Soccer Is A Game of Confidence
Soccer at any level is a game of confidence. When you have it, you’re unstoppable. When confidence sinks, you don’t perform up to your capabilities. Confidence for many soccer players is much too fragile in my opinion.
Too many soccer players allow their confidence to go up or down rapidly based upon immediate results or circumstances out of their control during competition. These players have an unstable level of confidence, the reason many players and teams are unable to consistently perform at a high level.
When these players or teams perform well, they have high confidence. But when they lose the ball or miss a goal scoring opportunity, their confidence plummets. What we often see is one mistake leading to three or four more mistakes. This is because most players don’t have the skills necessary to stay confident and composed after mistakes.
In order to be successful in soccer, your confidence must be stable, long-term, and lasting, even under adversity or poor results. Your confidence should be based on your years of training, not the last play or game. Why? Because every player, even at the professional level, will experience set backs and less than perfect performances. The difference is how they react to these challenges.
Great players do strive for perfection, but they react to mistakes with composure. Does this come easily? Absolutely not. The ability to stay confident, composed, and focused under adversity takes training and dedication, just like any other skill in soccer.
The problem is that most clubs and programs neglect mental training and only focus on the physical aspects of the game. Thus, many players have the skill, but lack what it takes to be mentally tough. Nothing is more frustrating than having a player on your team with a high level of physical capability who crumbles under the pressure of competition.
How can soccer players perform with high confidence? Unfortunately there’s no quick solution to mental toughness. Confidence must be developed and maintained just like fitness and strength. When a players shows up to a game hoping to feel confident, it’s no different than expecting to be fit or strong without working out. The mental aspects of soccer (confidence, focus, composure, trust etc) are achieved with consistent training right along side of the physical aspects.