How to Stay Motivated During Plateaus
Are you frustrated by your lack of improvement? Many soccer players become bothered when they don’t see immediate improvement in their game.
Watching teammates improve their game when you feel stuck in a rut is even more frustrating.
One problem is that many soccer players set their expectations too high. Some soccer players expect instant results, “I’ve worked hard, therefore I should see results,” or “I put in twice as much effort this spring and I should have improved a lot more.”
Expecting instant results sets you up for failure, frustration, and fractured confidence.
Improvement is incremental. In sports, we hear so much about “focusing on the process” but the axiom is true. You need to be patient and willing to work through the process.
In our Mental Game of Soccer Survey, we receive many questions about improvement. One player asked the following:
“How do I improve my in-game fitness and on-ball skills?”
The answer is a little bit at a time. The effort you give puts you on the right path. If you don’t see improvement, it is easy to become frustrated and back off. Remember, improvement is incremental.
When you put in the work, you will first see results in drills. As you become more proficient, you will see improvement in your practices. As you continue to put in the work, you will notice improvement in scrimmages. Eventually, you will see a big difference in your game-time performance.
Be patient and keep grinding in practice. Stay focused on the process and not overly focused on big gains. Understand that progress happens in small steps, not giant leaps.
Further, it may be hard for you to recognize your progress. Ask your coach or a trusted teammate to give you some honest feedback so you can assess your progress.
University of Pittsburgh men’s soccer program has steadily improved their performance since Head Coach Jay Vidovich was hired in 2016. Since 2016, the Panthers have steadily improved their record and are poised to make a run in the 2021 NCAA tournament.
Vidovich has preached the importance of focusing on the process and steady improvement.
VIDOVICH: “We have had our eyes on the big picture. We’ve had to go through certain things to evolve as national championship caliber program. I am proud of these guys, as they’ve worked hard. They’re ready for this next step.”
The big picture is a combination of small things and little improvements that lead to greater success. Sometimes, your performance will plateau.
Pittsburgh player Luke Mort specifically stated the team’s philosophy when it comes to improvement and performance.
MORT: “We’re focused on getting one-percent better each day. Throughout our facility, we have reminders of this.”
The Panther’s “one-percent” mentality is an effective strategy to stay focused on the process.
Improving your Soccer Game:
Avoid making comparisons to past seasons where you improved in leaps and bounds. Think: “One step at a time,” “Put in the work today,” or “One-percent better today.”
As your game improves and you have more success, it’s harder to see big improvements. Look to make small gains in your speed, ball handling, first touch, and other skills you work on every day. No matter what, keep putting in the work and be patient.
Related Soccer Psychology Articles
- How to Overcome a Slump in Soccer
- How to Avoid the Comparison Trap
- Preparation Tips for Soccer Players
Discover Mental Game Secrets to Soccer Confidence!
Does your confidence seem to disappear when you go from practice to games?
Do you get nervous and anxious in big games or when under a ton of pressure?
Do you get so frustrated after making a bad pass that your confidence sinks?
If you are ready to improve your mental toughens and perform with ultimate self-confidence in games, check out our program:
Learn proven strategies to improve focus, composure and confidence so you can perform at your peak in games!
- Players: Get the mental edge by learning how to take control of your confidence, mentally prepare for games and perform with composure under pressure.
- Trainers: Learn how to give your students the mental game advantage.
- Coaches: Boost your team’s confidence using simple proven mental strategies.
- Parents: Help boost your soccer player’s confidence. Don’t let their mind hold them back any longer.
Learn the top eight mental game lessons for soccer players to boost your mental game and improve consistency. You’ll learn how to mentally prepare for games to performing under pressure to building unstoppable confidence!
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 professional contract.”
~ Lucas Gonzales, Professional Soccer Player in Australia
“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!”
~Diana, Michelle’s Mother