Overcoming Setbacks and Adversity
Wouldn’t it be great to train under optimal conditions, play your best soccer every game, be at peak physical condition and never have setbacks of any kind?
Sounds great, but perfect soccer in the zone is not a reality.
It is impossible to be a soccer player without experiencing a wide range of adversity. Throughout your soccer career, you will have ups, downs, obstacles, challenges, injuries, wins, losses, setbacks, successes and failures.
Adversity comes in various shapes and sizes. Some circumstances will be manageable while other situations will feel insurmountable and overwhelming.
You cannot control what comes your way or when adversity strikes, such as an injury, but you can minimize the impact maintaining your focus on what you can control.
When faced with a long layoff, injury, or a slump, how you respond to adversity is all about your patience, persistence, and attitude.
Let’s look at varying degrees of adversity as they pertain to soccer:
1. Being replaced as a starter–Losing your role as a starter is a decision by your coach and you have no control over your coach’s choices. You do have control in how you react to being demoted. You can make the best of the situation by working harder in practice and practice on your own to develop better ball skills.
2. Getting injured–Tearing your meniscus is something outside of your control. Injury can be a frustration experience. Fortunately, you can take control over your rehab regimen and make the best of the situation by learning valuable mental skills.
3. Experiencing a serious life event–Experiencing a life changing event can bring about intense negative emotions. COVID-19 has been an uncontrollable, overwhelming pandemic that has affected every person in every country. World-wide quarantining has placed limitations on every athlete in the world but there is still opportunity to take advantage of the extra time on your hands.
When you are forced to suspend play, you can take control of your training, flexibility, and fitness to have a greater sense of control.
Take for instance the USWNT player and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Carli Lloyd… Lloyd is in the same situation as every other athlete due to the coronavirus…
The coronavirus has many soccer players wondering “What’s next?” Lloyd, who plans on playing in 2021 World Cup or Olympic Games, is making the best of the downtime by ramping up her training and getting in the best shape of her life.
LLOYD: “There’s nothing to worry about. There’s nothing on my schedule. I literally go train. I’m getting more fit. I’m getting sharper, and I’m just able to kind of spend my whole mind on this task of just training and getting better, and I don’t feel rushed.”
It may sound trite but it is true, while you cannot control your circumstances, you can control your reactions to the situations you experiencing.
Making the Most of your Current Situation
Each morning when you wake up, ask yourself, “What positive action can I take today to improve as an athlete?” Write those steps on an index card and place the index card in a place where you can review it frequently.
Decide on a routine or schedule that can help you focus on this one skill, drill, run, or lift at a time, which will help you use this downtime more effectively.
It doesn’t help anyone to lose patience and feel overwhelmed. How can you use your time to become a stronger and faster player when you return to sport?
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“Dr. Cohn, Michelle had the best weekend of soccer she has ever played. She was relaxed, did not get frustrated with herself or teammates, and never once ‘shut down.’ Numerous parents noticed a difference in her composure and attitude. Thanks again for EVERYTHING…Michelle is in a very good place right now!”
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