Republic of Ireland Women's National Football Team

Hello world,

I am writing from Ireland at the moment. Preparing for our match against ‘Die Germans’ on Saturday 6th of April, 15:00BST. Please tune in to watch the match on the link: Ireland vs Germany. Or watch watch live on German TV channel ZDF. We have been preparing this week and there is good spirits in the camp. We are excited to play Germany but are also realistic about what kind of team they are. In their last few games they have scored 40 goals and allowed zero….That is a tough opponent.

I have been having a hard time finding the right approach to this game. 3 of my club teammates from SC Frieburg, Melanie Lepolz, Sara Dabritz, and Laura Benkarth, play on the German team. I want to go back to my club with my head held high. I don’t want to go back to my club with a result like Russia had against Germany…9-0. In one sense I want to feel confident and believe in the ability of our team to somehow over come this formidable opponent. On the other hand I do feel that I do need to be realistic. I have been rustling with the question what is success? What is the relationship between winning and success? Could I be happy with a 0-0 tie or a 1-1 tie? It is not winning but to be honest I think I could be very happy with that. But would I/could I be happy with a 1-0, 2-0, or 3-0 loss? It is a better result than a lot of other teams have had but I am not sure. I don’t know if I can go into a match and think to myself, ‘If we lose by less than 3-0 than I can be happy’.

I was chatting with my boyfriend and a friend about my dilemma and they reminded me about the great coach and teacher John Wooden. John Wooden was a legendary basketball coach in the US for UCLA. He won more trophies than anyone else in college basketball. He saw winning and success as not always one in the same. His definition of success is “peace of mind, attained only through self-satisfaction and knowing you made the effort to do the best that you are capable.” He reminded me that sometimes you can win and not play well which is not necessarily satisfying or success. Sometimes you can play incredibly without winning a game but still your team could have executed the game plan perfectly and played great.

After thinking about John Wooden’s words and watching his really amazing TED TALK (if you have time, its worth a watch) I realized I needed to change my approach. On Saturday when we go out against Germany, instead of focusing so much on the result it is more important to focus on being the best that we can be. In football as in most sports there is so much that is out of your control. Who you play against, calls made by the referees, injuries, decisions by the manager, weather etc…. All you can really control is what you do on the pitch, the effort you give, your preparation. Basically showing the best version of yourself and the best version of your team. That is success.

  1. WSU 8 years ago

    What a fantastic performance you and your team gave against Germany, you should all be very proud. You were unlucky, a questionable penalty – you should have at least earned a point. It was a rollercoaster of emotions just watching, I can only imagine what it was like playing! Some fantastic positives to take from the game though, you are the only team to have scored passed Germany in this campaign.

  2. Asa 8 years ago

    Great Blog Fiona, Thank you

  3. WSU 8 years ago

    What a beautifully written blog, thank you Fiona. A wonderful insight into preparation ahead of a massive FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 qualifying match. I can only mirror your closing paragraphs, if you do the best you can you will always have achieved self-satisfaction and success and you can always hold your head up high knowing what effort and determination you brought to the game. You are absolutely right about the uncontrollable factors that influence a game’s outcome, so you just can focus on your own efforts.

    Extremely looking forward to watching this match.

    • Terence Fullick 8 years ago

      Many thanks Fiona for a well written positive insight into how you should prepare for a game, anything can happen during a game, but doing your best, is the only thing that really matters, good luck to you and all your team mates.

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