Sports Psychology Tips: Are You a Footballer Who Worries About Your Opponents?
Can you sometimes focus too much on the size or skill of your opponents?
If you do – you will likely be intimidated on occasions. You’ll compare yourself to other footballers and in your mind think they are better that you.
This is one quick way to destroy your confidence.
Some footballers try their best to intimidate the opposition, looking for a chink in their armoury or a mental edge. Other players do it because they know it will give them a better chance of winning the match.
However, self-intimidation is the big thing that stands out as a problem for many footballers, they go on to psych themselves out – on their own. The pay far too much attention to the opposition. An example, I’ve come across a number of times is when a footballer has had a bad game or run of games at a certain ground, they can then fearful and think far too much about the quality of some of the players they are likely to come up against.
What can happen in the mind is:
– Worry too much about the quality of the opposition
– Compare their skills against the other team’s
– Big the opposition up
– Imagine past poor performances and mistakes on that ground
– Criticise themselves
– Think about all the things you cannot do
All of these things are a fantastic way to start a game 1-0 down and with very little confidence.
Solutions: Self-awareness is key
Tip 1: Notice in the build up to a game if you place too much emphasis on the ability of the opposition. It’s very easy done – in today’s obsessive world of video analysis.
Tip 2: Again in the build up to a game, notice if you feel you are studying the recent statistics of achievements of an opponent too much.
Tip 3: In the warm-up, if you feel you are paying too much attention to the opposition – stop.
Tip 4: Focus on you, make a Confidence CV listing your strengths as a footballer and your achievements in the game.
Tip 5: Visualise when you are at your best, what you look like when you score a goal, making a clean tackle, beat a player, put a nice through ball on a plate for the striker…
All in all, comparing yourself to other people is not a good thing to do. It’s very easy to then go on and forget other footballers are humans too and are far from perfect. Let’s be honest, at the highest level in the Champions League how often do you see top, top players make mistakes – it happens every week!
How many shots does Ronaldo or Messi have that actually miss the target?
So if you are a footballer who worries about your opponents, I challenge you to focus on you and the skills that have got you where you are today.
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Sport Psychologist located near Sunderland, UK and willing to travel Internationally. Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence. With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly.
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