Posts Tagged ‘hockey ball’

How to be ready for opportunities that come your way (…and schoolgirl hockey)

February 4, 2013

marr hockey 1

One of the highlights of my Saturday mornings is watching my daughter play hockey in her school team against other local schools.

I was always hopeless at sport as a youngster, so I’m all admiration at the dedication of her and her team-mates in regularly attending practices and turning up week in, week out to play their matches in all weathers. They’re a strong team, and have only lost once so far this season.

Last week, it occurred to me that there were some similarities between what was going on the field … and taking on opportunities elsewhere in life.


1) A mindset to create and capitalise on opportunities

The start of each and every game sees every girl joining in their team chant of “M-A- double R: … We’re the best, we know we are, we’re MARR!!!”, followed by a high pitched shriek to drive terror into the very hearts of their opponents.

The point is this: from the very outset, and even in the grimmest of weather conditions (and believe me, in the West of Scotland these can be very grim indeed) each member of the team is determined not only to make the most of every opportunity that comes their way …. but to CREATE opportunities to win.

Do YOU sit waiting for things to come your way? Or are you actively looking for opportunities, and doing your utmost to create them?


2) Keep your eye on the ball. Be ready.

Let’s continue to imagine that ‘opportunity’ is represented by the hockey ball in play. Say a player out on the wing hits it to someone in the centre. What’s going to happen if the person at centre is ambling along looking the other way, hockey stick over her shoulder, not focused on the game?

She’s going to miss the ball.

Making the most of an opportunity and turning it into success requires focus, quick thinking, and, fundamentally, being in a state of readiness to accept the opportunity and make the most of it when it arrives.

Otherwise it will pass you by, and someone else will get it.


3) Run to meet the ball

Watch any game of hockey and it soon becomes clear that the players aren’t hitting the ball directly TO one another, but AHEAD of one another. Most of the time, the receiving player has to run to intercept the ball before taking it on up the field.

If you’re waiting for the ideal opportunity to land at your feet, it probably won’t. You need to run to meet it, stick down, focused, and ready to forge forward towards the goal.


4) Do your own thing with it

Within my daughter’s team, different players inevitably have different specific skills.

Stella, for example, will never lose a ball when in a close stick-to-stick grapple with her opponent. It’s a tactic at which she excels and she uses it well. Corrie can always be relied upon to wallop the ball up the field. Kirsty is very quick on her feet and will dribble the ball up the wing before hitting it back into the circle.

When opportunity comes your way, play to your strengths and do your own thing with it …. which may mean doing something with it that other people might not do, or that they wouldn’t expect.

It’s YOUR opportunity: do YOUR thing.


5) DO NOT be afraid of the opportunity

These days, the hockey team functions very well together. When they first started playing, though, no one seemed to actually WANT to hit the ball. Everyone made a play of running up to the ball, but shied away at the last moment.

It was even more of a faff when they’d managed to get the ball up to the goal: no one seemed brave enough to take a shot – they were all intent on passing the ball to someone else a few inches away, hoping that THEY would take the shot.

Plenty of people shy away from genuine opportunities because, deep down, they’re scared of them. Are YOU actually AFRAID of opportunity? Afraid of what you might do with it? Afraid that you might mess it up when it actually arrives?


Now it’s a different story: the girls work well as a team and make the most of every opportunity they get. Which is why they usually win.


Get brave. Don’t shy away from opportunities. Grab them. Stick down, focused, and moving strongly toward your goal.


(As an aside, if you’re interested in learning more about team management and team dynamics, Yara’s team management programmes don’t involve sitting in a room theorising about management guff – you get out and learn about them … and your own team …. in real life.  We won’t force you out on the hockey field, though.  Well, maybe……