Mental game  

Setting goals
Building confidence





Soccer is only 50% talent. The rest is attitude and desire. Repeat after me: it's how much you want to get better, and what you do about it that counts

This section explains how to set yourself up to have the best game you possibly can.

It’s easy to have a good attitude toward the game when you are winning and things are going well. It’s a lot of fun. The real question is how you handle it when things are going badly – when you’ve just missed three good chances in a row, smacked the ball into your own goal, had the ball trickle through your fingers, been humiliated four times running by a tricky winger, not beaten anyone all day.

Take an example. You’re a defender. You’ve just been beaten three times. You are feeling down – feeling that you are a lousy soccer player and are probably not even good enough to stay on the team. And that winger is simply too tough – he’ll beat you every time. So next time he gets the ball, you already expect to get beat – which makes it much more likely to happen. Pretty soon your confidence is in shreds, and you can’t wait to get off the pitch.

Here’s how you cope.

Steve Bull and Chris Shambrook are sports psychologists working mainly in England. They advise Olympic Gold Medalists, premiership soccer players, and top clubs, and have identified six areas where mental training makes a real difference:

1)     Setting and achieving goals

2)     Building confidence

3)     Maintaining focus and concentration

4)     Handling pressure

5)     Team work!

6)     Match day preparation

In this section we are going to cover each of these areas.

WARNING. This is not easy. If it was easy, everyone would always be brimming with confidence. So you may need help from your parents or a coach to completely understand and work with this section. It takes a lot of work, effort, and persistence to train yourself to be tough mentally as well as physically. But it is, definitely, worth it.