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SoccerPoet

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High Pressure

High Pressure
These days, the question I’m most frequently asked is, “When will In My Tribe be available?”

Yeah. About that…

To be fair, the real question is ‘Why isn’t it out already?’ I mean it was supposed to be out in 2015. Well, the answer to that question is long and complex and it requires a deep dive into the circus that has been my personal life for the past two years. So to make an exceptionally long story bearably short: I had to put it down.

I wrote it once, didn’t like it, tore it up and started over. In case you’re wondering, that’s about six months of work down the drain.

I took another crack at it at the beginning of 2016. I hammered away at it pretty much every day from January to April. I got about 90% done with the second attempt, and I really liked it this time, but I just couldn’t make the final section work. I was banging my head against a wall. I went back to it day after day after day but it just wouldn’t work and I couldn’t furnish any type of suitable workaround and I was just stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck.

The stress of not finishing something that was already supposed to be done was driving me nutso, and that in turn made it even more difficult to figure out. The stress of not finishing something I was supposed to have already finished was compounded by the stress of not finishing anything at all. I’m a finisher. I need to produce. I need to see tangible evidence that I’m getting things done. It’s how I exist. It’s how I stay sane. You know those people who do something that wasn’t on their to-do list, then add it to their to-do list just so they can cross it off?  Yeah, that’s me. I cannot possibly express how much it gnaws at me to not produce. Twelve months had passed with nothing to show for it, and that just doesn’t sit well with my internal wiring.

So instead of stressing about a deadline I had already missed, I chose to punt. I decided to chalk it up as a loss, walk away and move onto other projects. I needed a project that I knew I could finish. Why? Because I needed to finish something. I needed to make some type of tangible contribution. So I set Tribe aside. I would come back to it when I had completed something (anything) else. And that leads us to a good news/bad news/good news proposition.

The bad news is… In My Tribe still isn’t finished. But that’s not really a surprise seeing as how I haven’t gotten back to it yet.

The good news is that another book is, in fact, finished. For the past six months I’ve been working dutifully on a book for coaches and players called ‘High Pressure – How to Win Soccer Games by Smothering Your Opponent.’  

I’m excited about it because there is a lot of confusion about high pressure defending. There are a zillion coaches who want their teams to play high pressure, but many of them aren’t always quite so sure about what that means. They tend to translate ‘high pressure’ into ‘run around like you stole something until we score.’ They only extract the urgency of which the term implies without much understanding of the nuance that makes high pressure a formidable system of team defense. Those coaches understand that high pressure requires a high work rate, but they don’t understand the tactical savvy that can maximize the output of that work. As a result, their teams feature only the madness but not the method behind it.

Now maybe you’re a coach who has the players who are wired to press. That’s an excellent start because high pressure won’t work without a team full of grinders – no matter how well you organize them. But if you have a team full of players with the stomach to press, imagine how much more effective they would be if everyone was operating off the same blueprint. That’s what I was aiming to do – provide an easy-to-follow blueprint for coaches and players so they knew not only what to do, but why they were doing it.

So this book is a handy dandy little guide to organizing a high pressure style of team defending. I’ve watched a lot of youth soccer over the past two decades, and I’m convinced the world needs this book.

High Pressure will be available as an ebook in a week or so. I’ll announce on Twitter when it’s officially launched. The paperback version will be released about three months later.

The potentially better news is now that I’ve actually finished something, I may be ready to take another shot at In My Tribe. I made the mistake of promising a release date once before, so I won’t be doing that again. All I can say is that my head is right again and I’m ready to embrace the challenge before me. Allegedly. At least I hope so.

I apologize it’s taken this long. I’m sorry I didn’t deliver on my promise. It won’t happen again.

Thanks for sticking with me.