Soccer Lessons for Writers

Years of being a soccer mom have enriched my life. Here’s some of what I’ve learned. To be a good soccer player you must practice, practice, practice. Same thing applies to being a good writer. But a good soccer player does more than just kick a ball into a net. That soccer player must also be agile, flexible, possess stamina, be willing to learn and develop team skills. These requirements also apply to a good writer. Let me explain.

Agility. You’re nimble and able to change direction as needed whether on a soccer field or shifting words around on a page. This skill involves quick thinking and shows that you have good control of the ball or the words.

Flexibility. In soccer, good players can switch positions when needed. They can play defense, even if they’ve trained as forward strikers. In writing, when you have a solid grasp of your material, you can re-shape it depending on your potential market. You’re versatile.

Stamina. This involves discipline. An athlete builds endurance through training. Athletes can’t perform if they haven’t practiced. As writers we train by putting in regular sessions at the keyboard or the notebook. We know that even writing that doesn’t get published is never wasted because it strengthens our writing muscles.

Coaching: A soccer player needs an outside assessment. Sometimes criticism hurts, but a good player uses that criticism to improve. As writers we need to step away from our game—our writing—and get another’s point of view.  A coach is like an editor. He or she knows our strengths, but also our weaknesses. We must work with our editors because like a good coach, they’re on our side.

Team skills. Soccer players need to communicate. While only one person can score that needed goal, it can take several passes to get there. Writers need to know where to pass their manuscript. They need be aware of what’s happening in the writing field where they play. Incomplete passes don’t mean the game is lost. When you regain possession of the ball or of your project, you find someone else to pass it to.

Goals. In soccer the goal is to shoot the ball into the net. For the writer, that ball is a manuscript and the net is a reader. Soccer, like writing, is a beautiful game, so enjoy the process. Of course you want to win, but when you don’t—just remember to still have fun.

Here’s some wisdom from Pele (one of the greatest soccer players of all time):
                                              Success is no accident.
                                 It is hard work, perseverance, learning,
                                     studying, sacrifice and most of all,

                               love of what you are doing or learning to do.

Peggy_Marco / Pixabay

Peggy_Marco / Pixabay


Gabe writes the books she wished she could have read while growing up as an awkward immigrant in Winnipeg. Her Katya stories are set in pre-war Soviet Union and East Prussia.
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