Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with almost 1/3 of the world’s population involved in the beautiful game. It maybe one of the 8000 indigenous sports on our planet, that is the closest to the word: PLAY. Everyone can play soccer, you need very little equipment and you belong to a sport which improves cardiovascular health, challenges coordination and agility. The most thrilling thing about the game is that is overrides all barriers of race, creed, colour and economics. Soccer may be the game that could heal the world if we let it!
The world has come to know the sport of soccer as a passion, a fever, a fabric of life. What is soccer without the mind? My first question to players is: Did you sign up to be a professional soccer player, or a professional runner? In the early stages of their training they will have to learn the fine art of running. Then the next stage of development is when the body coordinates the feet with the ball. The final stage is the body, ball and mind working together. It takes a long time to develop all the skill sets required to be a well-rounded player. This publication has been created to discuss and experiment with the 95+ characteristics that make up a true soccer player. In writing this under the umbrella of brain science, I hope to put the word PLAY back into a game for life with more a solid foundation for teaching and coaching young players, competitors and professionals.
Soccer is played with one simple rule, run with the ball and get it in the net, or keep it out. Many people can run fast, several players can keep the ball on their feet, but only champions can do this consistently day after day. It may be worthwhile for all young players to watch soccer players back in history. This simple game was based on respect and sportsmanship. Please take time to watch a wonderful documentary on the great Bobby Charlton of Manchester United for example. You will see that the mental portion of the game, attitude and facing adversity are valuable skills. Mental Toughness is not a rough player with a huge ego…mental toughness is consistency under all conditions.
Mental training creates consistency when the athlete soccer player is open to learning. Mental training is about change. The brain is a complex space and a storehouse of information. The brain, just like your computer needs maintenance and updates. If you believe that soccer is about improving each day, then you are on the right track.
Think for a moment of the best play you ever made in soccer. Why do you still remember this? The answer is simple. Your brain stored this significant memory because it had meaning to yourself. It was a moment in time, you were successful, respected and worthy of your position. Well done.
Imagine in mental training, tools that you can use each day to help you create consistent and constant skills for life. There are 22 mental characteristics as a soccer player or soccer goalie that you can use to increase your game.
Ready to get started?
Please read this list first and then we will break this down together with a lesson for each component, to build your understanding of your mental self. Circle or star * at least three (3) areas you are already good at.
M1. 22 Mental Qualities
1. Logical Soccer Player
The ability to use only the most important facts when moving with the ball on the field/pitch.
2. Balance Reasoning
The ability to select the most effective movement pattern for that play that moment.
3. Strong Decision Making
The ability to see the options in the play and to make the right move consistently.
The ability to use a play from the past (that has been successful)and you remember the detail in accomplishing this movement.
The ability to control the variables in your environment and to store the correction and move on with no emotional baggage.
The ability to remember the steps involved in completing the movement with increased speed and accuracy.
7. Short and Long Term Memory Responses
To remember only the pieces of the performance that are your personal best. Then to store these moments only to build a platform for your next competitive event.
8. Personal and Professional Self Confidence
The ability to know that confidence is stored as individual responses to certain stimulus. The more variables you have stored the stronger the confidence connection in your brain.
9. Internal Worthiness
The ability to know WHY you do what you do. A deeper realization that your opinion counts and your ideas are valued.
10. Self Esteem
The ability to complete a task from A-Z on your own with your personal knowledge and passion for change.
The ability to recognize your own personal knowledge and putting it to use.
The ability to connect concepts that are meaningful to your brain in perspective of something as fresh or new.
13. Soccer IQ
The ability to study your subject matter to get an idea of the depth of thought behind what you know internally as your passion for soccer. Without passion there is no knowledge.
The ability to re-define your openness for change and willingness to learn more each day.
The ability to filter the trajectory and angle of the ball at the same time within the performance.
The ability to see that your work ethic will pay off. Designing a way to see advancement in what you do.
An ability to break down your own performance without personal attachment or emotions.
18. Attention to Detail
The ability to create a visual and sensory picture to hold on to what happened and how to correct it for the next play.
The ability to use stored information for an automatic response under pressure.
The ability to see the various scenarios as possibilities, not absolutes, you adjust quickly to tempo, shape, and speed of the play.
The ability to demonstrate resiliency based on your experience and knowledge of the play you push forward and do not give up.
The ability to demonstrate the same effective skill set and soccer strategies every time, day in and day out.