How to Perform Well Despite Mistakes
In a recent response to our soccer survey, a player wanted help with her mental game during soccer matches:
“The thing I struggle with most is performing when I miss an opportunity in a game. If I miss scoring a goal that I should score, I dwell on it and it ruins my confidence for the rest of the game.”
“For example, sometimes I don’t want another chance because I’m scared I’m going to miss again and then people are going to judge me which would negatively affect me even more.”
This is a common mental game challenge with many young players.
There are a couple of things at play here, so let’s take one at a time.
Dwelling on Mistakes
When you dwell on a mistake, it will most certainly attack your confidence and cause you to not focus on the present.
The longer you dwell on that mistake, the more it will chip away at your confidence.
For example, your teammate centers the ball to the far corner of the goal and puts it right on your foot…
The goal keeper is out of position and all you need to do is tap it in the goal but, instead, you push the ball wide just outside of the post. You have that “I can’t believe I just missed that” feeling. It seemed like the easiest opportunity you ever had to score a goal.
Of course, you would feel frustrated, disappointed and angry. Who wouldn’t? It may be difficult to deal with those emotions in the moment. It is those intense emotions and negative thoughts that cause you to dwell on that mistake, hurt your confidence and make you fearful of repeating that mistake AGAIN in that game.
Fear of Being Judged
Fear of being judged is a huge issue for young soccer players. In your mind, you just missed a “sure thing.” That miss could cost your team the win.
Not only that, your teammates might blame you for the loss. Your coach might become angry. You feel your team may lose faith in your ability and see you as the weak link on the team.
That is a heavy load for you to bear. You think, “I don’t want to mess up again. I don’t want the ball.” This further affects your play during the game.
You don’t have the confidence to go for the ball and may pass the ball when you have a clear opportunity to push the ball down the field.
What’s the Solution
First, you should understand that these types of missed opportunities happen at every level of soccer, including international soccer. Mistakes happen.
You probably have noticed elite scorers in the world appear frustrated as they bury their heads in their hands after missing what seemed to be an easy goal.
Instead of going into a shell and not wanting to make a play with the ball, these elite players look for redemption or another opportunity to produce on the field.
If you want to keep your confidence intact, look for opportunities in the moment to impact the game. Find an open teammate. Make decisive passes. Aggressively go for the ball. Break towards the net to put yourself in position to score.
Finally, you have to let go of the worry about how others are judging your game. Are they really making these judgements or is it more in your mind? It’s not just about your performance…
You are one player of 11 on the field. Your team needs you to stay in the game mentally to help them out.
Discover Mental Game Secrets to Soccer Confidence!
Does your confidence seem to disappear when you go from practice to games?
Do you get nervous and anxious in big games or when under a ton of pressure?
Do you get so frustrated after making a bad pass that your confidence sinks?
If you are ready to improve your mental toughens and perform with ultimate self-confidence in games, check out our program:
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- Coaches: Boost your team’s confidence using simple proven mental strategies.
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Learn the top eight mental game lessons for soccer players to boost your mental game and improve consistency. You’ll learn how to mentally prepare for games to performing under pressure to building unstoppable confidence!
What are our mental game program customers saying?
Michelle had the best weekend of soccer she has ever played. I’m not just saying this because you have been working with her (I promise!). She was relaxed, did not get frustrated with herself or teammates, never once ‘shut down’ and actually smiled a couple of times. Numerous parents noticed a difference in her composure and attitude. A college coach sent an email last night expressing interest–commenting on her level of play during the weekend. Thanks again for EVERYTHING…Michelle is in a very good place right now!”
~Diana, Michelle’s Mother
“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.”
“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.”