I've played "competitive" foosball for the last eight years. "Foosball" is a more generic descriptive title for "Table Soccer". You might have seen it played in your local bars, workplaces, schools, and clubs with few rules. It's also played in official competitions. Official Foosball Tournaments are organized by a number of national organizations, with highly evolved rules and regulations. Look for it to become an Olympic event. Heck, It’s already a game on Wii.
If you’ve ever played, you know you’d have to absolutely love the game to getting the crap bet out of you and keep coming back for more.
"Newbies" are what we “Foozers” call people who have played a dozen or less games and/or who really have NO interest in making it a core part of their being like "us". I use the term lightly to signify a "new" person to the game of foosball. In the game of business, a "newbie" might be someone with years of "experience" but hasn't "gotten" the game yet.
Here are five correlations I find interesting between the game of foosball and the game of business.
1. IT'S A "MENTAL GAME"
Both Foosball and Business are both first and foremost; "a mental game". Regardless of skill, your state of mind will determine your game. Get too excited, annoyed, anxious or nervous and, regardless of your skills, you’re “game” suffers. In business, it’s best to take shots (make important decisions) when you're calm, organized and focused on the outcome.
2. "CONTROLLING THE BALL"
Both Foosball and Business are dependent on the level of skill the player has controlling the ball. A Newbie just whacks at it. Experts know it's all about control. First, just "getting the ball" is considered a success. Then, "keeping the ball" is a major milestone. Putting the ball where you want it to go (closing the sale) is close to a heavenly experience.
Ultimate Control of the ball takes years and years of playing and practicing. Like business, there are no secrets to instant and everlasting success. It takes hard work. Business owners that recognize their business success depends on successfully completing each distinct step in the process. It's not often readily apparent to the "newbie", which part of the process is critical.
3. "USE THE SHOULDERS"
Successful business people and Foosers don't take unnecessary risks when they don’t have to. Experts learn that, in a highly competitive game, to take the shots that count. High risk shots that haven't been practiced (due diligence) and might be fun, but the odds of scoring are much lower.
Ultimate success in winning the game depends upon "Perfecting the Pass".
Expert players understand winning comes down to increasing the number of shots they get to take "in their most advantageous position"; directly in front of their opponent. So, when the ball is in the middle of the table, they don't want to take the shot with the higher probability of missing. They focus on passing the ball from their "3 bar” to their “5 bar” where the odds of making the shot increases significantly. Passing the ball on the shoulder is much easier to accomplish that down the middle.
4. DEFENSE: PROACTIVE VS REACTIVE?
Newbies start out trying to block by reacting to their opponents moves. If foosball and business, if your only strategy is to react, you'll seldom win the race. Never "sit still", anticipate your opponents’ moves and get into "position".
5. CONSTANTLY LEARN NEW SHOTS AND PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Most Experts start out with just one or two shots and build their skills to become competent at multiple shots, from multiple positions, on multiple table types. Frederico Collignon, from Belguim, is considered the World's Best Fooser. He’s dominates on all six tournament style tables in the world. The "Michael Jordon" of Foosball!
Michael Jordan once said ; " I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
So, in summary, here's how to apply these lessons to your business;
Lesson #1 ~ Learn techniques and use tools to stay "cool" under pressure and get in "The Zone”. Maybe take up Foosball! One player said this about the game; "This game can put you in a zone where you almost step outside yourself," he says. "It's Zen. So empowering. The pleasure zones in your brain, they get incredibly stimulated. When you're playing well, it's the closest you can get to perfection. You're almost performing magic."
Lesson #2 ~ "Control the Ball" Learn and implement processes, tactics and strategies to gain better control of your operations and finances.
Lesson #3 ~ Create "back office" processes and maintenance procedures all three critical steps; Lead Generation, Lead Qualification and Lead Conversion. Make "passing the ball" as simple and seamless as possible.
Lesson #4 ~ Keep in touch with what is happening in your market, what your competitors are doing and what your clients and employees are thinking.
Lesson #5 ~ Don't be afraid to take calculated shots you might fail at. No matter what, just keep taking shots!
When you finally learn to play well, it’s like performing magic.