How to Prevent Choking in Sports
As a soccer player, you are often told all the benefits of mental training and how mental training can improve your confidence, focus and overall game.
Some soccer players choose to incorporate mental training into their overall training program to give themselves an added advantage during matches…
Some soccer players rely on the top-level physical abilities (speed, quickness, ball handling, etc) to produce victories in games.
Many elite-caliber players have experienced a lot of success due to their advanced skill sets, so they have a “why-mess-with-success” mentality.
But there is a major reason why soccer players cannot afford to ignore mental training…
Soccer is a mental chess match where your mind does more work than your feet.
Let’s examine England’s National Soccer team and their recent loss to Iceland at the Euro 2016.
England is a very talented soccer team yet they have under performed in major world tournaments for the past several years.
England has hoped to revenge their disappointing showing at the 2014 World Cup where they failed to advance out of their group.
Unfortunately, England lost 2-1 to Iceland, a much lower-ranked opponent, and was eliminated in the Round of 16 at Euro 2016.
England scored four minutes into the match, then Iceland responded with two goals in eight minutes and England mentally folded.
While many international soccer clubs have added sport psychologists to their staffs, England opted to focus solely on their physical game.
England may have been physically ready to compete, but the squad failed to account and prepare for the pressure that comes playing in top tournaments.
Sheffield Hallam University professor Ian Maynard is head of Centre for Sports and Exercise, and an expert in sports psychology. Maynard concluded that England choked due to their inability to manage distractions and stay focused in the present.
MAYNARD: “Choking wouldn’t be a bad description of what happened against Iceland. Usually what happens when you choke is that your body doesn’t work properly. Tight muscles inhibit your ability to breath and give you tension. But for me it’s the negative thoughts that get in the way the most. What was probably happening (against Iceland) was that the players were too outcome focused. In other words, all they were thinking about was winning the game and they forgot how to play football.”
Think for a minute about Maynard’s description for choking…
Choking is when your mind interferes with your body working properly.
In essence, your conditioning can be spot on… you could be physically healthy and strong… you could have improved your soccer skills and be one of the best players on the field..
But if you do not mentally prepare for competition, there is a good chance that your mind won’t allow your body to do what you have trained it to do.
Tips for getting your mental game in gear:
Pick 2 – Identify two areas of your mental game that have held you back from playing your best.
–Lack of focus?
–Worry about outcome?
For example, England became too focused on the result of the game instead of their strategy for playing the game.
How can you improve this mental aspect of your game?
Set a small goal to stay focused on one play at a time and to not get ahead of yourself.
Learn Mental Game Secrets to Soccer Confidence!
Does your confidence seem to disappear when you go from practice to games and don’t know why? Do you get nervous and anxious in big games or when you are under a ton of pressure? Do you get so frustrated when you make a bad pass which causes your confidence to sink?
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~Diana, Michelle’s Mother
Do You Make Any of These ‘Costly’ Mental Game Mistakes?
Download our FREE soccer psychology report and discover if you make any of these ‘costly’ mental game mistakes that can block your success.
- How your soccer mind can be your best or worst asset on the field.
- How frustration and dwelling are your worst enemy.
- If you are using your soccer mindset effectively before games.
- Learn the important mental game of soccer skills you need to master to boost your confidence and performance.
What are soccer psychology subscribers saying?
“I have enjoyed and benefited from your emails over the past year or two. I have been a player, parent, and coach in soccer over the past 40 years. Thanks for the assistance with the mental game resources.”
~Kyle Congleton, Soccer Coach and Parent
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~Scott Burgess, Soccer Parent
Mental Game Coaching for Soccer Players
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
We look forward to helping you improve your mental toughness!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“Jaki is amazingly talented. She has a pretty cool way of guiding you to find those issues that are holding you back in your game. Through some pretty clever questions she’s been guiding me to discover the real issues behind my doubts and lack of confidence. With the tools she’s been giving me, I can say with full confidence I am on my way of signing a better professional contract.”
~Lucas Gonzales, Professional Soccer Player in Australia
“Our son plays academy level soccer. Jaki taught him how to focus on mini goals for each game and practice, how to lower his expectations and understand that mistakes are necessary to grow as a player, and helped his perfectionism. We saw a noticeable difference within one month with improvement each month thereafter. He was more confident, happy, and was having fun again at soccer. The confidence has helped him off the field as well to not have to be perfect in everything that he attempts. We can’t say enough about how grateful we are for Jaki!”
~Linda Black, Soccer Mom