Profiling the Next Level – Know What Better Looks Like
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.
When I watch some of the world’s best soccer players compete I think of the years of sweat that has gone into the games that grace the greatest football stages. I envision excellence. Those players who kick a ball around the pitches that are encased by stadiums like Old Trafford and The Nou Camp have clocked up hour upon hour of movement, runs, shots, tackles, and headers. They’ve trained and then analysed, trained and corrected, trained and re-analysed, trained and further corrected. They are restless!
The best players, the true champions obsess better. They understand that good is the enemy of great.
They embrace the notion that if they aren’t stretching themselves daily then they aren’t wrapping themselves in a bubble of excellence.
Chapter two of my new book Soccer Tough II helps you start your journey towards discovering just how good you can be – maybe one day you’ll tread the turf of one of the stadiums mentioned above. To do so you have to take ownership of your game – you have to dictate your progression. From Soccer Tough II:
Becoming the best you can be requires you to take ownership of your game. It is not up to anyone else to make you better. You are accountable. It is for you to set your practice targets. It is for you to break down your game and formulate a strategy to improve.
To be the best you can be you have to profile the next level.
Unfortunately all too often I see the reverse. I meet players who rely on others to set the pace. They want to be told what to do. They depend on the coaching staff. These players may well be fit and strong and skillful, but they aren’t students of the game and they aren’t students of their game. They don’t progress with the kind of rapidity and speed that a champion demands of him or herself. It is up to the individual soccer player to take responsibility for his or her learning and for his or her improvement.
My message in chapter two is simple: to be the best you can be, you have to profile the next level. You have to take time to think about what better than you looks like. What saves you’d make, what challenges you’d win, what runs you’d make, what space you’d find. What does better than you look like? What does better than you feel like?
This is what I do with my clients. It is a critical essential that drives their improvement. I don’t want them relying on their coaches – not because they have bad coaches, but because I want them to take possession of their improvement plan, of their improvement process.
I want them running out onto the training pitch knowing exactly what they’re going to be working on and what they’re going to be focusing on. To do this they need to have profiled the next level. They need to know what better looks like.
Chapter two in Soccer Tough II gives you a step by step guide to breaking down your game into the main components of soccer. What does better look like technically? What does better look like physically? What does better look like tactically, mentally and socially?
Just think how much you’ll speed your improvement if you know exactly what you need to get better at. I want you to profile the next level. I want you to compile an exciting list of progression points for every area of your game.
From Soccer Tough II:
Take your time. Try to pick 2-5 areas under each component to focus on. Stretch yourself and think about the game outside of your comfort zone. Be detailed. That vision of better will shape your future football.
Beg, steal and borrow from others. What does your coach think? How about your parents or team mates? What about a former coach or mentor of influence. The view others have of your game is likely to be quite different from your own and that’s ok. That’s useful.
Once complete you’ll have a list of your soccer 2.0. Perhaps a quicker, stronger game. Maybe a more skilled, more controlled game.
Isn’t that exciting? Striving for a better soccer you. Striving for an incredible soccer you.
“I’m not going to rely on anyone to develop my soccer. I’m going to develop my game. When I attend training I’m going to take charge. When I do the skills and exercises my coach has set me and my team mates I’m going to look to improve my game – quicker, stronger, see more, do more. I’m going to stretch myself. I’m going to be the best individual I can be and I’m going to be the very best team mate I can be. My coach will help me, but I know it’s up to me. I know I have to take charge.”
This is what I want for every soccer player. This is what I want for you.
Related Articles: Dan Abrahams on GoalNation