Be Curious

Casey Carr


Be Curious

For those of you that were following along with our social media, or my personal social media, you probably already know that I was fortunate enough to travel to Europe to watch my son and a couple other CSF families play in the prestigious MIC Cup in Palamos Spain.  The trip was incredible and the experience for all of us involved was fantastic.  There were a lot of thought provoking moments throughout the trip and one in particular has inspired my latest post.  

I was reminded several times on the trip of one of my all time favorite pieces of advice which is to “Be Curious.” I’m not sure where I heard it first, although I know my grandpa affectionately known as “Papa” has said it to me numerous times.  I’ve had it written on my wall for years and is something I use when coaching people, consulting, and parenting.   

While on the trip we happened to have a free day to tour Barcelona.  Our group went on a tour of the historic gothic area of the city.  For those that have never been to Barcelona it is truly one of the world’s great cities with history dating back thousands of years.  Our tour guide reminded us that the current city of Barcelona has literally been built on top of the old walls of the original city.  The ancient walls go right into local families' apartments, the entrance ways are built right into normal everyday walls, and even ancient columns are buried underneath buildings.  The guide told all the families and kids that every time they see an opening to “Be curious” and explore as you never know what you will find in the city.  

This advice to be curious is one that applies to all facts of life, but as this is a football/soccer blog I’ll give 3 quick examples of how to use this in your everyday quest to improve and develop.

  1. Scanning 

  2. Listening 

  3. Ask Questions


It should come as no surprise that one of the first things I’ve mentioned here is scanning, or “taking pictures.” This is central to the methodology I use when coaching players and being curious is a great way to improve this.  To improve scanning I believe it needs to be a part of your everyday life.  What better way to explore, to see new things than to take the mindset to being curious.  What is around the corner, what new can you find on your walk, did you notice the new shoes, haircut, etc. a teammate has.  Being curious and actively searching for new things will rapidly develop your ability to scan.  It will become a habit, and it is one of the best habits you can have in life, and in the game of soccer.


I truly believe that the best players, coaches, and leaders are always curious.  They have a hunger to learn, to take in more information, to apply it, to try, to fail and try again.  One of the biggest issues I think we have as an American soccer culture is that we are far too arrogant.  What I mean by this is that far too often we will see a drill, or a session and something will be said like “see we do the same stuff they aren’t any different than us” and then completely ignore the session.  If you are curious, and truly humble and want to learn you will dive deeper and find all the small things that each coach (both good and bad) does that are slightly different.  It may be a way to say something, a slight variable in the drill, etc.  Those small points can have big and everlasting effects on your sessions.  What’s fascinating is that oftentimes I find that the best coaches, the ones that you want to learn from, spend all of their time asking you questions about what you do.  It’s incredible.  This is true in business as well, those that ask the most questions, that gather the most information are almost always the best at making decisions, at executing plans.  They are constantly preparing, learning and developing.  It’s a lifelong process.  

Ask Questions:

To be curious means both exploring with our own eyes, but also being unafraid to ask questions.  When given the chance to talk with a player, a coach, a mentor do not be afraid to ask questions.  Why did you do that skill in that situation?  Why did you make that change?  Why did you move there, etc.?  Be curious and ask the questions.  If you can’t talk directly to the person, dive into it more, watch again, see the whole picture, ask yourself why they did that, what did they see?  Ask a friend, a coach etc.  The best way to improve is to constantly ask why, to be curious!  

During the trip we had several opportunities to talk with coaches, parents etc. from around the world. In our hotel was the u12 groups from Espanyol, Barcelona, Liverpool, PSG, and more. We met families, coaches, and players from multiple countries and had incredible conversations about what the kids/club training looks like, what every day life as a player, parent and coach looks like. We saw contrasting styles of play, and contrasting styles of development. As an example the Spanish teams spend much more time on tactics at a young age where the English teams were focused on 1v1 dominance until they boys reach 14/15. Without asking questions and being curious none of this happens. We would have never found out out that there was an American boy playing with the u12 PSG team and what their experience was like moving from Miami to Paris.

Sometimes in life the best advice is really quite simple.  Be curious, explore, learn, explore every rabbit hole and learn along the way.  Everyone wants complex secrets, but often we find that just having a process of lifelong learning is the key.  It’s not rocket science.  A ball and a wall is one of the best tools a young player can have yet we aren’t curious enough to find out why and simply ignore these easy things that could make us great.  I hope you will go out, be curious, find out what the greatest players did, find out why, was it the environment they grew up in, can you recreate it.  Was it complicated or actually quite simple?  Either way “Be Curious” and share with us what you find out!

If you enjoyed this, or any of our other post, please don’t keep us a secret.  Share them with friends, follow us on social media, and let us know what you think?  How are you going to be curious, and what ways have you added this to your life and your game?

Thanks for reading.


PS - if you want to see how the boys did here are a couple of links to their games.

PSG vs. Team ISL 2010’s - recorded with iPhone