Soccer by the Dead Sea: Equal Playing Field

Professor Jill Klein tells us of her record breaking game of women's soccer by the Dead Sea, and what it means for developing resilience and a growth mindset.

A couple of months ago I was invited to participate in an amazing experience by Equal Playing Field (http://equalplayingfield.com/).

Equal Playing Field challenges gender inequality in sport and promotes sports development for girls and women globally.

Last year they set a world record for highest altitude soccer game ever played (at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro) and I was asked to join this year's match at the lowest altitude ever played (next to the Dead Sea in Jordan).

I have played soccer for 40 years as a recreational player, so I was very excited to join EPF’s “Jordan Quest”.

But I was also pretty scared as most of the other players were professional and national team players.

I had never played professionally, not even close, and I’m 57 years-old!

I teach growth mindset and resilience to medical students and clinicians, and I recognised this as an opportunity to apply what I teach, and at the same time create videos for past participants in my sessions to review the material in a compelling and fun way.

So, I got my plane ticket and hiking equipment and jumped in.

Every few days I posted videos to Facebook about my experiences along the journey:  how I was trying to take a growth mindset approach to the challenges and setbacks I faced, stories on the coaching clinics we ran and the amazing girls we met (many of whom had never played soccer), and video interviews with incredible women who played with me in the Jordan Quest.

Many of these women had to overcome obstacles just to play the sport they loved in countries where there are substantial roadblocks to female participation in sport.

To review the videos please visit https://www.facebook.com/jillkleinresilience/.  It’s best to scroll down and start at the bottom.

For the world record game, we broke into two teams and I was the coach of the Black Irises.

The game was a fantastic display of skill and determination and we won 4-2!

With UoM’s Learning Environments we are now creating learning materials from the footage I shot in Jordan.

We will be using these videos to reinforce the mindset and resilience session I present during induction week for the new MD1s, and sending video clips out to them at particularly challenging times during their first year.

Clare Delany and I are conducting research on the effectiveness of this follow-up method, and I’m excited to see if the videos help students maintain a resilient approach to the difficulties they face.