1You need to
prepare yourself mentally to play well. This three basic elements:
reviewing your objectives
understanding your role in the team
visualization and getting ready
As described in 10.1 below, you
need to set your Performance Objectives for the game. You should review
these, along with the rest of your
Reminder List, as you get to the game (these terms are explained in
Remember, itís best to find ways to
build numerical targets for your objectives.
For example, letís say you are a
forward, and want to make more penetrating runs. You can set yourself a
target of making 5 runs behind the defense during the first half. Or as a
defender, you can set yourself the target of winning every 50-50 ball that
you challenge for. Or as a midfielder, you can try to pass the ball
accurately to a teammate 70% of the time.
The point is for you
to define the ways in which you are going to measure your
success. Of course, itís great to share this with the coach after the game Ė
heíll be delighted that you have these clear objectives, and heíll want to
know how well you did in meeting them. But they are still yours.
Click here for a
of objectives you might adopt.
Understanding your role on the team
Teams only work if everyone
understands their part. In soccer, that means understanding your position
and the systems of attack and defense your team uses.
You have several ďrolesĒ on the
- You have a
position. Left back, striker, goalie Ė a position is short-hand for a
set of placements and activities on the field. Still, what a left back
does on one team is not the same as the left back on another. One may be
entirely defensive, the other a more attacking player. One may play
man-to-man defense, the other zone. They may have different dead ball
So knowing your position is just part of your
understanding. You also need to know what that position does within the
teamís system of play. Sections 4 and 5 on defending and attacking contain a
lot of information about this. Youíll have to pick and chose the information
thatís right for your team ,and you should make careful notes in the book
about how your team plans to do thing.
- You might also
want to think about your social role. Are you the dependable
defender, the streaky striker, the mid-field enforcer, the laugh-a-minute
joker? Where do you fit in the social side of the team?
and getting completely ready
Itís important to be physically
prepared, to understand your role, and to have clear objectives.
Some players find that it can be
extremely helpful to work on visualization either immediately before a game
or the night before. There are a number of books and DVDs that can provide
detailed instruction here if you are interested (see Resources), but the
essence of the idea is simple:
Put yourself into a quiet state, preferably lying quietly on
your back or sitting up straight in a chair, in a dark or nearly dark room
Identify the specific skill or event you want to work on (e.g.
shooting hard and accurately from the edge of the box)
Slowly, in your imagination, walk yourself every second of the
action. Feel yourself running into space, calling for the ball. Here it
comes Ė place your standing leg just right, draw back your shooting leg,
then strike the ball at exactly the correct spot with your instep. Follow
though fully, then run on for the rebound.
Try to be as detailed as possible
in imagining this situation. The better the imagination, the more it will
prepare you for the real thing.
This is a terrific exercise when
you are lying in bed. Just repeat it until you fall asleep.