When Pressure Kicks in During Games
How do you respond after an opposing team takes an early lead in a game?
Are you able to respond in a positive manner and focus on your game or do you succumb to the pressure of playing from behind?
Often in soccer, an early goal by your opponents in a game can create a heightened sense of pressure.
Playing from behind may cause some players to become anxious…
You start playing reckless and undisciplined. You play out of control…
You begin to over-think your decisions instead of relying on your instincts…
You may try to do too much and lose the ball at inopportune times…
The result is that your desperate play gives your opponents a tremendous advantage as they dictate the action on the pitch.
Many coaches preach to their teams to play with a sense of urgency when trailing in a game.
But what does a sense of urgency mean?
Some athletes think a sense of urgency means playing harder which often leads to reckless play and poor decision making.
Playing with a sense of urgency is a combination of hustle, focus and execution.
Playing with a sense of urgency is increased effort but within the framework of the game plan.
A great example of responding negatively to trailing in a game is Brazil’s 2014 semi-final World Cup match against Germany.
Germany advanced to the FIFA World Cup Final with a dominating 7-1 victory over Brazil.
Germany set the tone early scoring eleven minutes into the game. Twelve minutes after their first goal, the Germans put on an offensive clinic scoring four goals in six minutes.
During Germany’s scoring barrage, host-team Brazil lost their focus and appeared frazzled for the duration of the game. Brazil never recovered and was ousted from the World Cup in demoralizing fashion.
Germany coach Joachim Low thought the Brazilian team was overcome by the pressure of the situation and conceded the loss even before the game was over.
LOW: “We took our chances well and they [the Brazilian team] strained under the pressure caused by conceding.”
Germany midfielder Toni Kroos felt the Brazilians played anxious and back on their heels affecting their decision-making and play on the field.
KROOS: “We [Germany] started believing from the first minute as we thought that Brazil was a little bit hesitant in their decision-making and we took advantage of that. After we scored the first, the goals kept coming.”
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said his team was overwhelmed and lost their focus after they trailed Germany early in the game.
SCOLARI: “We couldn’t react to going behind. We got disorganized and panicked after the first goal and then it all went wrong for us.”
Try these tips to properly play with a sense of urgency when trailing in a game:
- Keep your composure. That may sound easier-said-than-done but take a few deep breaths. Communicate calmly with your team and follow the game plan.
- Stay focused on one play at a time. Stay in the present and look for your current opportunities instead of trying to do too much.
- You should practice different game-type scenarios during scrimmages… and remember that your mindset in these practice situations will gradually seep into your play during games.
Improve your mental game in soccer today with our Soccer Confidence Workbook and CD Program!
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?
Check out Soccer Confidence: Mental Toughness Strategies For a Competitive Edge
Learn proven strategies to improve focus, composure and confidence so you can perform at your peak in games!
Players: Get the mental edge by learning how to take control of your confidence, mentally prepare for games and perform with composure under pressure.
Trainers: Learn how to give your students the mental game advantage.
Coaches: Boost your team’s confidence using simple proven mental strategies.
Parents: Help boost your soccer player’s confidence. Don’t let their mind hold them back any longer.
Soccer Confidence: Mental Toughness Strategies For a Competitive Edge
What are soccer confidence customers 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
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.
7 ‘Costly’ Mental Game Mistakes That Block Soccer Players’ Success
What are soccer psychology subscribers saying?
“Dr. Cohn, Michelle had the best weekend of soccer she has ever played. She was relaxed, did not get frustrated with herself or teammates, and never once ‘shut down.’ Numerous parents noticed a difference in her composure and attitude. Thanks again for EVERYTHING…Michelle is in a very good place right now!”
~Diana, Michelle’s Mother
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?
“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
When you’re behind the pressure really sets in. Either you fold under that pressure or you thrive! It’s important to remember that the game is never over until the whistle blows. Don’t panic over the score, focus on what you can control is that moment.