For anyone who is not a football fan, it can often be perplexing as to why anyone would spend their entire weekend watching the beautiful game. It’s almost frowned upon to admit that you spend your weekends watching soccer and analyzing over what you witness, almost as though you’re committing a crime against sunny days and patios. I may very well be committing a crime against sunny days and patios, but the fact of the matter is: I watch a ton of football, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you also love football and want to watch it relentlessly? Well then you my friend, need to get some hobbies. No. Seriously. It’s all about balance. You seriously do. But you, my friend, have also come to the right place. Here’s how I watch so much football, in spite of an incredibly condensed schedule and a full-time job.
THE TWO LEAGUE AT A TIME DEBATEEmbed from Getty Images
Okay. So I often mention to my footballing friends that you can only devotedly follow two leagues at a time. Anything more, and you’re no longer devotedly following anything. Why? Most of the games take place at the same time, and it can be ridiculously hard to catch up over the course of the week if you have a full time job, attend university, coach, or have a life in general.Embed from Getty Images
So for my money, if you are a fan with no current coaching or playing commitments, I would suggest starting with devotedly following two leagues at a time and scrutinizing over as many matches as possible. For me, that’s the Premier League and Bundesliga, where I watch upwards of ten to twelve matches in a weekend, and the remaining ones where possible during the week. I coordinate with the TV schedules to see when Bundesliga matches are going to become available, making sure that I’m watching the ones in real-time that I won’t be able to see on a replay later. DAZN and other streaming services have been brilliant in allowing me to watch other leagues whenever I want through their archives, so long as it’s generally within a week after the match (OneSoccer leaves them available even longer!).Embed from Getty Images
In the summer, for the first time this year (now that I’m not coaching youth soccer for the first summer since 2013!), I am keeping track of the Canadian Premier League and the NWSL. The Women’s Euros will also capture some of my attention, meaning that I don’t have time to watch all of the NWSL games under the sun. But the nice thing about the NWSL is that the majority of the matches can be found on YouTube, and therefore can also be played at 1.25 or 1.5x speed. This means you can cover an analysis of more games in a shorter window of time.Embed from Getty Images
Here’s the point. Identify one to two leagues that you want to watch relentlessly, and then follow along over the course of the season. If you don’t care about knowing everything there is to know about the happenings of a specific league, feel free to watch more than two, specifically for entertainment value. But understand that you will not be able to cover quite as much ground, or perhaps even feel as motivated to watch football without narrowing your scope.
MULTI-TASKINGEmbed from Getty Images
This may come as a surprise to hear from your second favourite tactical analyst, but I tend to watch about 25% of my games while cycling on an indoor bike. I love to exercise, but I also love to watch soccer. Often times when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I want to do is both! So I often feed two birds with one seed and set up to cycle while watching football. I find it easy enough to multitask in this manner without fully compromising my ability to do either task, but speed workouts can become more difficult as I get into the zone of the cycle and lose focus on the match. If you have an indoor treadmill, I would hazard to guess that the exact same process could work for you whilst running, with the exact same asterisk.
I’ve also been known to watch matches while eating or trying to fall asleep. Sometimes I even work on the site when the ball finds its way out of play for a few seconds. But I would advise to avoid multitasking with leisure-filled tasks, as you will most likely be distracted away from the game, and miss out on valuable insight and information. I would also advise rewinding to the parts you miss after you fall asleep.
HAVING A VESTED INTERESTEmbed from Getty Images
Let’s face it. We feel most motivated to do something when we feel it is personally meaningful to our lives. Having a vested interest, such as a rooting interest, such as a favourite team, in a variety of different leagues, will naturally increase your desire to consume football. As a Borussia Dortmund fan, I never miss a match. But I often find myself watching any of the other eighteen Bundesliga teams over the course of the season, ensuring I’m staying up to date on all the tactical trends that Dortmund must overcome. The same can be said about my desire to engage with Forge FC in the Canadian Premier League, my fascination with Emma Hayes’ Chelsea, and my rooting interest for the currently laughable Manchester United. I cheer for Toronto FC in the MLS, swap back and forth between the Houston Dash and OL Reign in the NWSL, turn on the telly for Canada and England in international play, and strive to never miss a match from any of the above. As a result of keeping up with the Kardashians in this manner, I’m able to keep up with all the other TV shows on the network (i.e. the other teams that play in the league).Embed from Getty Images
This is an easy way of giving yourself a reason to watch various teams, and even various leagues if you choose to go so far. Then when analyzing football, you might surprise yourself about how objective you can still remain, even whilst loving a team and certain players with all your heart. In fact, you may even double down on being overly harsh on the ones you love, as we so often do as human beings.
Point is, make watching football personally meaningful not just because you enjoy it, but because you want your favourite teams and players to succeed. Let’s face it, if you’re not watching, you know they won’t.
In the end, I would never recommend that you make your entire life about watching football. But hopefully you can find what works for you within your schedule, and work to find balance in meeting your other interests, hobbies, desires and basic health needs. We all love to watch football and most reading this article love to analyze those matches along with me, but everything must be achieved in balance.
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