Photo by Izuddin Helmi Adnan on Unsplash

Football is a fun game and easy to set up. All you need are two goals, some free space and a ball. Playing can be a great workout for your whole body, but it is so much more. In one hour of football you can learn more about people than in the average week. The game surfaces how one behaves as an individual, as part of a team and what their attitude is. Naturally it also reveals their skill at football and their talent.

Their skill and attitude sometimes remind me of the hiring principle "attitude over aptitude". Often you see players that are technically very skilled, but lack the attitude to work hard to get the ball, to fight for their team. Skill gives you many advantages when you have the ball and try to crack the opponent's defence. But when you loose the ball, do you run back with your team to defend? Or do you wait for them to do the work and pass the ball back to you?

At the same time there are players who are not very good, haven't played much yet, but fight very hard and once they loose the ball don't give up running until they have won it back or at least interrupted the attacker's game. I prefer to play with the second kind of player every time.

A good football team must have both, great individualists who are good at attacking, defending, scoring and the team that coordinates their game. The team supports the individual and the individual supports the team.

Further things you can learn are

  • Can a player take orders from others in the team, e.g. where to stand when defending?
  • Can a player give orders to others and share plans for the next attack?
  • What do they do with their talent and skill, do they waste it on trying to look good? Do they take it as an excuse to not run as much as others?
  • Is a player egoistical or do they look where others stand to provide them with opportunities that might have a higher chance of scoring than from their position.
  • How do players react in high stress situations, when things don't go their way? Do they shout at their team mates to critisize them? Or do they animate their team?
  • Do they blame the referee when things don't go their way?
  • Do they use their elbow when the referee is not looking?
  • Do they cheat and throw in the ball back in closer to the goal than it crossed the line?
  • Do they pretend they have been fouled when they haven't?
  • Do they foul on purpose to get an unfair advantage?
  • How do they react when they have been fouled?
  • Are they willing to play goaly? Do they offer themselves or have to be volunteered?
  • When they no longer want to play goaly do they tell their teammates?
  • When they are free to receive the ball do they signal their availability and make themselves heard?

Enjoy playing football and play it with the right attitude. If you ever want to learn something about a group of people play with them and you'll find out.