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Hard to say what is really going on with Ballou, but I wonder if his situation is akin to that of my son, or any other kid who is diagnosed as "Gifted". Gifted people have significantly higher IQs (they test in the top 98th, 99th percentiles in several cognitive areas) than that of the average population, but as they and their peers age, the intellectual advantages of being Gifted tend to narrow, not because the Gifted kid has experienced a decline in raw intellectual ability but because other factors start to become more important to an individual's success, things like work habits, social and familial support, organizational tools and raw desire. In short, average smart kids--i.e. not Gifted kids--who have a passion for a subject and work hard tend to perform as well, if not better than, Gifted kids who could give a rats ass about a subject or who've never developed the work habits and org. skills. And what happens to these Gifted kids who find out, usually in high school, that they actually have to work hard to get what they want? Well, they start to think they aren't really smart, and their self-esteem plummets.  For their entire lives they've equated intelligence with the relative ease with which they can understand concepts and develop skills. We did not teach our son to read: We read to him all the time and one day he started reading to us. He was only 4 and a half!

If this gives us any insight into a player like Ballou, then what might it say? If Ballou had been the most talented player in his age group for many years, and then touted as some sort of generational talent, with guys like Drogba blowing sunshine up his ass, and then he turns pro and discovers he's mostly riding the pine, heads to Barca where he is but one of many, many talented young players, and then he sees little game time over the two or three years he is in Spain, I would imagine that his self-esteem took several kicks in the teeth.  And while we all know that the only way for Ballou to turn things around is for him to accept the fact that dedication and hard work are vital to success, anyone who preaches this to him will only highlight--in his mind--that maybe he was not talented enough from the beginning. When I look at my son and his struggles, or from what I read about other Gifted kids, the way forward is all about finding one's passion and then building a framework to pursue that passion.  Hard work is not really hard work when you love what you are doing and you understand the purpose of that hard work.  Again, not knowing Ballou's psychology at all, it seems to me that he doesn't really want a career in football. Maybe he was good as a kid but his real passion lies somewhere else.  Hell, I am brilliant at customer service but I do not want a career as a retail clerk. (Done that. I was damned good. Never again.)

If choosing Canada over the Ivory Coast plays into this in any way, then my assumption is that Ballou lost confidence in himself and picked Canada because he felt the IC was out of reach.  It makes no sense to me that choosing Canada and giving up on the IC was the cause of his current situation.  That seems assbackwards, does it not? 

Ballou reminds me of Wynn Belotte in this instance. But I've a feeling that Ballou can still turn this around, if only because whereas Belotte seemed to be a raging egomaniac I suspect Ballou is a deeply introspective, introverted type (my people!), which means that it is far more likely that Ballou will accept reality (i.e. hard work and dedication = success).  But it will come down to one thing: does he really want it? Those who enjoy sustained success tend to exhibit a mindset that might seem at odds with itself but that has far too many shining examples to ignore: one must be humble about what they are doing AND simultaneously audacious about their ability to achieve their goals. Look at Davies.  He is full of humility and audacity, at the same time.  He is driven, passionate AND hard working and humble. I suspect Ballou has been humbled, but now he needs to understand the importance of humility (i.e. you don't know shit so pay attention to your coaches and work hard and develop good habits) while he also believes he can be a superstar. I wonder, too, if he has the right support system. I wish him well, in whatever he chooses to do. I hope it is football.

 

 

Edited by The Beaver 2.0
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One of the best Canadian soccer interviews I've read in a long time, although some parts were unnecessary in my opinion. I have decided to translate it as literally as possible, without spending

Remind me to never get on your bad side lol

My patience is thinning with Vanney. (I'll check back at the end of the day)

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50 minutes ago, SpursFlu said:

I think the observations above are interesting and very accurate. I think thats why its important for young players in many cases to spend a lengthy period of time in 1 professional environment surrounded by positive mentors and consistenly playing. It doesn't have to be the most glamorous league but its great for confidence and building that foundation 

Yes, and to help build work habits and an understanding of what it means to be a professional. Confidence is key, especially for a guy like Ballou who seems more reserved and introverted. 

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27 minutes ago, The Beaver 2.0 said:

But it will come down to one thing: does he really want it? 

Exactly. The answer may be that he does and he just needs to find the dedication and work ethic to find that passion. Or, he may actually not really want it and he's figuring it out now. Ability and desire don't always match, even for people that can make a living from something based on their raw talent.

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1 hour ago, The Beaver 2.0 said:

Hard to say what is really going on with Ballou, but I wonder if his situation is akin to that of my son, or any other kid who is diagnosed as "Gifted". Gifted people have significantly higher IQs (they test in the top 98th, 99th percentiles in several cognitive areas) than that of the average population, but as they and their peers age, the intellectual advantages of being Gifted tend to narrow, not because the Gifted kid has experienced a decline in raw intellectual ability but because other factors start to become more important to an individual's success, things like work habits, social and familial support, organizational tools and raw desire. In short, average smart kids--i.e. not Gifted kids--who have a passion for a subject and work hard tend to perform as well, if not better than, Gifted kids who could give a rats ass about a subject or who've never developed the work habits and org. skills. And what happens to these Gifted kids who find out, usually in high school, that they actually have to work hard to get what they want? Well, they start to think they aren't really smart, and their self-esteem plummets.  For their entire lives they've equated intelligence with the relative ease with which they can understand concepts and develop skills. We did not teach our son to read: We read to him all the time and one day he started reading to us. He was only 4 and a half!

If this gives us any insight into a player like Ballou, then what might it say? If Ballou had been the most talented player in his age group for many years, and then touted as some sort of generational talent, with guys like Drogba blowing sunshine up his ass, and then he turns pro and discovers he's mostly riding the pine, heads to Barca where he is but one of many, many talented young players, and then he sees little game time over the two or three years he is in Spain, I would imagine that his self-esteem took several kicks in the teeth.  And while we all know that the only way for Ballou to turn things around is for him to accept the fact that dedication and hard work are vital to success, anyone who preaches this to him will only highlight--in his mind--that maybe he was not talented enough from the beginning. When I look at my son and his struggles, or from what I read about other Gifted kids, the way forward is all about finding one's passion and then building a framework to pursue that passion.  Hard work is not really hard work when you love what you are doing and you understand the purpose of that hard work.  Again, not knowing Ballou's psychology at all, it seems to me that he doesn't really want a career in football. Maybe he was good as a kid but his real passion lies somewhere else.  Hell, I am brilliant at customer service but I do not want a career as a retail clerk. (Done that. I was damned good. Never again.)

If choosing Canada over the Ivory Coast plays into this in any way, then my assumption is that Ballou lost confidence in himself and picked Canada because he felt the IC was out of reach.  It makes no sense to me that choosing Canada and giving up on the IC was the cause of his current situation.  That seems assbackwards, does it not? 

Ballou reminds me of Wynn Belotte in this instance. But I've a feeling that Ballou can still turn this around, if only because whereas Belotte seemed to be a raging egomaniac I suspect Ballou is a deeply introspective, introverted type (my people!), which means that it is far more likely that Ballou will accept reality (i.e. hard work and dedication = success).  But it will come down to one thing: does he really want it? Those who enjoy sustained success tend to exhibit a mindset that might seem at odds with itself but that has far too many shining examples to ignore: one must be humble about what they are doing AND simultaneously audacious about their ability to achieve their goals. Look at Davies.  He is full of humility and audacity, at the same time.  He is driven, passionate AND hard working and humble. I suspect Ballou has been humbled, but now he needs to understand the importance of humility (i.e. you don't know **** so pay attention to your coaches and work hard and develop good habits) while he also believes he can be a superstar. I wonder, too, if he has the right support system. I wish him well, in whatever he chooses to do. I hope it is football.

 

 

Extremely well said, all of it but particularly the first bolded part. I think you nailed it.

As for the second bolded part, giving up the Ivory Coast dream would--in his mind--further reinforce the idea he is not special. If he was a star for Canada the notion would still be relatively intact, but he failed to make an impact where others (David, Millar) did.

At the same time, it was becoming more clear at Barcelona that he was one-of-many. They were in the 3rd tier and his first team prospects were trending in the wrong direction. There was nobody around him to make him feel special. He lacked that sort of support. He left to go back home.

So it was not that choosing Canada was the cause of his problems. It was one of several factors that may be connected with his lowered self-esteem, confidence, or self-perception. Maybe if he was not cap tied to us he would still have that to clutch to (though I am very glad he is ours).

Then, I think posting highlights of his skills in training are an indication of that lowered confidence, because if you are truly confident you do not need to post such things. Perhaps he is fishing for some positive feedback. Girls with low self esteem do the same thing on the internet. 

My last several posts have been very critical of him, but I still wish him the best and I still believe he can do it! He just needs to re-evaluate and transform himself, similar to what Larin had to do when things were tough at Besiktas.

Edited by Obinna
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1 hour ago, costarg said:

Exactly my point!  Ballou is 21, Davies is 19.  Your screen shot shows the year they both got their shot.  Ballou had already sucked it up for over a year, when everyone knew he was better than who Impact was playing at the moment.  That destroys confidence.

To add to that, Davies played a bigger role as the year progressed.  Ballou's diminished even though he scored 2 with one assist in his first 10 games.  He didn't make the 18 in 8 of the last 14 games, not from lack of production.  Just "management decisions".  It just wasn't done right.

I agree with the bolded parts for sure. He was dangerous when he played and should have played more. He played more minutes than Davies overall, but his role diminished while Davies grew. 

However, didn`t Piatti return from an injury layoff, cutting into Tabla`s time? Please correct me if I remember that wrong.

Not to say it could not have been handled better, but that happens and young players need to deal with it. That is where it falls on Tabla. That would not destroy his confidence if he had the right attitude. Instead of being humble and biding his time, he left Montreal the moment a deal was on the table. 

Does anyone remember the interviews ahead of the nations league qualifying match against Dominica? He said something like: I want to show the coach what I can do and give him no choice but to play me. See? Again we see it revolves around his talent. Waiting patiently for an opportunity needs to become part of his vocabulary. 

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And because this is how things often happen, I was just scanning the CBC.ca homepage for news on the damned virus and I came across  this article about giftedness, written by someone who has struggled because of expectations associated with that term, among other things:

https://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/i-grew-up-gifted-but-my-life-didnt-turn-out-the-way-i-expected

 

 

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30 minutes ago, SthMelbRed said:

Perhaps all this suggests that Kei Kamara is a far better mentor than Didier Drogba.

Perhaps! Again, I don't really know his personal life, but family plays a big role in the lives of young people too.  And one cannot ignore the power of personality. Davies and Tabla do not have the same personality by any stretch of the imagination.  

As the legendary Vancouver business tycoon Jimmy Pattison always says: "You gotta wanna."

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I was incredibly hyped when Ballou  committed to us, having a Canadian possibly playing for pre shitshow Barca was huge to me.

Now I honestly have low hopes of him putting it all together, there definitely seems like a mental thing with him. I know he had the recent injury but it’s frustrating seeing him not play. The skill won’t go away, let’s just hope he’s motivated. 

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Agree with all that @The Beaver 2.0 says in his post, or at least agree that digging at these kinds of details is relevant. But one little correction: he played enough at Barça B, and only got few minutes at Albacete on loan. I saw him with his coach, García Pimenta, he was fine; he trained with the first team. He had enough confidence from the club, he was treated properly and encouraged.

Likely he needed a family member or even parent to accompany him, but this is always hard to know before you get to a big club. As I often found myself sitting near players' families (Dani Morer's clan, he's now at Famalicao in Portugal) or even injured players (Chumi, who is at Almeria in 2nd), I know some odd details. Like how Barça would get the players too old to be at the Masia from out of town to live 2-3 in apartments and get a pet, normally a dog, so they'd have something to care and be responsible for, apart from the psychological company. You can't overly judge this, Dembele has a bunch of friends from France with him and they stay up all night gaming and he's constantly late for practice, his social support circle has not helped him at all, they are goofs.

Look, no one is saying he had to end up playing for the first team at Barça, because that is extremely hard. But being at a club like that has to give you a profile you'd want to take forward in your career. Clearly returning to Impact was not the way to go in strict career terms.

Edited by Unnamed Trialist
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3 hours ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

Agree with all that @The Beaver 2.0 says in his post, or at least agree that digging at these kinds of details is relevant. But one little correction: he played enough at Barça B, and only got few minutes at Albacete on loan. I saw him with his coach, García Pimenta, he was fine; he trained with the first team. He had enough confidence from the club, he was treated properly and encouraged.

Likely he needed a family member or even parent to accompany him, but this is always hard to know before you get to a big club. As I often found myself sitting near players' families (Dani Morer's clan, he's now at Famalicao in Portugal) or even injured players (Chumi, who is at Almeria in 2nd), I know some odd details. Like how Barça would get the players too old to be at the Masia from out of town to live 2-3 in apartments and get a pet, normally a dog, so they'd have something to care and be responsible for, apart from the psychological company. You can't overly judge this, Dembele has a bunch of friends from France with him and they stay up all night gaming and he's constantly late for practice, his social support circle has not helped him at all, they are goofs.

Look, no one is saying he had to end up playing for the first team at Barça, because that is extremely hard. But being at a club like that has to give you a profile you'd want to take forward in your career. Clearly returning to Impact was not the way to go in strict career terms.

Great insight! You see this too with kids heading off to the big city for university, straight out of high school. One of my classmates in high school got a great scholarship to a university 500 miles from home, in a big city, at a point in her life when she'd never been away from her family for more than two weeks at any time. She wasn't a super shy person, but reserved enough that she struggled to adapt to her new environment and returned home after one term, never to return to university again.  The big questions: Was she simply not ready? Or would she have ever been ready?  

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He came on in the 56th for Bojan. Sejdic had a go and Ballou almost looked disappointed that he scored because Sejdic didn't lay the ball off for him. Got quite a few touches and made a few good lay offs but overall gave the ball away more often than not. Henry was very loudly yelling at him to press at certain points definitely something he could work on. Looked upset at himself when he couldn't get past the defender one on one and gave up when he lost the ball. 

Definitely will need to be better next time out if he wants to keep playing but being back and being healthy is a good start. 

Edited by JuicyHam
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2 hours ago, JuicyHam said:

He came on in the 56th for Bojan. Sejdic had a go and Ballou almost looked disappointed that he scored because Sejdic didn't lay the ball off for him. Got quite a few touches and made a few good lay offs but overall gave the ball away more often than not. Henry was very loudly yelling at him to press at certain points definitely something he could work on. Looked upset at himself when he couldn't get past the defender one on one and gave up when he lost the ball. 

Definitely will need to be better next time out if he wants to keep playing but being back and being healthy is a good start. 

what continues to concern me about him is the "...and gave up when he lost the ball" and "...loudly yelling at him to press at certain points...".  These are somewhat teachable but you need the right attitude to do that.  That is what he needs to change

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I remember seeing him live a couple years ago when he played for Barcelona B and the coach was barking instructions at him what seemed like the entirety of the game. I assumed it was bc of “being a foreign player” that may miss instructions during tactic-talks or just being still somewhat new to the tactical style that was demanded from him.

After reading the comments I’m second guessing those assumptions.

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36 minutes ago, cronaldo7 said:

I remember seeing him live a couple years ago when he played for Barcelona B and the coach was barking instructions at him what seemed like the entirety of the game. I assumed it was bc of “being a foreign player” that may miss instructions during tactic-talks or just being still somewhat new to the tactical style that was demanded from him.

After reading the comments I’m second guessing those assumptions.

I agree. Those little details, like head down after his team scores because it wasn't him, those are bad signs. And his mentality defending, or when losing a ball on a dribble. Some small but important negatives. 

I agree they were all present when at Barça B.

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Ballou gets one to pull within a goal late in the game, but Impact ultimately lose 3-2 to New England.  He had a couple of good runs though so hopefully Henry sees enough in his offensive play to keep giving him game time.  I don’t know enough about the Impact squad to know the odds of him getting a starting spot anytime soon but he didn’t hurt his chances tonight.   

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The goal will help his confidence, but the rest of his play was also important and impressive.  You just feel and know he's dangerous when he has the ball.  What's fun is , it's obvious that even coming on as a young sub, without many pro minutes, the defenders know exactly who he his and what he's capable of.

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