Are You Worrying Too Much About Your Opponent?
How do play against a tough opponent?
What is your focus as you prepare for a big soccer game against a strong team?
One way of getting ready for an opponent is to scout the opposing team, get intel from other players and coaches or watch your opponent during warm-ups.
These methods can provide useful insights as to the opponent’s tendencies during soccer games and help with the development of a game strategy.
While it is true that scouting can prove beneficial, focusing too much on the opposing team will detract from your game.
If you focus too much on the opposing team’s strengths, you might be hesitant to play the way you normally play the game.
When you focus too much on the strengths of the other team, you mind starts to drift to outcomes:
- “What if we get caught too deep in the offensive end and can’t get back to help the defense?”
- “What if the opposing team is too quick?”
- “What if they get out to an early lead?”
- “What if we don’t match up well?”
When you are too focused on your opponent’s strengths, it will detract from your overall confidence and take your focus away from what you need to do each moment as the game unfolds.
In order to play soccer at peak levels, you need to focus on your strengths and what you do well while taking into consideration the opposing team’s style of play.
The BYU Lady Cougars played an important game against Utah Valley…
The Cougars were looking to turn around their season as they entered the game with a 2-4-3 record and BYU assistant, Brent Anderson, spent 11 seasons as the head coach at Utah Valley.
Though BYU had some good inside information as to the tendencies of Utah Valley, the Cougars were more focused on their game and committed to play to their strengths.
BYU sophomore defender, Alyssa Jefferson, and her teammates are very familiar with Utah Valley’s personnel.
JEFFERSON: “We know their whole starting lineup. Some of the girls are really good friends because they played club together. It’s always a fun game but our focus is on what we do. If we have the ball the whole time we don’t even have to worry about what they do. That’s the game plan, possession.”
The takeaway from Jefferson is clear: focus on your game, be immersed in the present moment (or playing in the NOW) and compete from your strengths to maintain a high level of confidence.
A Tip for Emphasizing Your Strengths:
Review past practices, scrimmages and games where you played at a high level. Identify and write down, in a notebook, the things you do well.
Enlist the help from your coaches, teammates and parents to point out additional strengths.
This is your strength profile. Prior to every game, find a quiet place to read and review these strengths. This will help you focus on what you do rather than the strengths of your opponents.
Discover Mental Game Secrets to Soccer Confidence!
Does your confidence seem to disappear when you go from practice to games?
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Mental 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?
“Our son plays academy level soccer. Jaki taught him how to focus on goals for each game and practice 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.”
~Linda, Ryan’s Mother
“We try and spend 20 to 30 minutes a day working on the mental aspects of the game. My daughter is really enjoying it and feels it has helped and I know it has worked for her mother and I. I think you need to open a branch up here in Detroit, Michigan because there are a lot of parents and kids up here that need this information. Keep up the good work!”*
“Adam is truly one of your success stories. We purchased the CD program for him last year around this time. He is a soccer goalie and needed more confidence. The change was dramatic and he still goes through the exercises before a big game.”*