There's something special about being part of a harmonious team.
Once a year, I meet up with some of my oldest, dearest friends and some newer ones and we enter two teams into a small national 5-a-side tournament.
Yesterday, our Teesside teams won for the third year consecutively. Even if we hadn't won, it would have been my best football of the year so far, playing with guys who I trust and that know the game.
When football is played well, it is a very simple game. Use the space on the pitch maximally when attacking and minimally when defending, make a nuisance of yourself when the opposition have the ball and let the ball do the work as it can run easier and faster than any player.
When these things aren't done, this simple game becomes very difficult. Even just one individual doing to little or too much of any of the above can throw the entire effectiveness of a team.
I remember a clichéd acronym a school teacher of ours used to use for T.E.A.M. - together everyone achieves more. It's a shame that the meaning of that is lost underneath our corny feelings towards the phrase as embracing it would change more than just our football.
At last years tournament, I reinjured the knee that stopped my football project a few years ago. Over the past year, with my knowledge and the knowledge of a few other exceptional practitioners, I have been unable to rehabilitate myself well. To say that I have been frustrated at times is an understatement.
Anyway, over the past few weeks I have managed to change how I do things a little bit. I have more choice now about when I hit a ball hard with my left foot whether it hurts or not.
If I want to hurt, I kick primarily by extending my knee. If I want to be completely comfortable, it's a full body coordinated effort.
I AM a team. If I over or underuse any part, I will underperforming and possibly cause myself damage.
If I work in harmony with myself, everything is easy and feels good.
In team sports, recruitment of players who subscribe to a real team mentality is crucial for this type of harmonious play.
When we're talking about the team of you, recruitment (without surgery) isn't possible. YOU are your squad.
Be patient with yourself. Use yourself evenly. Be kind to yourself. Be intelligent with yourself. Trust yourself. You are the only you you will ever have and you'll make your athleticism and your life in and out of sport much easier for yourself.
Play simply. Play united. Play well.
Arton "Hopefully becoming a better team player" Baleci
Float Sting - Sports Injury Rehab and Performance, Harley Street, London, W1
P.S. this week, my August one-dayer will go live. Keep an eye out.