Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Soccer Growth

Are you really that positive a person? Do you spend time everyday proactively thinking about playing at your best? Are you directing your thinking or is your thinking directing you? Are you setting goals in your training sessions? Are you actively partaking in deliberate practice?

To grow you have to ask yourself these same questions. You have to get to the heart of your development as a soccer player. You have to be honest with yourself. Are you giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed in your soccer playing?
       Do you have success seeking habits in place, every day?
      Are you examining the areas that need to improve in your game and develop a program to improve them?
            Are you consistent with the quality of your training in every session?

Answer these questions honestly. If your response to any of them is NO then you’re not giving yourself the best chance to be the best soccer player you can be. You are not stretching your mind and body.


Your soccer image guides the belief you have as a soccer player. Your self-belief determines your performance confidence and subsequently drives how you perform under the lights on match day. But it starts with your soccer image so make your image great…. Make it exciting and exceptional!!!

A champion soccer player (from my personal experience) is a master thinker. She fills the image she has of herself as a competitor with positive, helpful and constructive thoughts. She knows her mindset is a choice and she enjoys opening up a catalogue of pictures that embodies her best. She is familiar with her inner movie and comfortable making these pictures big and bold and bright.

                Remember to remember – memory brings bubbles of excellence to the surface. A champion uses these resources of the past. She takes them to envision her best games and her best moments. She does this every day without fail.

A champion soccer player imagines! She dares to dream of accomplishment. She predicts success. Her questions deliver inner sketches of her next match that builds her soccer image and injects her confidence.

                Remember to predict – use your imagination. Imagine a soccer world yet to come. Your next match is going to be your dream game – what does this look and feel like? Build your performance fuel as you approach a match by daring to envision excellence.

A champion soccer player manages her thinking in the moment. She experiences failure yet she puts these episodes to good use. She feeds her mindset pictures of her strengths to build self-belief while allowing thoughts of weaknesses to encourage her to improve every component of her game.

                Remember to perceive positively – perception manages fear before it strikes. Never be a slave to events – your mind must shape how you see everything that happens to you on and off the field.

A champion controls the controllables. She knows what she can manage and what must be ignored. She performs with a focus on her game, with a mindset on the present moment and with specific, tangible processes to execute.

                Remember to write your script – your preparation must include setting plays to think about, and to focus on when you perform. A mental game plan! Come back to your script when you are distracted. Stick to your script when you are losing. Stick to your script when you are winning. Stay in the me, the now, the script.

A champion uses her inner voice and her body language to climb into the zone – to stay zoned in! She energizes herself, she relaxes herself – both through the process of self-management. She notices when she’s thinking negatively and cuts this way of thinking immediately.

                Remember to squash your ANTs(Automatic Negative Thoughts) – let nothing and no-one take you away from your high performance mindset. Allow your confidence and focus to rise – to soar – by spotting and stopping unhelpful, negative thoughts. Get on your toes – be alert, alive, ready for everything that the opposition throws at you.

A champion develops her game by executing success seeking habits every day without fail. That is her commitment to the process of improvement – she knows there is no day off, no break from doing, being and thinking.

                Remember to train hard and to train with quality. Your 10,000 hour journey must be accompanied by effective methods of practice. Immerse yourself in the process of improvement by engaging in deliberate practice. Be a student of the game. Repeat things, stretch yourself and collect feedback from others. It may not be fun, but it is your route to distinction. Working hard is the talent in the game!

When you play – compete with psychology in mind. When you analyze your game – scrutinize with psychology in mind. When you think about building your future game, do so with psychology in mind.
Be a champion on the field. If pressure bears down on you, play to win and not to lose. Play on the front foot and not the back foot. Play with freedom and not with fear. Remove the burden of pressure by climbing onto your toes. Get your head up to survey the playing field – awareness settles your nerves. Enjoy a sense of fun and emancipate your feet by allowing them to dance. Add a pinch of focus to your mindset but let it settle on the plays in your script. Slow if you must – speed up if necessary. The body and mind are the twin joysticks for your performance intensity.

When you take to the field there are your teammates and there is your opposition but the playing surface is yours – YOU own it! YOU will determine how you will play, no one else. That is the belief you need, the inner voice you need, the confidence you need.

Never too up or too down as a consequence of your soccer matches. A champion’s mind stays firmly on course to grow no matter her team’s results. If you win it’s time to improve. If you lose it’s time to improve. If you are ‘woman of the match’ it’s time to improve. Commit to your soccer growth through good times and bad. The mindset you need. That is Soccer Strong.

                *Happy Holidays to all – and to all a Good Night!
                *May you all have the bestest’s of New Years!!!

‘Winning happens in the mind first. If you don’t see yourself as a winner then you need to take                  hold of your thoughts!’

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