26 maja 2020


Present times in football
They can be compared to an unplanned, compulsory pit-stop in Formula 1. The obligatory break we have been dealing with generates a lot of negative emotions but it should also activate a high register of reflection from the engineers as well the drivers themselves, that is from the management as well as the executors.
Formula 1 would not be a number one sport if its teams did not carry out the strategy of systemic solutions including in the area of the SAFETY of the people driving these incredibly fast and dangerous vehicles. Or are they still so dangerous? Taking into consideration the power of these cars and the number of fatal accidents, they turn out to be much safer than they used to be in the past. One of the reasons for systemic work on improving driver safety in Formula 1 were such PAINFUL events as those fatal crashes.
COVID-19 has brought about such crashes and painful times in Polish football and will probably continue doing so. This is why I recommend asking hard and bold questions in one’s internal dialogue concerning the present as well as the future and urge you to come up with solid answers and concrete actions.
Dear Engineers of Polish Football…
What else must happen before a pension plan is introduced in the Ekstraklasa? A pension plan making a part of the players’ salaries available to them only after the end of their playing careers. Let’s take an example from the proven systemic solutions available in the Belgian, Dutch or German league. Polish footballers are criticized for their wages and the amounts of money they spend but are they systematically protected (in the way the players in the above mentioned leagues are) or even educated in these areas? So far, unfortunately NO!
Dear decision-makers in the clubs, the Ekstraklasa, Polish football… we’re in the middle of a pit-stop. Use this moment to uncover the weaknesses in Polish football in the form of substantial leaks in the education of the football community and to seal them through such systemic solutions.
A side note… How many doctors or lawyers regularly put aside 30-40% of their salaries for retirement? I would imagine not many. Why? One of the reasons might be how long thay can perform these jobs compared to an active footballer. Clearly, there might be cases of conditions and illnesses among these professions which make it impossible for them to continue performing their duties – that’s when proper insurance comes into play.
What else must happen before we regularly and systematically offer financial awareness courses to footballers? A lot of advisors or “vultures” have been and will be hovering above footballers’ heads. Let’s educate our players more often and more efficiently.
That’s about it for the engineers of football for the moment, now I would like to say a few words to the final executors.
Dear Footballers…
…if the above-mentioned or similar systemic solutions are introduced, which I wish you with all my heart, you should treat them as a BONUS and base your careers on the development of your own awareness, knowledge and the ability to make optimal choices – comprehensively – completely as opposed to selectively and limited only to football.
The series of questions to follow is meant to encourage you to use this trying period more effectively and make this a turning point in your careers.
What else must happen (except COVID-19 and putting sport on hold) for you – a footballer – to take care of your habits regarding the balance between private and professional life, between consumption and investing in yourself or to turn to appropriate books and good specialists in a conscious and planned way.
What else must happen for you, a footballer, to show more initiative despite the fact that since the earliest days coaches, parents, coaching staff, managers and sporting directors have often thought on your behalf on a number of crucial aspects of your life?
This is the best time imaginable to take advantage of a compulsory pit stop. This is the best time to reevaluate or correct your past and present priorities.
Systemic thinking should be based on proven, specific questions.
How much will it cost me if I don’t change?
What’s the price I will pay for lack of change?
What will I lose from my career if I don’t change and correct?
What costs am I already paying – emotionally, physically, mentally and financially?
If I change, how will I feel?
What will I think about myself if the ongoing lockdown does not energize me into action?
What strength will I achieve if I change this aspect of my life?
What else can I achieve if I really change today?
How will my family and friends feel?
How much happier will I become?
Despite the period of stagnation in sport, I have conducted tens of conversations online with footballers and coaches and know that the majority have had enough. Alongside you, I am happy with the defrosting of Polish football, but I will rejoice even more when after leaving the pit-stop you will elect better tracks than before, Dear ENGINEERS and EXECUTORS.
Thinking is the foundation and Systemic Thinking is Our Duty and Our Chance.
With a sporting salutation,
Paweł Frelik, Mental Coach