Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

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Perfection is impossible

Tennis is a mental game and there are parallels between it and taking risks in football. Roger Federer says ‘perfection is impossible’ and that thinking ‘frees you to fully commit to the next point with intensity, clarity, and focus.’

Roger Federer delivering the Commencement address at Dartmouth on June 9, 2024:

Perfection is impossible. In the 1,526 singles matches I played in my career, I won almost 80% of those matches. Now I have a question for you: What percentage of points do you think I won in those matches? Only 54%.

In other words, even top ranked tennis players win barely more than half of the points they play. When you lose ever second point on average, you learn not to dwell on every shot.

You teach yourself to think: ‘Okay, I double faulted,it’s only a point. Okay, I came to the net and I got passed again; it’s only a point.’ Even a great shot, an overhead backhand smash that ends up on ESPN’s top 10 playlist, that too is just a point.

And here’s why I’m telling you this: When you’re playing a point, it has to be the most important thing in the world and it is. But when it’s behind you, it’s behind you. This mindset is crucial because it frees you to fully commit to the next point and the next point after that with intensity, clarity, and focus.

You want to become a master at overcoming hard moments. That is to me the sign of a champion. The best in the world are not the best because they win every point. It’s because they lose again and again and have learnt how to deal with it. You accept it, cry it out if you need to and force a smile.

Fully commit to the challenge, dribble, pass, or shot with clarity. Ignore all the fails and trust your ability.

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