Lampard finds competitive advantage

Lampard scores his 203rd Chelsea goal to become club’s top scorer

Lampard celebrates his record-breaking goal against Aston Villa. Photo courtesy of Sky Sports.

“I remember my ears pricking up when I heard about him doing yoga. At Chelsea we’ve got a great fella who’s available at all times. I started using him when I was injured and felt the benefits of it. I had to fight myself to do it. I like training outside, shooting and sprinting. It’s a different mindset but I’ll try to keep incorporating it.”- Frank Lampard (on Ryan Giggs playing into mid 30s and his mindset of doing anything to be at top of his game)

Yoga is not why Frank Lampard is still at the top of his game at 34 years old. He scores goals. He works box-to-box. He has led Chelsea to a Champions League spot. This is why Lampard remains a valuable fixture in the Blues starting 11. Certainly not because of a few yoga classes.

His success may not be a result of yoga classes, but it is a direct result of his hunger to hunt down an edge. In a sport like soccer, every advantage counts. Lampard would not let an opportunity slip away even if it led him onto a yoga mat, a place he clearly wasn’t comfortable with.

Lampard’s desire to gain a competitive advantage puts him at the top of his game. A desire that doesn’t settle for just good enough. That is why he scored his 203rd Chelsea goal this past weekend. That is why he is now the club’s all-time leading scorer. That is why he is one of the greatest goal-scoring midfielders of all time.

His desire is something all players strive for. The trouble is sustaining this mentality is not natural. I am not at Frank Lampard’s level yet, but I have created an attitude to never settle for just good enough within me. Creating it was not hard, but making it a permanent part of my personality is a completely different story.

Last season, I played for a Maryland team that made it to the College Cup. A team that will go down in Maryland history for having the highest winning percentage of any team all time. How do you do any better than that?

Frank Lampard does not think like that. I wouldn’t allow myself to think like that either. I returned back this spring eager to improve on key areas of my game. One of those areas was my body. I haven’t started up yoga like Lampard, but I have completely changed my diet to gain an advantage on the field.

I began the spring semester by visiting our new team nutritionist. We sketched out my usual daily nutritional intake. She said my diet was pretty good, but that it could be better. Those words brought out the competitor in me. I didn’t want it to be pretty good; I want it to be the best.

Our nutritionist gave me a list of snacks to incorporate into my diet.

Our nutritionist gave me a list of snacks to incorporate into my diet. Photo courtesy of Patrick Mullins.

She mapped out a daily routine and diet for me to have more energy on the field, which I took to heart. My diet is now all about replacing the carbohydrates and proteins lost during workouts and practices. A regular day now means eating a minimum of six times. That includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner with snacks between each.

My girlfriend, Meggie, did not see how this was a big deal. As she put it, “all you have to do is remember to eat.” The actual eating isn’t difficult but preparing the proper meals and snacks is. With busy days filled with classes, this takes some planning ahead. Each night, I plan my meals for the next day. I don’t know how many PB&J sandwiches I’ve made this semester. I’ve lost count.

But, all the PB&J’s have been worth it. I have maintained higher energy levels on the field for practices and games. The improvements have shown in my fitness test scores at the end of the semester. I shattered my personal best on our 300’s testing by four seconds, which is a direct result of the extra attention I am paying to my body.

I found an area of my game that needed improvement and made it better. That is what gaining a competitive advantage is all about: identifying an opportunity for improvement and attacking it with ferocity. The opportunity was not easy to see. Opportunity requires vision to recognize. Vision is what separates the leaders, who seize a competitive advantage, from others who just let opportunities pass by.

All players have the ability to see an opportunity, but not all players have the vision to act on it. Not all players grasp the impact of an opportunity in the long run. Not all players are leaders, but we all have the capacity to be leaders. Lampard is a shining example for us all to emulate; however, we must help ourselves by accepting the opportunities in our own lives. Once we accept an opportunity, we must embrace the challenge of those opportunities each day.

Frank Lampard is a leader. Opportunity appeared in front of him in the form of a yoga mat, yet he knew it was more than that and never looked back.

PM

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Posted in Leadership, Soccer

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