When I first met Andrea, I had no idea she was a soccer coach, nor did I know she had competed in 4 FIFA Women’s World Cup Events! I didn’t suspect Andrea was an international soccer superstar because this woman exerts a very nurturing and compassionate energy. I used to play sports as a kid and remember that so many coaches were either rigid or stern in their approach, or both! The more I get to know Andrea, the more I love her philosophy. Her idealism in how kids should be coached is simply breathtaking. Please read more to learn about her and her work.
Sara: In your opinion, what does it take to be a successful athlete?
Andrea: Since retiring as an athlete eleven years ago, I have spent a lot of time in reflection philosophizing about what ‘success’ really is. Especially when it comes to sporting endeavors and what the aim or purpose of sport is or should be.
We have a choice in every moment, to ask questions of ourselves such as: are we spending our precious time and energy in life pursuing something that deepens our awareness of this life or are we pursuing illusory things that will no doubt erode our life and the lives of those around us? Believe it or not, the cause and effects of healthy versus unhealthy can be found in the simplest of actions such as passing a ball to a teammate.
Sara: What is your biggest take-away you learn from coaching soccer for children?
Andrea: Coaching is both a huge responsibility and a sincere honour.
As a coach, the question that I now ask myself from my heart is: when the physical and tactical skills and the accomplishments of sport are gone, what are the mental, emotional, energetic and physical seeds that I can help to plant, water and care for within this human being? What path have I been trying to lead this young one on as a leader through sport? Am I helping to cultivate intrinsic values and well-being in another? Or, have I been nourishing the seeds within the other that will have incredibly unhealthy consequences for them and those around them? Attributes such as arrogance, anger and frustration are examples of this.
Sara: How do you manage stress?
Andrea: Stress is not a useful state to be caught in, however, we are often in a condition whereby we suffer from it. I try to manage stress through a lot of self-reflection, inner guidance and studying my own psychological processes. I too am a work in progress, of course! The more I am able to understand how my mind, body, energies and emotions work, from the perspective and guidance of my heart, I find that I am better equipped with tools to navigate this world in a more calm and effective way.
Sara: Do you think it is important for everyone to grow through doing inner work and why?
Andrea: Inner work is about growing through a journey to become more connected with our hearts. We have become so disconnected from our own Inner Nature, from the Love and the guidance that urging us to live life in a more positive way. If we want to be happier, healthier and more peaceful then we must embark on a process to live fully from this Truth within ourselves.
Sara: What does Empowering Beauty Everywhere mean to you?
Andrea: Empowering to me is about liberating, and beauty is about anything that inspires us to remember our inner nature, our connection to each other and to the greater whole.
Everywhere means in all directions. So for me, Empowering Beauty Everywhere is about anything and everything that inspires us to remember our True Nature and urges us to liberate ourselves in the direction of this Essential quality, which surrounds us.
Hopefully you found Andrea’s interview to be as intriguing and informative as I did. What if all coaches and teachers approached their work with children this way? I truly believe this is how we can train the next generation to cultivate a humble and helpful society. Thanks so much to Andrea for taking time out of her busy schedule to share her philosophy with our readers. Have a great day everyone!
Photo credit: Julian Fok
For more information on Andrea Neil and her coaching program, please visit: http://www.dasovicneilcoaching.com/