How to Help Young Footballers Find The Zone

How to Help a Young Footballer Find The Zone

Soccer Psychology Tips: How to Help Young Footballers Find The Zone

Many children do not know how to mentally prepare before matches

As a parent you naturally get worked up before your children compete in a football match.  You might worry that they’ll make a mistake that costs their team a goal.  Or how they’ll deal with making a mistake.  You may even worry if they’ll be upset in the car going home and sulk in the back seat because they performed badly.  Or you may get frustrated when you see them not getting involved because you know they are better than what they are showing.  You question their decision making and why they are frightened or timid.  

Why do you think like this? 

Ultimately, you’re a football parent who wants to see your children perform to their best more consistently but……

Underneath the behaviours that take place, your child puts him or herself under lots of pressure before matches and in matches.  

So how do you, as a parent, help them get into the optimal “performance zone”? 

With the 1000’s of youngsters I’ve supported I’ve come to understand that the time before they compete in a match is hugely vital yet both parents and children do not use the time very effectively.

These are some of the common challenges I’ve noted:


– Worry about letting their team-mates down

– Worry about letting the coach down

– Get overly anxious before competing and withdraw from events or are sick in the changing rooms


– Distract their kids by the way they communicate on the journey to the match

– Can compare their child against other children

– Talk too much about potential results or scores


– Offer too many instructions before matches

– Can concentrate too much on the negatives 

– May struggle containing their emotions 

So how can we help young footballers before matches? 

I’d love to know what you think? What things work and do not work for you? What strategies would you advise other parents to use before football matches? 

Parents: you may or may not be aware, your behaviour has a big impact on how your children go on to perform and on their mental approach.  

We’d love you to help us and get in touch so that we can address your top challenges in future blogs, so that we can help your children get into a helpful mindset before matches. 

Please take a few minutes to offer us your thoughts.

Click on the button to the right that applies to you to fill in a quick survey.


A fantastic way for young footballers to start playing at their best more consistently is to help them mentally prepare before matches.  This is the motivation from this survey.  In the coming weeks I’ll share results and provide tips for young footballers.

Also please feel free to pass this article on to coaches, players and parents.

Your answers will really help me for content on future posts and resources to help parents, coaches and young fotballers.

For regular Football Psychology or Youth Sports Psychology updates why not sign up to “The Mental Edge”.

Or to get in touch for 1-2-1 Online Sports Psychology Coaching with a Leading Sports Psychologist, David Charlton, based near Newcastle Upon Tyne or his team who are situated in different places in the UK and overseas. 

David Charlton Sports Psychologist

Best Wishes 

David Charlton


Online Soccer Psychologist who supports soccer players with their mental game all around the world from USA to Ireland and England to Australia, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.      

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster.     


T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

Search Our Sports Psychology Website

Popular Categories

Mental Edge Newsletter

Are you an athlete, coach or parent that would like to learn how to create sustainable high performance? Receive our free regular newsletter, where we share proven mental toughness and high performance tips and strategies. If you want some support and motivation straight to your inbox, then sign up below.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.