Do You Play Too Cautiously When Coach is Watching?
There is a common issue for many soccer players including novice and elite players…
When playing a pick-up game, many players are able to be themselves, play relaxed and perform to the best of their abilities… but this can change when coach is observing….
When the coach is watching, some players fret. It is like a switch goes off in their head and they become a totally different player. All of a sudden, these players become petrified of making mistakes or not performing up to coach’s expectations.
They fear they might lose their starting role on team, get less playing time, or face the wrath of their coach.
This fear of a coach’s evaluation changes your focus from playing soccer to the negative mindset of fearing what your coach thinks about how you play soccer.
This fear of a coach’s evaluation is overwhelming for some players.
If you do this, you become anxious, make uncharacteristic mistakes, and play cautiously. Thus, you take less risks.
Does this sound familiar? Well, you are in good company
This problem is no different than the one facing the USMNT during the Jurgen Klinsmann era.
Klinsmann has tinkered with his lineup through the past several years.
During a recent World Cup qualifier, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann inserted five new starters into his lineup against Guatemala following a 2-0 loss the previous week.
Klinsmann, in some players’ eyes, has given preferential treatment to four German-born players that he recruited to play for the U.S.
This sends a very clear and specific message to some players… Don’t screw up!
Imagine you were in this position (possibly you are)…
You would be nervous… You might not take as many risks on the field for fear that those risks may not pan out… You would be focused on trying not to make mistakes instead of focusing on making plays.
These fears put you in a negative frame of mind that practically assures failure.
Former U.S. National Team defender and commentator, Alexi Lalas, commented on the difficulty experienced by players when they are pulled from a game or benched for the next game for having an “off” game.
LALAS: “Just pick a back four and go with it. Recognize that they are going to make mistakes, but they will have the benefit of the consistency in playing together. Instead we see a constant rotation of players and not just that, players who don’t even play defense going back there. It drives me nuts sometimes.”
The most successful players in the world have learned to focus on what they can control… and the one thing you can control is how you approach and play the game of soccer.
Tips for playing your best soccer when the coach is watching:
You must learn to control what you can control.
You need to recognize the things under your direct control: your effort, your focus, your training and your play on the pitch.
The most important thing to realize is that there are many things you cannot control: your coach’s opinion of you, the decisions your coach makes, how your coach reacts to mistakes made on the field, etc.
You cannot control the thoughts and opinions of others. So instead of trying to please others, do what you need to do to be proud of your game.
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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“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
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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
“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!”
~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