World Cup Samba Soccer: Natural Talent or Personal Mastery?

It’s been a while since my last blog and there are 3 things I could possibly blog about, an SOP document template, the World Cup 2006 and Father’s day.

Think the World Cup one would be the most interesting (for me at least).

If you caught the game between Australia and Japan last evening, you would have been quite awed by the fighting spirit of the Aussies. They were fabulous – fighting (metaphorically) to the end (literally) in last evening’s Australia-Japan match. It was sheer perseverance … well, and some skill smile After trailing by a goal up to the 88th minute, they came back, 2 minutes from full-time to score 3 goals! To my Aussie neighbours down under, well done! It’s quite a challenge you have ahead though with the world ranking no. 1 Brazil in the same group with you. I hope you make it to the next round.

Ok, but honestly. I have to admit I am a fan of the samba team! Not because they are the best … well, most things Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, Cuban – I like wink What strikes me most about the Brazilian players is how they think on their feet and create those deceptive moves and manouvres on the field. It really entertaining watching these guys. It’s like football is in their blood and these boys have been playing soccer since their days in the cradle! While I can imagine there being a strategy and all for such a team sport, implementation I imagine would be very much a personal thing, cognitive as much as physical ability. My guess is it would involve looking for cues, estimating distances, anticipating the reaction of tammates and rivals, weighing risks against opportunities, etc. all with the pressure of time. It seems very much like chess except all the pieces are moving at the same time! And if like Australia, you are trailing for very much all the time, there’s the morale and teamwork to upkeep as the minutes tick away (still think they did a fine job). And then there are the variables to deal with – the weather, the condition of the pitch, the cheering (or jeering) crowds, and so on. It all comes into play in a 90 minute quest.

So what do the Brazilians know that others don’t? Is what they have natural creative talent or is it personal mastery? How do we tell the difference? What lessons are there for knowledge managers in recognising this?

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