Every day you get out of bed is a day you have an opportunity to improve. That improvement may be at home with your family relationships, at work with your colleagues, in your studies or on the soccer training pitch. Improvement can come in big changes but usually comes in the form of constant and neverending improvement (CANI), building on previous knowledge and skill towards mastery. What many young athletes don’t see is that mastery takes hours, days, months, years even a lifetime to try to achieve. Mastery is HARD. It takes dedication, perseverance, and focus.
The Japanese have a single word for “constant and never-ending improvement” and it’s called “Kaizen.” Kaizen is from the Japanese words Kai, meaning change and Zen meaning good. Kaizen = change is good.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”–Tao Te Ching
Kaizen philosophy started in Japan in the rebuilding era after World War II, with the help of Dr. W. Edward Deming. The philosophy works on the premise that there is always room for improvement. Would you agree?
Think of your best day on the pitch. Can you think of anything you could have done better? Can you think of anything you wish you would have been able to do differently? These thoughts are Kaizen. IMPROVEMENT is the goal. Mentally you have to be willing to put in the time and the effort to become the very best you can at whatever skill you are focused on.
In a recent article, Yael Averbuch, of the US Women’s National Team, talks about the Never-Ending Path to Ascension that her coach taught. Yeal admits she was never the most talented but her focus on continual improvement on the pitch has helped her to grow as a player and helped her rise to be a player with the US Women’s National Team.
“My point in telling you this is that my career is full of many moments for which I am supremely grateful and very proud. But it also has been full of struggles, disappointments, and trials. The one thing that has kept me going is my commitment to be better today than I was yesterday. And better tomorrow than I am today. That is the only thing I can control.” – Yael Averbuch
Make no mistake, there will be setbacks, injuries, off the pitch problems, but your focus to become your very best will make you a better player, a better student, a better son/daughter, and in the end a better human being.
- Fuel Your Fire by Yael Averbuch
- Tony Robbins CANI! System Explained by Chris Knight
- Kaizen – Wikipedia
- One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer PhD