How to Set a Mental Boundary on the Field
Pressure is a unique experience for each soccer player and the way you deal with pressure will determine if pressure helps or hurts performance.
The impact of pressure depends on several variables, including the amount of perceived pressure, the competitive situation, and the source of pressure.
The source of pressure was the concern expressed by one player in our soccer survey:
“I can handle a lot of pressure during games. Even when my parents are watching, it doesn’t affect my game too much. My biggest issue with pressure has to deal with spectators. I’m okay during away games but when our team plays at home and there are a lot of people watching and cheering, I get overly anxious and fearful of making a mistake and letting down everyone.”
“Are there any strategies I can learn to help me manage pressure and play better in front of our home fans?”
Worrying about who is in the crowd can affect your focus, the ability to play freely, and your performance. Do you feel you need to be perfect on the field in this scenario?
Do you think that if you make one mistake, you will lose the game for your team and disappoint everyone in attendance? You can hear the cheers from the crowd as you dribble passed the defense and you can anticipate the dejection of the fans when you shoot wide of the goal.
Pressure becomes greater when the home crowd attempts to encourage you after the missed opportunity, “You will get ‘em next time.” You think, “What if I mess up again next time?” So, you shift gears from playing aggressively to playing cautiously.
Worrying about making mistakes is the reason you feel the added pressure playing in front of the home crowd.
You feel the expectations from others throughout the course of a soccer game–even when they are not stated expectations. There is enough pressure playing soccer. There is no need to take on what you think others expect of you.
You can never fully eliminate pressure. Pressure is necessary to help you react quickly on the field, keep your focus sharp, increase your energy and intensity in practice, and give you a sense of urgency during a game. All these factors help you play your best soccer.
Help yourself cope with the pressure by setting a mental boundary prior to the game.
Think About This:
There is a reason for the white boundary lines around the field of play. The white boundary line serves to separate the soccer field from the stands. Another reason for the out-of-bounds lines are to
clearly delineate the players from the spectators.
By mentally setting this boundary line, you commit to thinking only about what matters inside the lines. Your performance inside the lines should be your sole focus. When your mind drifts to thinking about who’s watching from the stands, remind yourself to stay focused on the field.
Avoid distracting yourself and feeling pressure from others by keeping your mind inside the lines.
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Does your confidence seem to disappear when you go from practice to games?
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What are our mental game program customers saying?
With the mental tools my soccer mental training program has given
me, I can say with full confidence I am on my way of signing a better
~ Lucas Gonzales, Professional Soccer Player in Australia
“My son Alex recently completed your Soccer Mental Training program. I can tell you that he has improved his overall confidence and positive approach before, during, and after games. His stress level regardless of the situation is consistently at a positive and healthy level.”
~Luis Quinones, Soccer Parent