Any soccer/football player envisions themselves performing well on the field. Scoring goals, beating players 1v1, and doing skills to make people's jaws drop.
Before all of these things can even happen on the field there is a battle that needs to be won.
The battle within yourself.
The feeling of nerves or anxiety is a thing that all athletes go through in their life. Nerves can be a good thing because they provide adrenaline, and can be used in a motivational way. When nerves arrive that is when the mindset has to prevail with positive thoughts and “self-talks.”
On the contrary, when these nerves start to impact performance negatively then we can label it as anxiety. When you focus on outcomes (messing up during a game/practice or even losing a game), your anxiety will increase making it very difficult to perform at a high level.
In the past, I wrote a blog on How to Be Confident As A Soccer Player. These two topics are related because improving confidence and reducing anxiety go hand in hand. However, in this blog, I want to go in a different direction.
It would be very easy for me to say that if a player trains and prepares properly then it is easy to reduce anxiety. How can a player prepare well if they themselves don't want to get better?
I could also say that if a player gets knowledge from the coach. What if this player doesn't want to listen to their coach?
This is why I want to focus on internal thoughts because that is such an important thing for athletes. You could be the most gifted player on the earth, but if your mindset isn’t right then it's pointless.
How Do You Win The Battle Within Yourself?
This might seem like a big or "fancy word" but this is another way of saying changing the way that you think. A day in and day out commitment is required to change one's mindset. It doesn't happen right away it takes time.
Being aware of your thoughts and feelings is the key to managing anxiety. Recognizing negative thoughts when they first enter your mind allows you to stop them before they take hold so you can replace them with more positive ones.
Instead of saying "I can't pass with my left foot" a positive spin would be "I'm not the best with my weak foot yet, but I will work on it, until it's improved." This attitude leads to good things because it shows a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is needed for any young soccer player who wants to get better. As human beings, EVERY single skill we obtain in life wasn't just given to us at birth. Lionel Messi did not become one of the greatest players ever, by doubting himself. Cristiano Ronaldo didn't become the highest goalscorer ever, by doubting himself.
All soccer players at the highest level sacrificed and took hours and hours to get better. It takes time and a commitment to improving, and all that stems from the way that We Think.
Clearly defined goals help to measure success. Having goals is a great thing because they lead to positive thoughts and a want to get better. For example, thinking "I'm going to score in my game this weekend" is a very positive statement. That type of goal shows self-confidence which leads to great things.
To take it to the next step, visualizing involves imagining yourself successfully competing at a game/practice. In order to make visualization work, close your eyes and imagine the physical movements that you would make in order to be successful in competition.
More times than not, when displaying this type of confidence and self-belief you are going to go out there on the field and more than likely score a goal! You definitely have a higher chance compared to if you said "I'm never going to score." In that case, you probably will never score.
It seems like a simple thing to say but one of the biggest things young soccer players do is forget to have fun. No pressure or moment should ever take away the love for the game. If you really love playing soccer, forget about everything out of your control have fun, and express yourself. Soccer/Football is a beautiful game and good things happen to those who treat the game the right way!
How We Can Help:
At FuturElitez Soccer, we emphasize a lot on our player's mindset and attitude towards not only football/soccer but life. Not only do we emphasize this with our players, but we put out information for everyone to see such as our blogs, instagram and tiktok. With our podcasts on youtube and our blogs, we try to put out a message to help everyone live their life to the fullest! If you enjoyed this read, it would mean so much to us if you could share this with a friend/family member! Thank you in advance for always reading our blogs on a weekly basis.