Which reminds me of a story that was told to me about David Beckham, one of England’s finest modern footballers. He holds the record number of caps for an England outfield player with the England team with 115 appearances. He captained England for six years and fifty-nine games, and scored goals in three World Cups.
As a club player he won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Champions league once with Manchester United. He also won La Liga with Real Madrid, the Major League soccer Cup twice with LA Galaxy and made contributions to A.C.Milan during two loan spells.
Beckhams’s forte was as a free kick taker and crosser. For a time he was arguably the finest dead ball specialist in the world . Perhaps his most famous strike was two and a half minutes into stoppage time in England’scrucioa game against Greece in 2001, a match his team had to at least draw to guarantee qualification for the 2002 World Cup. They were trailing 2-1 at the time.
A foul had been committed ten yards out side Greece box. Beckham placed the ball down on the turf and then stepped back to size up the challenge. He took his run –up, and, with an effortlessness that remains mesmerising more than ten years later, bent the ball around a four – man wall and in to the top corner of the goal more than thirty yards away. It was virtually the last kick of the game.
It is intriguing, then to rewind to Beckham’s youth to see how he built up his mastery. As a six year old he would spend afternoons practising keep-me-ups in the back garden in East London. This is the way that most youngsters develop ball control its one of the most popular training techniques in the game.
At first David was pretty average He could do 5 or 6 before the ball hit the ground but he stuck with it. He spent hour’s afternoon after afternoon, slipping up again and again, but with each mistake learning how to finesse the ball sustain his concentration, and get his body back to position to keep the sequence going.
Slowly, Beckham improved. After 6 months he got up to 50 keep- me- ups. Six months later he was up to 200. By the time he got to the age of nine, he had reached a new record: 2,003. In total the sequence took around fifteen minute’s and his legs ached at the end of it.
For an out sider looking in this sequence would have seemed miraculous. But to his mum who had watched for three years through the kitchen window, it looked very different. She had seen the countless failures that had driven progress. She had witnessed all the frustrations and disappointments. And she had seen how a young David had learned from every one.
Only after getting to 2003 did Beckham move on to free kicks.
He spent afternoon after afternoon with his father aiming at the wire mesh over the window of a shed in the park. Over time the ball the ball was taken farther and farther back, encouraging Beckham to deliver with greater power and velocity. Just like his keep –me –ups, he improved with every attempt. He must have taken more than 50,000 free kicks at that park.
It’s striking how often successful people have a counter- intuitive perspective on failure. They strive to succeeded, like everyone else, but they are intimately aware of how indispensable failure is to the overall process And they embrace, rather than shy away from this part of the journey.
If you wish to embrace this journey then give me a call