Excellence Group Meeting – South Garner High School Soccer

T oday’s excellence (small) group meeting featured the men’s soccer team at South Garner High School in Garner, North Carolina.

I invited my friend, Marcus Luster to join me so that we could connect with the student athletes of South Garner High School at a comfortable level.  Marcus is a CPA and former student athlete and soccer player.  It was a great decision to invite him to join me.  Being a former football player, I didn’t know how to preciously connect their game to our topic of self-discipline.  But Marcus was able to successfully run point and connect our lesson plan with basic soccer fundamentals.

I asked the team to share their weaknesses on the field and all were eager to participate, many of whom found commonalities with one another. We made sure to address the group collectively so that all could hear and apply those fundamentals to their own weaknesses, some of which may or may not have been shared publicly.  One of the athletes spoke about his struggle using his off-leg when kicking.  Marcus and I offered ways he can improve on this weakness, some of which were surprising yet insightful to him. One of the suggestions was for him to speak with his coach before practice and indicate that he wants to work on his off leg, particulary during practice with other defenders in proximity.  This would prompt the coach’s assumption that errors or weakness will likely occur, but certainly the coach would much rather accept this training platform during practice rather than in an actual game.  I figured that this would be a way for the athlete to open a line of communication between him and the coach.  In addition, the coach would see that the player is actively trying to improve their game and won’t be hesitant to supply ample opportunities.  Much like in life, those in charge of running businesses, associations, or teams will never shy away from providing their players with room for growth.

I then asked asked the group a question, asking why they have never tried asking the coach something similar before.  I quickly followed the question with a simple statement; because it’s uncomfortable. Every player seemed to agree by the expressions on their face.  As humans, we tend to strive towards things that are comfortable and routine.  Our brains tend switch gears into fight or flight mode at the onset of any exposure to pain or uncomfortable stimuli.  This is very common in difficult or strenuous athletic training where many young athletes quit before the pressure becomes too painful to bear.  However, to grow and learn we must force ourselves into the unknown, past our breaking point, which sometimes leads to confronting the uncomfortable head on. Muscle is formed when the mind forces the body past what the actor thought he or she was originally capable of.  Which brought home my major point, sometimes comfort can be the enemy. Being successful on the field or off, means stepping outside your comfort zone.  Routinely pushing yourself to better perform requires discipline.  Young adults tend to strive towards activity that is exciting, or pleasurable.  Hence the reason why many engage in substances or other forms of unlawful activity.  The practice of self-discipline not only furthers the player’s chances of obtaining a goal, they will less likely submit themselves harmful temptations when their lives become uncomfortable.

Every one of the students seemed to be engaged with this concept, we were making sense.  Marcus and I took turns and brought up points from our past experiences.  Overall, the small group format (maximum 20 people in a room) was more effective at building a chemistry between the group leader and students.


Lesson Plan

Small Group – March 18, 2019

7:10 AM – 7:45 AM





o   Introduction of myself.

o   Introductions for the group.

o   State a career interest.






15 MIN

o   What is discipline?

o   The ability to control one’s feelings and

o   Overcome one’s weaknesses;

o   The ability to pursue what one thinks is right

o   Despite the temptation to abandon it.

o   Raise your hand if you easily give in to some of these weaknesses:

o   Sleeping in

o   Fast food

o   Procrastinating on study and doing homework

o   Who can name some other ones?

o   Skipping work outs

o   Skipping class

o   Why do we give in to these weaknesses?  Because it feels better at the time.  It’s comfortable.

o   What is success?

o  _____________________________________.

o   Consistent execution over time.

o   Maintaining your discipline.

o   Holding the line, becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable.

o   Discipline = Reward.


(7:30 am)


10 min


o   180 days in a school year.

o   720 days in high school – 4 years.

o   6.75 hours in a school day.

o   You have been given the same amount of time as Lebron James, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tom Brady.

o   The question is, what are you going to do with that time?


o   Case study

o   Setting smart goals

5 Min Q&A