Reacting vs. Responding: The Difference is Bigger Than You Think

Hey Everyone! Charlotte FC Midfielder Brandt Bronico here! Thanks for tuning in!

We’ve already been in the new year for two months. How are you doing with those resolutions? Have you stuck to your resolutions or, if not, have you found a new one you’re focusing on? No matter what, I hope you’re taking steps to better yourself! 

In this blog, I’ll discuss a topic that applies not only to soccer, but to everyday life. There are things that happen to us each day that are beyond our control, whether we realize it or not. The fact that these situations or circumstances occur is one thing, but how we decide to respond to them is another entirely. In other words, I’m talking about how we either react or respond to them. 

You may be thinking, “Brandt, aren’t they the same thing?” 

I thought the same thing when I first contemplated reacting and responding. They are, however, two completely different things, and I’ll tell you why. 

Let’s first discuss REACTING. 

Imagine you’re playing soccer. Your teammate is dribbling down the field and has the opportunity to pass you the ball.  When he sees you he decides not to pass the ball and eventually loses it. What is your first reaction? Are you angry? You may even throw your hands up in the air to show your anger. This can be a natural and very common response. But, what does this accomplish? There’s no point in being upset about the last play when the opposition now has the ball and is trying to score in your goal. As well as hurting you, this kind of reaction hurts the rest of your team as well, because they need your help to win the ball back! Besides, that play is over anyway! There are no real positives from reacting that way. 

Now, let’s dig into what RESPONDING looks like.

It’s quite different from reacting. Responding involves dealing with the situation as it is, not as you perceived it to be. To illustrate this, let’s look at the example above. There’s probably a reason your teammate didn’t pass you the ball. Possibly? There could’ve been another defender behind you, your teammate could’ve been in a better position to score, or your teammate could’ve even fancied his own chances. It is up to each of us to make our own decisions. Regardless of whether your teammate made a mistake, have you ever made a mistake on the field before? Of course you have. So, how can you judge his decision? See the point I’m making? 

Let us always hold ourselves and our teammates to a high standard, but let’s do this by responding rather than reacting.

  Here’s a quote from Zig Ziglar that puts this into context:

“To Respond is Positive, to React is Negative.” 

Your ability to do this will never be perfect.  At times, I still find myself reacting instead of responding! However, I am much more aware of when I am reacting and am more apt to catch myself and turn my reaction into a response. With practice, you can get there too!

To sum it up, choose positivity. Choose to respond, not react. Although this is not an easy skill to master, it is essential to becoming a better player, teammate, and, ultimately, a better person. Ask yourself next time something goes wrong: “Am I reacting or responding?”.”

Chances are, you’ll see the situation more clearly and see it for what it really is – an opportunity to grow! Plus, you’ll feel more in control of what is going on around you since you get to choose how YOU respond to what is happening. 

You got this. Keep Grinding!

Optimize your mind for your Grind!”

Brandt Bronico
Charlotte FC #13


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