You think you know football? You think what you are doing is good enough to help you be the best you can be? You think what you do is enough? I think there is still loads for you to learn. There is loads for you to improve – not least of all in terms of your mindset. And especially from other sports. Here is my short guide to learning about mindset from other sports.
Focus like a boxer
If a boxer switches off for a second then the lights can be turned out.
A boxer must build the discipline of focus. Every jab must be seen, every hook must be blocked, every uppercut must be avoided. It is concentration that helps a boxer stay attuned to the danger. It is focus that helps a boxer win!
A soccer player must build the discipline of focus. Every movement must be seen, every position must be noticed, every player must be tagged. A footballer should be thinking “What next, what next” at all times. This question alone can help players manage their concentration. A footballer who is always ready will play one step ahead of the opposition.
Think like a chess player
Soccer is a game of speed and power and strength and physicality. For that there is no doubt. But it is also a game of clever. It is a game of intelligence. Football is as much a game of chess as it is a physical pursuit.
The 21st century soccer player can solve in the moment under pressure. The modern day player can problem solve as problems arise. The world class player can adapt according to the challenge that is in front of him or her.
“I Know when to press. I know when to move and when to stand. I know when to challenge and when to stand up. I can see what the opposition are doing and I will counter with this idea, with that idea. I notice the movement of my team mate is different so I will throw this shape so I make myself available more often. I am intelligent”
Regulate like a golfer
Golfers play a slow game. They play a sport that supercharges their emotions. Thye have time to think…to reflect…to engage in contemplation that summons of emotion…nmore often than not destructive.
You think this doesn’t happen to a footballer? You think soccer is too quick and too instinctive for this? Think again. The brain works in milliseconds. Football works in seconds while the brain works in millisecond. Our emotions are shaped quicker than you can possibly imagine. Football is a game of mindset…it’s a game of emotion.
A 21st century footballer manages emotion. He or she knows how to do so – through breath, through body language, through self-talk. Regulation is as important to the modern day footballer as skill is. It is skill in the mind as much as it is in the body that creates excellence.
Discipline of a gymnast
The gymnast displays mental and physical discipline. From a young age gymnasts are up early working on their torso’s. They work on the most intricate of routines, the most subtle of movements, the most taxing of physical ethic.
The gymnast requires patience and persistence through hurt and doubt. She falls and fails time and again. She experiences bumps and bruises time and again. Yet she comes back time and again. She comes back to reach excellence, to attain world class, to perfect.
Is this you, the soccer player. Is discipline and patience and practice and purpose and persistence and perseverence on the front cover of your day to day playbook? Do you have kind of sport psychology? Do you have this kind of mindset?
If not, why not? Why bother to be anything less than world class. Why bother to be anything less than the best.
Champions sports people work on their sport psychology. You should work on your football psychology relentlessly…without fail…and with passion!