What are your mental strengths as a soccer player? Do you have mental toughness, particularly under pressure? Do you have the ability to let go of mistakes in a contest? Can you maintain confidence in the face of setbacks? All of these skills are needed to be able to compete at a high level, and I have taught all of this to athletes in over 75 sports so far.
That’s where I come in. As a mental game coach I help athletes at all levels reconnect with their confidence. I help them reignite their passion for the game, and I assist them in finding their mental focus and calmness again. These are all learnable skills. For the experienced soccer player, these skills are still there, but they are lurking under the surface. What I help them do is to find, sharpen and master these mental skills so they rarely have another bout of self-doubt.
My offices are located about 20 minutes south of Stanford University, near Palo Alto, in northern California. This is the heart of Silicon Valley, and anyone living here who works in high tech has very smart kids, and many of these kids play soccer. So I coach many highly intelligent soccer players, and the biggest problem they have with their mind is they attempt to figure out the reasons for their mistakes in the actual game, while the ball is live. Of course when they do this, they are busy thinking and they miss the next play, and the next. My advice is to stop thinking. Stop analyzing what went wrong and just keep playing. Don’t be a scientist and mentally pause to look at the reasons for your poor play. Just dig in, compete strongly and shrug off any errors as normal. Making a big deal of mistakes is a sure-fire performance killer.
Before a game, do you have a system or process you use to mentally transition away from your “normal life” and into your “special sports world”? You should. You need a mind bridge that helps you leave the worries, concerns and focus in your family, school and social worlds so you can focus on your soccer world. An easy way to do this is to use good time management. Create a buffer after your last activity before you leave to go play soccer. Don’t just rush out of the house. Sit quietly for 10-15 minutes and clear your mind out. Visualize how you want to play in the upcoming practice or game. Set some goals for that day. You’ll feel the calming effect this has on your mind, and you’ll play better.
If you have ever noticed in a game that your energy has become flat and your feet have stopped moving, you have probably begun to think too much. This can happen for various reasons, but the key is to become aware of it in the moment. Then use the inverse relationship formula to counteract this. Begin moving your feet much faster and more intensely than normal, where you even feel like you are “over-doing things”. That’s the whole idea. As you throw yourself into more physicality, your mind will stop thinking and your body will start acting. You’ll instantly become more athletic