Can Your Mindset Affect Your Game?
Why is it that some soccer players embrace playing high-level competition while other players become overwhelmed by nerves?
What causes two teammates to enter a game in two different ways? After all, you are playing on the same field, against the same team, with the same referees, with the same field and weather conditions.
Obviously, some factors can affect the way you approach a game such as mending an injury, a change in role for the game or the amount of practice time during the past few weeks. Even through adversity, some players can play at a high level no matter their circumstances.
How, then, can two soccer players enter similar circumstances with one player revved up and the other player overwhelmed?
The difference can be whittled down to one factor… MINDSET. You view each challenge through the lens of your mindset. In other words, how you perceive each game will affect how you play in that situation.
Positive Mindset vs. Negative Mindset
When you face talented soccer teams or advance to a high-level soccer league, your view of your circumstances will affect your emotions and your performance.
A positive mindset perceives tough games as a way to improve your game. You work hard in practice to hone your skills. A tough challenge is an exciting opportunity to put your skills to the test and to see your hard work pay off.
A negative mindset sees tough games through the lens of fear; fear of mistakes that will cause your team to lose or fear that you will embarrass yourself on the field. Fear causes you to experience anxiety. Instead of showcasing your skills, you play cautiously and miss opportunities to raise your game to the next level.
A positive mindset can help you welcome and overcome challenges so you can take your game to the next level. Case in point is the career of Jonathan Bornstein… Bornstein’s positive mindset has been key in helping him grow his game in a variety of leagues throughout his long career.
Bornstein started his professional career in 2006 for Chivas USA of Major League Soccer. After his stint in MLS, Bornstein has played in Mexico, Israel and for the USMNT. At the age of 35, Bornstein has returned to MLS playing for the Chicago Fire.
When Bornstein played for Ligat ha’Al of the Israeli Premier League, he was excited for the high level of competition and challenging himself to improve his game.
BORNSTEIN: “I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the league or the level of play. And very quickly I noticed the quality of soccer there is very high. They compete in [UEFA] Champions [League] qualifying and Europa qualifying… All the games are competitive, you never know who’s going to win. I felt like the level of play helped me grow even more as a player. I really enjoyed playing in that league.”
Growing your potential only occurs if you stretch your abilities, expand your effort, and challenge yourself on the field. Growth and achieving potential start with a positive mindset.
Maximize your Potential by Changing your Mindset
Embrace the challenge — Since mindset is based on how you see a situation, you want to view games as challenges.
Before each game, ask yourself, “How can this game challenge me to improve my game?”
This means looking forward to testing your skills against the competition instead of panic that you will not do well before the game even starts!
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Does your confidence seem to disappear when you go from practice to games?
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