Define the term ‘competitiveness’ for me…take a little time to think about it. What does it look like to you? What does it feel like?

I ask the question because I find that I often have to help soccer players re-define their notion of competitiveness.

Competitiveness is NOT running around like a headless chicken! Competitiveness is NOT getting angry at team mates because they lost the ball! Competitiveness is NOT a win at all costs mentality!

Competitiveness is NOT TRYING REALLY HARD!!!

Competitiveness is far more subtle than any of those approaches to soccer and to sport. It’s as much about clarity, calmness and clear-mindedness as it is about energy, intensity and assertiveness. Competitiveness is as much about awareness, as it is about aggressiveness.

The champion focuses in the moment every moment. The champion attends to the task at hand. The champion has a clear mind ready to anticipate the next play. And this kind of mentality requires a mature approach to the notion of competitiveness. It requires a soccer player to be in a position to self-manage as the game unfolds.
I`d love to help you or your players become a better, more effective competitors. So here`s three ideas:

1. In the lead up to the game strive to get some inner pictures of yourself playing at your best…but also include some visualisation related to managing yourself better. By that I mean managing your thoughts, your distractions, and all the problems that occur on the pitch

2. Go into the game with this simple attitude – “Soccer is as much about my mindset as it is about my performance”

3. During the game strive to keep a clear, focused mindset. It really can be that simple – rather than ‘trying to play really well’…try to just keep a positive, focused mind.

This is what I love about the psychology of soccer. It explains why consistent high performance can be so elusive. I feel that many players, coaches and soccer parents don’t always appreciate the subtle art of performance. Sometimes you have to relax and let performance take care of itself.

If you like this article please do take a look at my Academy. It`s packed full with really simple techniques, tools and strategies to help you or your soccer players manage their mindset as they compete.