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#JohanCruyff - Elevating the #ExecutiveFUNction of #Soccer w/ #TotalFootball / #chess #strategy #spatialawareness

In chess, it is crucial to assert control of the board early on. The agile chess player does so by masterminding the beginning moves. Trotting out the valuable pieces front and center, as opposed to playing a pawn game early on allows the player to control and limit the forward momentum of his or her opponent. Likewise, limiting tactical maneuvering by 'controlling the board' throws the opponent into limiting possible strategies. In the best of cases, the opponent is forced to play a 'pawn game.'

Dutch legend Johan Cruyff elevated the game of soccer to a new standard of sportsmanship and executive function by being the biggest promoter of a fluid and adaptable strategy to win games called 'Total Football.' Cruyff was keen on spatial awareness and had a mind focused on where to run to using his foresight (the ability to anticipate and predict), where to hold ground and when not to move on the 'pitch,' or what is known as the soccer field. His spatial awareness ability meant that he was a master at constantly showing up across the pitch where the ball was. This meant that he played multiple positions and his team was pushed into being incredibly mentally flexible (the ability to shift and transition) in a short time span. Every team mate except the goalie had to know how to carry out each other's position. Being fluid and attentive to the Cruyff's flow meant that all the other teammates executive function skills, or their ability to orchestrate, manage and direct themselves in harmony with one another had to be on full alert throughout the game. In addition, continuous flow of positional changes put the opponent team in flux creating disarray in their ranks, while Cruyff's 'total football' stratagem kept his team dynamic and in control of the pitch.

This level of sportsmanship proved to be too strenuous for opposing teams and ultimately led to Cruyff dominating the game of soccer throughout the 1970's. Like a waterfall of stratagem, 'total football' also meant that the physical exertion was brought to a new and heightened level so that not only were his teams fluid like water but the rigor involved in constantly adapting meant that the players were in almost constant cognitive-physical motion that was kept novel and engaging.

A player's player then, Johan Cruyff played the game and raised its quality, revolutionizing the caliber at which it was played on a mental and physical note. His pro-active and strenuous approach allowed him to be the world's most valuable soccer player time and time again while at the same time raising the standards by which his teammates and eventually other soccer teams played.

As a Special Educator and strong promoter of the use of soccer in my work with children on the autism spectrum and with special needs, I take my black hat off to Mr. Hendrik Johannes "JohanCruijff for the way he seamlessly united and heightened the cognitive and physical interplay of soccer for generations to come.

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