of their talents and resources are under utilized. There are no regular training programs for the members. Neither is there any system to identify the talents of young members and place them in an atmosphere where they blossom into fullness. The leaders of these institutions do not have the capacity to motivate and train the members nor do they allow them to explore ways of developing their human resources. Merely with the routine seminars, retreats and pious activities the capacity building of the members will not be realized. Professional training and exposure are important to develop the human resources of the members.

Fitness of players

A football match raises the passion of the players and fans. It is a battleground to establish the supremacy. The speed and stamina take away much of our energy. In the emotionally charged situation there is all possibility of players losing their cool and reacting. Many talented players have lost control over their emotions during the game and have had to pay the price by accepting punishment from the referee. Hence, team members are given special sessions regarding stress management.

However players lack spiritual orientation. Though they are controlled by the strict rules and regulations on the field and are focused to hit the target, off the field many fail in their personal life. Though their competence in the game is developed, their character is not. Many of these players earn plenty of money and become rich. News about players getting into sex scandals, drugs and even committing suicide due to depression are examples of developing competence without character. They do not develop sensitivity for the marginalized. They fail to use their speed and stamina to support social causes and defend human rights.

In the ordinary routine communities and institutions very little attention is paid to the holistic fitness of the members. Many of them suffer from psychological and emotional immaturity. Through their impulsive reactions they bring a bad name to the organization.

Make time to watch the matches which will be very useful for spiritual renewal. Analyze the performance in the light of these reflections.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Indian Currents. For more information on news feed please contact Sarabjit Jagirdar at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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Publication:Indian Currents
Date:Jun 21, 2010
Words:1874
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