Soccer Players Need To Have Energy & Confidence
A global sport psychologist and author specializing in soccer, Dan Abrahams is based in England and has helped hundreds of professional soccer players – many of them who play in the English Premier League (EPL). Recently helping a Crystal Palace player succeed on the field, Abrahams has held contracts with QPR, Fulham, and West Ham United among other clubs and works quietly, behind the scenes with many coaches from top clubs across the Atlantic. Abrahams is a columnist for GoalNation and wants to share his expertise on player development with our readers.
DAN ABRAHAMS ON WHAT SOCCER PLAYERS NEED TO KNOW
Over the next couple of months, GoalNation has invited me to talk a little about each chapter of my new book, Soccer Tough 2. These exclusive articles also give me the platform to expand on the contents of each chapter, providing you, the reader, with plenty of new philosophies, tools, and techniques to play your very best soccer in 2016.
What Soccer Players Need To Know
What to be a game changing player? How do you prepare for a soccer match?
Here are tips from an expert with years of experience working helping professional soccer players be their best.
Soccer is a feeling. It’s an emotion, a mood, a sensation that rips through your body. It’s a vibe, an air, an aura, a bodily instinct.
Sometimes you take to the pitch and all of those inner qualities are positive and helpful and constructive. Sometimes you feel unbeatable and indestructible. Other times you cross the white line and you feel negative – your spirit is low, your internal experience destructive.
Football is a feeling and I’d like you to feel it now. Put yourself on the pitch into the position you favor and throw a ball, your teammates and an opposition into the mix. And play
This is how I open chapter seven of my new book Soccer Tough II. It’s the first chapter of section two – a section that provides you with vital mental tools that will help you to prepare to play.
I call them your bars because this is how I invite you to see them as if they are bars that you can fill. Think of the bars that you see in a video game. The fuller the bar the better. You have a confidence bar and you have an energy bar. Your job, as part of your preparation for a match, is to raise your bars to their fullest capacity. As the game progresses these bars may be depleted, so you need to start with them at their fullest.
What do you have to do in the lead up to the game to increase your confidence and your energy? Think about this now.
Success and the importance of Confidence in Soccer
It’s always interesting when I speak to players about confidence. People tend to see this mental quality as something that is almost mystical and magical, and in many respects, I agree that there is something intangible about it. Although in my work I try to make confidence as tangible as possible. I do this by asking my clients what confidence looks like to them.
Try to answer this question for yourself. The answers vary but often revolve around great body language, being vocal, being on their toes, and having fun.
I ask the pros “When you’re playing and competing with confidence what would I see?”
When I hear answers like these my response to clients is simple, “What do you have to do in the week leading up to a game to improve your body language, to be vocal, to play on your toes and to have fun?” I try to help players break down confident play into tangible qualities that they can work on during the lead up to a match.
What are you going to do in the days leading up to a match that is going to give you the best opportunity to play with more energy than everyone else?”
A simple question on when it comes to energy, but the reality is soccer players rarely ask themselves this kind of question.
Answers range from the obvious to the more complex. For example, a common answer tends to be taking on board carbs. No one can dispute this. Less usual answers may include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, spending times away from soccer or using breathing exercises before kick-off.
Soccer players get excited in the build-up to a game. They can’t wait to get out there and compete. Yet few prepare as thoroughly as they should and could. And I’m not just talking about the right time to eat and have your kit bag ready on time. I’m talking about the small things a soccer player needs to do to increase his or her confidence for the match and increase his or her energy levels.
Players need to start seeing their confidence and energy as bars. And they need to engage in actions and behaviors that increase these bars. Then they can run onto the pitch knowing that they are match ready and match fit.
Related Articles: Dan Abrahams on GoalNation
Originally published on March 9th, 2016