Todd Beane’s First Article On SoccerToday
It is with great pride and pleasure that we welcome Todd Beane as our newest columnist. I know our readers will benefit greatly from his expertise.
As of today, I am a columnist. I have no idea how to be one. So, before we start to debate the methods and merits of talent development, let me be clear about my limitations.
I am older than most of you reading this article. What does that mean? No idea, but I know what it does not mean.
Age does not mean I have expertise; it merely means I have experience.
It does not mean that I am competent, only that I am curious. I am certainly not as much a leader as a learner. In the end, I have far less wisdom than wonder.
To be honest, I have an agenda. I want to rethink and redesign talent development to the benefit of young athletes. I do not believe we are our best YET as coaches and I want to probe and to push until we are.
If you are willing to question powerful and pervasive assumptions imbedded in our current environment, please read on. If you are fragile or feverishly adamant that our professional is perfect, I will most certainly offend you. In my naivete, I believe that I can disagree with you and still respect you. Messages and messengers.
This series of articles will explore anything from the status quo to turning pro. Dancing on the fracture lines of coaching can be marvelously intriguing. Let’s begin.
Soccer Coaching Myth #1: An Opponent is an Enemy
Beyond the world of twitter tirades and trolling, there is a world of mutual respect.
I choose that world.
Johan Cruyff and Frans Beckenbauer, that was a friendship forged through competition. Pep and Klopp. Messi and Ronaldo. While we may want to paint our foes as villains, more often than not they are mere mortals who share our passion for the beautiful game.
To the point. While we love bitter rivalries; they need not end in bitterness. An opposing idea is not the opposition but an inspiration.
And so, you have a choice to make as a mentor.
Do you want to perpetuate the myth that an opponent is an enemy?
If so, attack any messenger that moves you. However, know that a potentially meaningful message has escaped.
Do you want to break free from a debilitating myth?
If so, wrestle with the message until you embrace it or reject it. And as you do, regard messengers that challenge your thinking.
This process is easy when you nod your head in agreement with what you are reading. Then, the world makes sense, and your prowess as a coach is reinforced through ego inflation. This process is not so easy when all that you do, all that you have done, and all that you believe is questioned.
In the end, I believe a writer is merely wrestling with himself. In my case, I write to wrestle with my younger self. I was a coach who perpetuated myth upon myth out of convenience. I constructed successful seasons so I followed the party line.
But now, as I mentioned, I am more about wonder than wisdom. I wonder how much more we can accomplish with our youth. I wonder if we break a few myths will we will break the system or improve it.
So, as of today, I am going to wrestle with being a columnist and wrestle with being a coach. Let me be clear about limitations as both.
Todd Beane is the founder of TOVO Institute and TOVO Academy Barcelona, Todd Beane is committed to rethinking and redesigning talent development. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford University, he has led professional development projects at FC Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam, Chivas Guadalajara, and LAFC. Having worked with Johan Cruyff on projects worldwide, Beane is uniquely positioned to share his insights as an American citizen living in Barcelona.