domingo, 22 de abril de 2012

Is Messi done...???

The main difference within the species is the amazing ability mankind has to learn and to transform itself. Unfortunately, sometimes different elements seems to be more powerful than our will toward betterness. Today, a soccer game taught us that plateau is a place really easy to reach, even by one of the most talented, well organized and mentally strong organizations as it is the Barcelona FC.
After years of dominance within the elite of soccer, particularly during the last three years, with  players like the winner of the world MVP award, for the last three years, argentina's Lionel Messi and the latest runner up, Xavi Hernandez, came to lost two very important games in one week.
It is right that in soccer like in any other sport, anyone can win or lose, but the way how this team is losing shows clear signs of burnout, fatigue and mental distress. Without missing to applaud the great performance of its rivals.
During the game versus Chelsea, last Wednesday, for the away leg of the Champions league semi-final, Barcelona dominated and controlled the ball, but could not score, looks erratic on its passing and main star made a huge mistake, allowing the rival to generate an effective, lethal counter attack to score the only and winning goal in a really tight game. Such mistake, which could happen to anyone, was preceded by an accidental slip of Messi in a wet, slippery pitch. His teammates did not read the game to know that Messi was more concerned with its health than with playing. Worried with a potential injury, in the home stretch of the season. So when Messi received an unexpected pass, he did not fight for ball possession, taking more care of avoiding an injury rather than actually being in the game.
From that mistake on, it was easier for Chelsea to control the score as Barcelona felt first hand how vulnerable they were that night and lost even more faith on their pace and scoring power.

On the other game that I mentioned, today, facing its nemesis (Real Madrid) Barcelona seemed ready to win from the beginning of the game but lacked clarity on its passing, lack of deep penetration and its wings were away from their usual level. Coach Guardiola decided to play with a midfield crowded with players in order to gain such vital area of the pitch. An early goal from Real Madrid placed Barcelona in the same spot as they got in England three days before, allowing Real to run a strategy to wait, defend and counterattack. Barcelona scored a very fought goal just to see how two minutes later, a speedy and well handled play ended on another goal for Real.
Even though Chelsea and Real Madrid had invested enormous amount of money to win their different competitions, they were in those games, mentally stronger than Barcelona. There will be more opportunities for the latter to step up and continue demonstrating their enormous power which has allowed them to win most of the European soccer clubs tournaments.  

Now, how this episode from world class soccer could be applied to our battles and how can we learn something about plateauing?.
Either working out, studying, working or raising kids every here and there, people in different cultures around the world might feel slowing down, desiring to quit, like choking feelings or simply slumping. The first thing to come to realize is that such feelings are normal; that it might occur to anyone and that such occurrences are absolutely manageable, given you count with proper will, knowledge, patience, wisdom  and practice.

Some suggestions to conquer fear, apathy, doubt  and in general improve health, fitness and mental conditions are among others:

Visualizing success: There are numerous studies showing that if you visualize a goal - and then you reinforce it by repeating that goal to yourself over and over- you will probably achieve whatever it is you set out to accomplish. This is a technique fairly simple to use yet very powerful and useful when properly utilized.

Having an structure: If winging it does not keep you on track, make a schedule of your workouts or your tasks to achieve, list on a personal agenda your priorities and keep it close to you. Do this on a regular basis, so you can be accountable and get motivated as you see how you conquer some small steps toward success. At Mental Training Inc. owner and founder Dr. Bob Neff has developed a M-Chart which has been used by pro and Olympic athletes as well as by business people, with very positive feedback about its value.

Address the stress: If you are stuck in the same old eating and exercise habits, get out of that rut by clearing away the stress in your life. Increase your sleep; seek out light-hearted people and fun activities; reduce your intake of caffeine, sugar and alcohol; and get more sun and fresh air. Meditation has been clearly identified as a key factor on developing a balanced lifestyle.

Fight your demons: Fear is a key reason for people to slow down or quit fitness activities, creative thinking and more. The emotion wheel® as described on our very own MTI`s website shows that when the game is very closed or the deadline is looming the pressure goes up, generating anxiety and lack of concentration while performing, tending to errors or injuries. Following this stage the player got worried and angered thinking of similar circumstances from the past, furthering the desire to move out to more comfortable zones. The key to break this cycle is recognize your thoughts and stay in the present. There are several techniques to do this. Be proactive and do your part to fight back fear and conquer success.

Take it easy: Rather than criticizing and hitting yourself for hitting plateau or losing a crucial game, be just good to yourself. Take a short walk or run to take air into your lungs which in turn will bring more oxygen to your brain and your cortex will offer you more insights as to how to tackle the next task at hand. Remember, unless you are dead, there is always a new opportunity to shine, believe in you and take it, seize the moment.
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle.
The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.     

By the way, my answer to the tittle question is that we are going to have Messi for quite a long time (as well as Ronaldo, Drogba, Robben, Ribery).                                     Long live to Soccer.

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