You’re sitting on the bench and you’re fed up – so commit to improving. You’re angry with the level you’re playing at, you think you’re better – so commit to improving. You don’t like your coach – forget him and commit to improving. You don’t like training? So what, commit to your own improvement. Here’s my guide to improving.

Are you on a mission to improve your game? All that matters in soccer is learning, developing and improving. All that matters is growing. All that matters is getting better. All that matters is developing the skills that will help you be the very best you can be.

Don’t sweat not being in the squad. Don’t worry about starting on the bench. Don’t panic about the level you’re playing at. You’ll get in the team. You’ll get to play from the first minute. You’ll move up a level. But only if you commit 100% to learning, developing and improving.

The footballer who is passionate about learning, developing and improving is the confident player. She’s the one who says “I trust my ability. I accept tough times in soccer. I am going to be patient. I am going to dedicate myself to practice.” Trust, acceptance, patience and a dedication to practice help you get to where you want to go.

Here’s a very quick and simple guide on how to learn, develop and improve.

Break your Game Down

Break your game down into different components. Passing, tackling, shooting, movement, runs, positioning…are just a few of technical aspects of the game you may wish to focus on developing.

How might you break down your game for the physical side and the tactical side? What about the mental side? Get a piece of paper and break your game down.

Build Self-Awareness

You can’t improve if you don’t know your strengths and weaknesses. You can’t build what you don’t know needs to be built. You can’t magnify your assets in training if you don’t know your strengths. Self-awareness is a crucial skill in football psychology – it’s a thinking skill that gets to the heart of improvement.

Take a little time to rate yourself out of 10 for each of the component areas you broke your game down to. Pick 2 areas with low scores to develop and 2 with high scores to maintain.

Love Psychology

Football psychology isn’t just important, it’s vital. Focus, self belief, confidence, emotional management and thought control are a few of the topic areas that can make or break your improvement programme.

Learn all you can about your own psychology and soccer psychology in general. Work with a sport psychologist if you can, otherwise immerse yourself in this world by buying books and listening to improvement MP3′s related to this area of the game.

Don’t blame others for the state of your game. Take responsibility for leaving no stone left unturned to be the very best you can be.

Never Give Up

Commit yourself to the process of learning, developing and improving. Never stop. Never ever stop. The soccer player who gets over-emotional because she’s been left out of the team tends to give up by default. She stops focusing as effectively in training because she is overly concerned with her starting position in the team. She loses confidence because her self-belief is built on quicksand – on being in the team!

A player with great football psychology is one who loves to learn, develop and improve above playing the game. Mastery takes care of outcomes. Mastery of skills takes care of performance in the mid to long term. Mastery takes care of your place in the team, the winning of trophies and your career trajectory.

The player who focuses on mastery – on learning, developing and improving – will, by and large, win no matter what!