Updated: Apr 19, 2022
In a recent interview, I asked Anson Dorrance, head coach UNC Women's Soccer, for one piece of advice for middle and high school age players. He’s won more NCAA titles and has more players on Olympic and World Cup rosters than any other program. Here is what he said...straight from the heart.
Coach Mike: Middle school and high school players are listening to this interview. What one piece of advice do you have for them?
Coach Dorrance: I think this is where your coach and your parents and your teachers can have a huge impact on you… and if they will be honest with you if you won't be so fragile that they're afraid to tell you the truth. Because the fastest way to get to your potential is for people to not blow smoke and tell you how great you are. The best thing is to find people around you that will be critical.
There's a jersey over there [points to Wall of Fame in his office] that was worn by Michelle Akers and I love what she wrote to me in the upper corner [To Anson, Thanks for setting the standard for greatness. Michelle Akers]. That will be a part of me in a very positive way forever because this is the greatest player of all time in my opinion. I think what was interesting about Michelle Akers is when I would have a conference with her, she would get upset with me because I wasn't critical enough of her.
And I'm thinking, Michelle you're pretty good I mean this is about the extent of what I'm going to critique you with right now. She wouldn't embrace the fact that I didn't have more criticism of her. This is the best player in the world and in the opinion of many of us the best player of all time, in the world.
So, if you will have the strength to embrace criticism, not take it personally, not melt in the face of the criticism and look at it for what it is… here's someone that's interested in my growth my mother, my father, my teacher, my coach and basically, when they criticize you, you nod and say to the teacher the parent or the coach, yes, I can do better, yes, I can do that and then get to work. Your acceleration is going to be a heck of a lot faster.
If your narrative, however, is you protect yourself with I can't believe it… that's not who I am, I’m better than that, or I can't believe I'm criticized so much. And oh my gosh don't let me melt like a snowball out here in the sun because I'm so fragile over that criticism. If you can bear up with the criticism of people that want you to be better and then fight...fight through whatever adversity is holding you back you're going to get to the promised land a heck of a lot faster.
We want you to fight through cutting getting cut, sitting on the bench, getting criticized. Make your own path successful by joining our next round of 10-Week High-Performance soccer training courses today. Training starts August 30. Click HERE to enroll and learn more.
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