Helping Athletes Overcome Setbacks
Bad passes, missed breakaways, and defensive mistakes are very frustrating events for both coaches and soccer players.
Emotions can run high in competition. Your immediate reaction after an error might be to be disappointed and/or tell the player how to prevent the mistake from happening in the future.
From our perspective, you first need to be in control of yourself before you can help the player gain control and regain his composure.
Here are a few tips for helping your athletes play on with confidence and composure immediately following a mistake.
If the player sees that your frustrated after a mistake, that only amplifies the emotional pain for the player. Display composure yourself so the athlete learns by observation how to deal with adversity.
Do not attempt to coach the athlete under the umbrella of anger or frustration. Wait until you calm down before giving instructions. Save your instruction for the next break in play when you and the player have both cooled off.
Pick Him/Her Up
Your reaction to a mistake may be to reprimand the player, but that may only lead to deflating his confidence further, resulting in more mistakes.
An athlete needs to know that you still have confidence in him after a mistake. Even if you feel like benching the player, show him your support with a verbal or non-verbal reinforcement such as a word of encouragement or a pat on the back.
Don’t Dwell on the Error
Dwelling on the error only serves to make you more frustrated and upset. Let the mistake go – it’s in the past, you can’t change what happened. You can only change your reaction to it. And to do your job well, you need to focus on the current play, not the last one.
Composure is a Team Effort
A team atmosphere in which players support each other after a mistake is a mark of a cohesive team.
Ask the team members to commit to showing their confidence in their teammates after a mistake or setback.
Encourage Risk Taking on the Field
In order for soccer players to improve and get to the highest level, they have to take risks. That means taking players on 1v1, attempting to curve the ball in on a free kick, and trying new moves. Inevitably, when players are learning a new skills, mistakes will happen.
Create an atmosphere in practice and games that encourages this type of risk taking on the field. Help your players understand that mistakes are a necessary part of becoming a great soccer player. Praise your players for trying something new, even if it doesn’t work out.
Successful soccer players work hard on their mental game and have learned how to stay confident, composed, and focused even after mistakes. We’ve created “Soccer Confidence” to help you do this. Read more:
Hey, if you enjoy reading our mental game tips, please share this site with other soccer players, coaches, or parents who would appreciate it.
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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.
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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.”
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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?
“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