Every season I coach youth soccer players who work hard off the pitch and excel during practice but become a shell of themselves during games. Ask any athlete and they will tell you that confidence is as (if not more) important than skill.
No matter how much ability a player has, if they are insecure they will invariably struggle to reach their full potential and make an impact during games. In this post, I share four tips and real steps you can take to become a more confident soccer player.
Tip #1 Take Action
While some people are born with higher levels of confidence, for the most part, confidence is something that you learn. Confidence is defined as a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
The best way to increase the self-assurance of your own ability is through achievement, and you can only achieve a goal by taking action.
Action Item: You don’t have to always make major achievements to increase confidence. Practice one skill and try that skill during practice. This simple step will gradually help you increase confidence.
Tip #2 Write Weekly Positive Affirmations
Your self-talk has a huge impact on your level of confidence. That’s because your brain has a hard time distinguishing what you say from what you actually believe.
So get in the habit of intentionally engaging in positive self-talk. It doesn’t matter what it is; just think and speak positively about something specific that you did.
Action Item: Each week, write down at least two positive things you did during training or games. Keep these affirmations in a notebook that you read every day. Think about them and visualize yourself doing them.
For example, if you hustled on defense; write that down and picture yourself hustling on defense. Over time your belief in your ability to hustle on defense will strengthen.
Tip #3 Create a Positive Body Language Routine
Your body language not only affects how you feel but it also affects how others perceive you. This actually has an impact on how your coach, teammates, and opposing team treat you. In other words, humans innately respond to the confidence levels of others.
Action Item: It may be difficult to completely change your body language all at once. So think of a few actions you can take at the start of training or games that send off a positive signal to yourself and everyone watching. Commit to doing this routine every time you step onto the field.
For example, you could decide to always sprint onto the field with your head held high. This cue could be just enough of a signal to remind you to stay positive throughout the game.
Tip #4 Get at Least 2x to 4x More Repetitions Than Others
Soccer is a skill-based sport. Repetitions and deliberate practice are essential to increasing skill. The more repetitions you get, the more your skills will improve. This will lead to you experiencing more success and greater confidence.
The average player does just enough to get by. You should commit to doing at least twice as much.
Related: Want to Raise Successful Kids?
Action Item: Try the Anytime Soccer Training program. It’s free to join and has loads of follow-along training videos. In less than ten minutes you can get more touches than almost the entire team combined!
Teams collapse and players crumple every season due to a lack of confidence in themselves and their teammates. Don’t let this happen to you. Improving your own confidence will infuse confidence in your team and others around you. Good luck!
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