How do you accomplish something as an athlete that you never achieved before?
For example, if you never started a soccer game in high school, what can you do that gives you a chance to become a starter in college?
Or if you never beat a rival soccer team, what gives you the belief that you can beat them in a tournament?
Obviously, you need talent, ability, and training. Although physical ability, ball skills, and conditioning are necessary, they are not sufficient.
What, then, is the missing ingredient that helps you achieve next-level play?
The missing piece, often overlooked by soccer players, is your mental abilities.
Sports performance is a combination of physical and mental factors. Neglect any part of the peak performance equation, and you will fall short of your goals and potential.
Mental skills, particularly confidence, and discipline, springboard you past your current level of play to achieve new and higher standards.
Confidence and discipline are interrelated. Discipline gives athletes the focus and self-control to push to greater heights and, in the process, builds confidence.
Improving your discipline and confidence requires that you:
- Set clear, well-defined goals and create a specific action plan.
- Be flexible if you need to adjust your plan.
- Know your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
- Look to break out of your comfort zone during every training session.
- Develop positive habits.
- Work on the little aspects of performance that other athletes may overlook.
- Resist the urge for instant gratification.
- Learn from mistakes instead of responding with unproductive, negative emotions.
- Find reputable, expert resources such as trainers, coaches, and mental game experts.
The Jamaican women’s national team made history at the 2023 World Cup by qualifying for the Round of 16 for the first time.
Jamaica registered five points in the group play with one win and two draws. The Jamaican team did not allow any goals in those first three matches.
Prior to the 2023 World Cup, Jamaica qualified for just one other World Cup tournament in 2019, finishing last in their group and conceding twelve goals.
Jamaican fullback Tiernny Wiltshire credits the team’s success to the group’s overall confidence and discipline over the past few years.
WILTSHIRE: “I just feel like throughout this entire year, we have tried to exercise discipline and instill values and instill a standard, and I feel as though we have not let that standard drop-we have raised it. We continue to raise the bar by pushing each other and working after practice, watching films together, and seeing what we can do to be better.”
With discipline and confidence, players can accomplish seasonal and long-term goals and achieve new standards and athletic excellence.
Tip for Raising the Bar and Achieving New Standards
Self-discipline is more than willpower. In order to sustain discipline and motivation, you need proof that your efforts are working.
After each practice, training session, or game, find 1-2 successes to keep you motivated and feeling confident.
If those “little wins” are not visible to you, double down on your efforts and recommit to your goal plan. Try focusing on developing 1-2 aspects of your game during the upcoming week.
Achieving the next level demands that you stay committed to your personal goals.
Resources for Athletes, Coach, and Sports Parents
- Learn more about Soccer Psychology Tips and Strategies
- Download our a FREE Mental Toughness Report
- Read our Sports Psychology Articles
- Check out our Sports Psychology Audio Programs
- Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
- Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify
Download a free sports psychology report to improve your mental game!
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