“You could be a pro. If you ditch that idea you have of what you are and become something else.”

I was talking with a close friend of mine a few days ago who happens to be a paradigm-redefining football coach. We were talking about a player who came to him years ago for private coaching who wanted to be a professional player.

After a few sessions of fundamental work through which assessment could be made, my friend – who we will call Coach P – told the coachee the opening quotation.

The player wanted to play in a certain position. After over a decade at the top of the game, Coach P knew that the player wouldn't be able to make it to professional standard in the amount of time he had in that position due to a mixture of factors but he was certain that if he turned his attention to playing in a different position, that he could play to professional standard.

The player thought about it...

and declined Coach P's expert opinion. He wanted to play where he wanted to play and wouldn't be dissuaded.


I have written previously about being able to do almost whatever you want. I believe there are methods that can be used to learn skills that are believed to be unlearnable.

Let me give you something akin to the flip-side of that now which I also believe to hold truth.


Many of us limit ourselves by trying to follow a path based on the wrong idea for us like the player I talked about earlier. He didn't make it pro, by the way.


I don't often use words like “wrong” when it comes to personal choice. There's nothing inherently wrong with the player's choice to play in position X. I bear no moral judgement on it.

My usage of “wrong” is more like how you would use it if you were guiding somebody by map to a location and they decided to go in the opposite direction to the one you suggested. If that somebody had the intention to get to their destination as quickly as possible, then choosing the opposite direction is wrong.

Wrong has to take into account context.

This player had an image of themselves as a particular type of player. They chose to stay faithful to this idea of themselves at the cost of becoming a professional.

If this was knowingly done and this image was genuinely the most important thing to the player – more important than turning pro – then I applaud their decision to do exactly as they intended.

From what I've heard of their story, unfortunately I don't believe this to be the case.


I've done it. I've had ideas of how I wanted to be in sport and in life.

I've tried to force my square peg ass into round holes on numerous occasions down the years. And I could feel it. I could feel that I had the wrong idea. And I didn't want to be wrong.

As I grow up a little, I'm allowing myself to admit when I'm wrong more often. It saves a lot of energy and a lot of that precious commodity that is time.


Get clearer on what you want and you'll get a better idea on which way to go because life isn't often like that map scenario I talked about earlier. Knowing your direction relative to what you want isn't often laid out in black and white for your reference. I guess it's often less a case of right and wrong and more a case of more right and more wrong for us.

Not being a lot more of what you can be because of stubbornly sticking to the wrong idea is tragic to me. There's enough tragedy in this world that we can't avoid so do me a favour and learn to identify those wrong ideas for you.

You can be so much more when you realise it may just look different than you thought it would.


Arton “Righter by the day” Baleci
Float Sting – Sports Injury Rehab and Performance, Harley Street, London W1