How to Keep Your Emotions in Check
Competitive fire is the level of intensity you carry with you to soccer games.
Competitive fire comes from a strong desire to win soccer matches or to be the best player on the field.
Competitiveness can provide you with the extra edge to fight for the ball, make strong runs down the field and put extra pace on the ball when you have opportunities to score.
Competitive fire is the ability to dig deep and profoundly impact the game.
Unfortunately, impacting a game doesn’t always mean impacting in a positive manner. Sometimes, competitive fire can spill over into out of control performance.
For example, if you are hustling for the entire first half but you believe some of your teammates made a couple of lazy plays, the tendency may be to yell at those players or get frustrated with them.
Competitive fire can give you a tremendous edge during games.
However, if your competitive fire is not under control, your emotions can cause you to make critical mistakes during the course of a game.
This was the case with the USC Women’s soccer team in their season opener against Hawaii…
Though USC won 3-0, sophomore forward Penelope Hocking let her emotions get in the way of her game. Hocking, who was the leading scorer for the Trojans last year, received a yellow card after acting out in frustration over a non-call that she deemed was a foul.
Hocking’s competitive fire can be considered both a blessing and a curse at times.
HOCKING: “I knew that I screwed up. I knew that was a moment when my emotions got the best of me.”
Hocking, who has scored 21 goals in 28 collegiate games, admits that her competitive fire can become a overdone at times which has the potential of hurting her team.
HOCKING: “I’m there to score, do whatever I can to help my team. Sometimes that brings out the worst in me… My emotions got the best of me at certain times and I’ve lashed out on certain ways that I’m unhappy with.”
“I’ve worked to change it because I’ve noticed it myself and I’ve been like, ‘I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to be this player.’ I think I haven’t lost that competitiveness and that drive that I have — and I don’t want to lose that. But I’ve also channeled my emotions better.”
Keeping that fire alive gives you and your team an advantage over your opponents. You don’t want to squelch that competitive fire but keep it under control.
As you learn to manage your intensity and emotions during the course of a game, not only will you have a physical edge over your opponents, you will have a mental edge as well.
Harnessing Competitive Fire
High competitiveness requires emotional mastery. For this reason, it is necessary to develop strategies to control your intensity.
If you’re super competitive, you want to learn relaxation strategies (such as: calming breathing exercises). In addition, you want to learn how to let go of frustration when you or your teammates are making mistakes or behind during the game.
One important tip is to not press or try to “get back” a goal score on your team, or a missed opportunity on offense. Pressing only causes leads to making mistakes and fouls because you’ll over play opponents or play too aggressively.
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