7 Things Your Soccer Players Need To Stop Thinking About

When you coach soccer, there will be times when you’ll be coaching players who are struggling with their emotions.

You may have that player who exhibits dramatic mood swings during a game. Or, there is the player who gets upset over the smallest things.

And you will notice another player who gets angry with himself or his teammates over a mistake on the field from ten minutes ago, and can’t seem to stay focused on what’s happening in the present moment.

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You want to talk to your players about the importance of learning how to gain and maintain control of themselves – especially their emotions.

They need to understand that any negative emotions or feelings are being triggered by how they think or what they are thinking about when they competing in a game.

You want to show them that when they think about certain things they are more likely to lose control of their emotions, and thereby, have a more difficult time playing with greater sense of concentration, composure and confidence.

Here are 7 things that you want your players to stop thinking about:

1. Stop thinking about being perfect.  When a player thinks that he must be perfect, there is a good chance that he will continuously get upset with himself or others when something happens that doesn’t fit his unrealistic picture of sports. No athlete or team is perfect. Talk to your players about simply focusing on what they can do to become better players and people.

2. Stop thinking about controlling everything.  When a player thinks and worries about how he can control everything in the game, he will lose control of himself. The player will find himself getting emotionally upset about comments from the spectators, calls from the refs and the actions by players from the other team. Tell your players that they only control themselves and they need to stay focused on their own goals and want they want to achieve or accomplish.

3. Stop thinking about being a know-it-all.  When a player thinks he needs to know everything and/or is afraid of giving the impression that he doesn’t have all the answers, then he will become angry or frustrated with himself every time that his coaches or teammates realize he may not know what to do. Talk to your players about the importance of learning every day and that there is something that every player can learn to develop and elevate his game.

4. Stop thinking about comparing yourself to others.  When a player thinks about and starts comparing himself to other players, especially those who he perceives as being better players, then he starts putting himself down and down plays his own personal strengths and abilities. The player then begins feeling jealous and possibly angry towards the other players. Tell your players that they need to measure their own progress, and concentrate their energies on identifying the steps they will take to become better players.

5. Stop thinking about mistakes as personal failures. When a player thinks that the mistake he just made proves that he has failed as a player, then he will begin questioning himself and doubting his skills or abilities. The player may even thinking that he has simply at sports and could then wonder if he should give up or quit.  Talk to your players about mistakes being part of learning how to be a better player and that even all-star players make mistakes. And mistakes do not reflect their desire and love for the game.

6. Stop thinking about what you don’t want to happen. When a player is thinking and worrying about what he doesn’t want to happen in a game, he is actually creating more anxiety and stress for himself. And these negative thoughts and emotions will put the player into game-time situations where he will experience what he didn’t want in the first place. Tell your players to focus on what they want to achieve or accomplish every time they step into the game. Remind them that by taking this perspective, they will maintain a positive and proactive mindset.

7. Stop thinking about bad experiences from the past. When a player thinks about moments from the past that trigger negative emotions, he will have a more difficult time keeping his attention and focus on what’s happening right in front of him in the present moment. And by losing his focus and composure, this player will end up making poor decisions on the field. Tell your players to produce a highlights film of their most positive and empowering experiences from their past, and only replay these moments in the minds. Players must learn now to shrink the image and emotional impact of bad experiences from their past.

Do you have anything to add to this list of 7 Things For Your Soccer Players To Stop Thinking About?

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