Off the Ball

If you’ve ever played a team sport, you probably came to realize at a certain point that most playmaking occurs off, not on the ball. In any given sport you might be on the ball 10-25% of the time and off the ball the rest of the time, but it is important to remember that off the ball does not necessarily mean out of the play.

So it is with anything you might undertake in life. The bulk of your living, no matter who you are or what your station in life, will occur “off the ball.” How you carry yourself, position yourself, during the 75% will determine if you are a playmaker or a spectator in the game of life.

In soccer we talk about “playing to space,” which means moving into open space while on the offensive to open the field. To do so you must be aware of the ball and the action around it, but you can move into a vacuum and draw the play into it.

So how do you do this in life? In a myriad of ways! Rather than scrambling to get in the limelight when another person is, look to support, surround and complement to the best of your abilities so that his or her life is made easier or so that he or she can shine more brilliantly. Rather than getting drawn into the point around which everyone might be focusing – particularly when it is something broken or an obstacle of come kind – scan for a moment to see where the action might usefully be drawn…and move into that space!

Many blockages are more easily removed in the shadows of the 75% than in the intense light and heat of the 25%. They may not be as obvious, especially if you’re in the habit of ogling the ball, but when you develop the capacity to remain aware of the ball without fixating on it you’ll have much more time to look around and more importantly, to make yourself useful.

6 thoughts on “Off the Ball

  1. Pingback: A Great Player - Gregg Hake's Blog

  2. Joshua

    Assists are as, if not more important than the goal.
    Passing the ball to unexpecting players, can create quite a spectacle, especially when ….nobody saw that coming. ” if they see it, their defenses will be up, set it up in the background, while they’re all to busy staring at the ball.”


  3. Steve V

    I love the thoughts about moving into open space for something to increase of value. Makes me think that there is a lot more open space than we have realized. Each of us have unique assets and capabilities that more than likely have been sat on because of as it has been said comparing our weaknesses to another’s strengths taking us right out of the game. It is good to acknowledge our strengths and play full on in the realization that we are all on this field together for the purposes of increasing that dominion of reasonableness you were speaking on yesterday . We are here to play our integrated parts for such benefit as we do we know the treasures of wholeness and fulfillment.


  4. Chuck Reddick

    As a general rule teams cannot become great when they are centered around one ‘superstar’ who wants the ball (and the spotlight) all of the time. I often use sports as an analogy when discussing the development of great teams in business, and have noted over the years that the great teams, though they usually will have a very talented best player, have the culture of all playing together for the betterment of the team. So it is in business where regardless of ones position or title they honor the culture of working together for the betterment of their team.


  5. Isabelle

    That “75%” is also where, if you are looking, many opportunities are found. Instead of being so busy with what we personally think, feel and experience, it’s good time to observe, strategize, analyze and prepare so that we can see how we can help others and be at our best when we are needed.


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