What is a Competitive Mindset?
When is a blowout in a soccer game too much?
At what point should you take your foot off the pedal and go easy on your opponent in a soccer game?
There is a lot of debate over the issue of blowing out an opponent. Some feel that a team should let up if they are scoring too many goals. In their view, it is embarrassing for their opponent.
On the other side, some people feel you should go all out every minute you are playing a game. After all, it is a competition.
Let’s examine this scenario from the mental side:
- No team enters a soccer match with the intent of embarrassing the other team. When players hit the field, their goal is to give 100 percent effort just like they were trained to do. Taking your foot off the gas can become a detriment to your competitive mindset.
- When you train hard, refine your skills and put in all the work necessary to perform at a high level, you want to see the fruits of your labor no matter who you play.
- Executing your skills at a high level in a game requires repetition. It is one thing to replicate your skills in practice but consistency in games helps habituate those skills.
- When you go all out in a game, you build momentum that you can take into the next game. Backing off during a game can making it challenging to switch gears at the start of the next game.
- Going easy on your opponent may not be sportsman-like. It sends a message to the other team that you feel sorry for them which may cause the other team to question their ability and de-motivate those players.
This doesn’t mean you should rub it in. You should always respect your opponent but you should also demonstrate your skills to the best of your abilities when on the field.
Case in point, The US Women’s National Team scored 13 goals in their opening game against Thailand at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
There were a lot of opinions regarding the 13-0 blowout, some believing the US team ran up the score and should have backed off.
USWNT defender Kelley O’Hara commented on the competitive mindset of the US squad and respect for both the game and their opponents.
O’HARA: “You don’t want to take your foot off the pedal because you want to respect the game and play through and play them as we would play anyone else.”
More interesting were the comments made by Thailand coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian after the game and his perspective after the loss.
SRATHONGVIAN: “We accept the score today. We haven’t done enough. We accept that they are very strong and they were excellent all around. We accept our mistakes and we are going to improve.”
You see, you deserve to see the fruits of your training. Therefore, you should play your best every second of the game.
By going all out, you hone your athletic skills and forge your competitive mindset.
Developing a Strong Competitive Mindset:
To develop your competitive mindset, you want to respect your opponents, but never feel sorry that they are losing badly.
If your goal is to want others to like you for being nice on the field, you can’t compete to your full potential.
When up big in the game, keep your foot on the pedal. This is also a great time to work on applying new skills and tactics you’re learning in practice.
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