5 Key Ways For Soccer Coaches To Teach Their Players To Mentally Manage Their Game

For any soccer coach, it’s very important to use the team practices to teach your soccer players how to develop and use their mental skills, and at the same time, learn how to mentally manage themselves throughout any game; especially with those challenging and difficult game-time situations that players will often find themselves dealing with.

Here are the five key ways for soccer coaches to teach their players to mentally manage their game:

1. Key Into What You Control

It’s important that you identify and understand the difference between what you can control as a soccer player and what you don’t control. To be a successful player, it is essential that you always focus only on what you do control. You control your attitude, your actions on and off the field, the time you put into practice, how you respond to your coaches, physical conditioning and eating right. Players who think and worry about what they can’t control will become distracted, frustrated, angry, and ultimately lose their concentration, composure and confidence.

2. Key Into What You Want

Many players focus on what they don’t want to happen in the game. They don’t want to look or embarrass themselves. By focusing on what they don’t want to happen, they are simply creating more stress and anxiety for themselves, and at the same time, will probably end up doing those exact things that they didn’t want to happen in the first place. These players are so worried about themselves that they can’t really in the game, and some of these same players will withdraw or hold back. They are more concerned about how they look instead of how they can simply play their best and contribute to their team. The key is to focus on what you want to do on the field. Only focus on what you do want to do in the game and how you want to play. By taking this perspective, you will become a more positive, productive and proactive player, and will see every experience or situation on the field as a learning opportunity to become a better player. When you focus on what you want, you become more assertive, more passionate about playing and basically feel more alive.

3. Key Into The Moment

A successful soccer player knows how important it is to keep his attention and focus in the present moment. If a player finds himself thinking and worrying about what happened five minutes ago or what will happen ten minutes from now, he will not be able to effectively respond to what is happening in the moment of a game. Also, by thinking about the past or future will create more stress or anxiety for a player and could contribute to this player losing control of his emotions. When you keep your attention and focus in the present moment, into what is happening right now, you will play with more mental composure and emotional control.

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4. Key Into Learning

The best soccer players know that they need to have a “student’s mentality” and keep learning new things to become better players. Therefore, it’s important to understand that any mistake in practice or a game is a “teaching moment”, and the players must ask themselves what they can learn from that specific situation or experience. If a player thinks that he needs to be perfect, and can’t make mistakes, then he will only make negative judgments about himself, create negative feelings and probably make bad decisions. By doing this, the player has lost an opportunity to think clearly and objectively about what just happened, learn from that experience and then make the necessary adjustments to improve his game. Also, players should refrain from asking questions that will create anxiety and frustration, and focus on positive, productive and proactive questions that will empower them as athletes. Instead of asking why you make so many mistakes, why you don’t get more playing time or why you are not getting better, you should be asking what you can do to improve your game, how you can improve your focus and concentration or how you can develop your mental skills.

5. Key Into Helping Your Teammates

Too often there are players who are only concerned about themselves and by being self-centered they put a lot of mental and emotional pressure upon themselves. Also, when these players only concern themselves with game statistics, like how many goals a player gets, they forget about all the other elements that go into being successful and winning a game. You want to find ways to use your own personal strengths and talents to help your teammates. To really play big is to play for the greater good which is your team. Every player on the team has certain qualities and attributes that can help that team develop and become stronger; whether it’s their intensity, perseverance, knowledge of the game, sense of humor, being supportive and encouraging, or serving as a mentor to a younger player.

Do you have a mental skills session you like to run as a coach?
Tell us about it in the comment section below…

Article by: Anthony Lanzillo

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