Mental prep  

Example objectives





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


Reviewing objectives

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 section 10.1).

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 few examples 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 team, though:

  • 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 responsibilities.

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?


1Visualization 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:

1)      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

2)      Identify the specific skill or event you want to work on (e.g. shooting hard and accurately from the edge of the box)

3)      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.