Soccer Psychology Tips: A Common Mental Game Error Many Footballers Make
Is being perfect a challenge for you?
It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are or your level of skill. All footballers make mistakes because of mental game errors. These errors can be caused by a lack of self-awareness and a lack of understanding about how to control your emotions, manage your confidence and improve your focus. All qualities attributed to Mentally Tough footballers. In this article I’ll share a very common mistake in the mental game of football that I’ve come across from discussions with top coaches and supporting 100’s of footballers.
Trying To Be Perfect
Think about when you play your best football. What are you thinking about? Not much many people tend to say. You’re free and allow yourself to express your skills.
Now think about the following scenario’s and how they influence your thinking:
- You’re going through a bad patch in a game, where you’ve misplaced a few passes and one of them results in your team conceding a goal.
- You’ve tried to beat your opponent a number of times down the line a few times and he or she has got the better of you.
- Your coach has pointed out in training 3-4 things for you to think about in your game which has knocked your confidence.
- You’ve had a great first half, then struggled to assert yourself in the second half, watching the game fly by.
Do situations like the one’s above cause you to over think?
Over thinking often occurs during a match and can be counter-productive to producing a good performance. It can cause you to focus to try to be perfect to match your own and the expectations that others put on you.
Consciously trying to control your body when you try to pass or shoot, it only makes things much more difficult. Over thinking about your technique goes to build up tension in your body, which means the your natural timing is going to be out of sync and then when you have to pass or cross the ball your feel will be all over the place resulting in you over or under hitting the ball.
If you’re driving a car and thought about where your left hand needed to go to change gear or what your foot needed to do to hit the accelerator you’d crash right! So keep it simple, very simple when you compete. Trust your ability, keep it simple and do the basics well.
Save the overthinking for after the match or when your training. You may even wish to try visualisation exercises or sports hypnosis to help you overcome perfectionist tendencies.
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