Dan Abrahams On Playing at Your Top Form
GoalNation’s columnist Dan Abrahams shares his insights and advice for success on the soccer field for players of all ages. A global sport psychologist and author specializing in soccer, Abrahams is based in England and works with professional soccer players in the English Premier League (EPL).
Abrahams has helped hundreds of soccer players – many of them who play in the English Premier League (EPL) and others who play across Europe. A recent example of his work includes helping Yannick Bolasie make an enormous impact on the EPL for Crystal Palace. Abrahams has held contracts with QPR, Fulham, and West Ham among other clubs and works quietly, behind the scenes with many coaches from top clubs across Europe.
Dan Abrahams on the traits for maintaining top playing form and how the desire to compete can contribute to more than one realizes.
Soccer News: Let me give you a piece of common sense that is, in my opinion, uncommonly executed.
Do what you do, and think how you think, when you are at your very best – then repeat relentlessly.
That is what champions do. That is what the best soccer players, golfers, athletes, boxers, tennis, baseball and basketball players do.
Champions repeat the recipe that drives their personal success time and again. That is their secret formula and it should be yours.
Figuring out what you do best and repeating it — That is your path to consistency.
But this isn’t what most soccer players do. Most soccer players play without a sense of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors they have when they play at their best.
They aren’t aware of what they tend to focus on when they score or keep a clean sheet. They remain blissfully ignorant of the mindset and physical state that helps them make assists, win tackles and headers and get to the ball first.
Many of the answers you need to play your very best soccer consistently are already inside of you. You may not be aware of them right now but the clues are there to be unravelled. You simply need to bring to the surface who you are as a soccer player, what you do when you play at your best – and then repeat, repeat, repeat!
I’d like you to start thinking about you at your very best now. I’d like you to dwell on your greatest games or training sessions. Summon up some great images – create an inner movie of excellence.
What does your best look like? What does your best feel like?
One of the first questions I ask a soccer client, especially one suffering from a lack of confidence, is this: “Tell me about your best soccer.”
This isn’t because I want my pupil to ignore her weaknesses – it’s more because I want to orientate her towards the patterns of thinking and behaviors that she executes when she plays at 10/10, or close to her own definition of excellence.
I want her mind re-living her best because I know this is the template we are going to use for her game face. I want her to become addicted to her most accomplished habits. And I want you to experience the same thing.
I want you to re-live and replay your most proficient performances on the soccer pitch. Once you’ve stenciled this into your mind you have a powerful model to reinforce daily, and repeat relentlessly, come training session and match day.
What does your best soccer look like? What does it feel like? What do others see when you play at your best?
Are you strong, confident, bold, brave, energetic, focused, calm, cool, or upbeat? Are you sharp, alert, alive or lively?
I’d like you to pick one or preferably two words of you at your very best. Let’s call these your key words. The next time you go train or the next time you go play, I want you to use these key words.
I want you to say these key words to yourself and I want you to act them out. I want you to be them and I want you to do them.
It really is that simple. Think about you at your best and hold that picture in your mind. Pick a couple of words that resembles that picture, then go out and use your blueprint on the pitch.
It is important, if not imperative, for you to become a strengths based soccer player. This is how excellence is delivered on the pitch time and again. That is how consistency is done.
Dan Abrahams is a global sport psychologist specializing in soccer. He is based in England and has some of the leading turn-around stories and case studies in English Premier League history.
Abrahams is sought after by players, coaches and managers across Europe and his 2 soccer psychology books are international bestsellers. He is formerly a professional golfer, is Lead Psychologist for England Golf and he holds a degree in psychology and masters degree in sport psychology.
Republished from July 2016
Editorial Credit: Leo Messi plays at the La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at Mestalla on October 22, 2016 in Valencia, Spain. Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com