“Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.” Vince Lombardi
How well you cope with difficult situations can be determined by your football mental game.
It isn’t hyperbole to claim that if you possess this innate ability to thrive under difficult situations, it can be a monumental weapon; if you don’t, it can be a monumental chink in your armor.
In team sport, the habit of crumbling under pressure is common.
Life is a process of highs, lows and everything in between.
Wherever you are and whoever you are, negative situations can prove to be a challenge even to the strongest optimist.
Here are some football mental skills techniques you can use to handle these negative situations and stay positive.
Reframe the Situation – If you perceive these situations as negative, you will associate these with negative thought processes such as self-doubt. You are also likely to attempt to consciously increase your effort in an attempt to improve performance. Sprinting is a subconscious skill. Once it becomes conscious the whole action becomes slower and more deliberate.
However, if you perceive them as positive, feeling its signs could improve your performance. Recognizing that these situations can facilitate good performance is an important step in reframing your football mind to them. They put into action a set of processes that can make you run quicker or perform better, such as the release of adrenaline which increases heart rate and breathing rate.
The key is to reframe these situations to make it seem positive. Have an internal dialogue with yourself, using key phrases to reinforce the positive aspects. Connecting a physical symptom and a positive outcome improves your football confidence and therefore an increased likelihood of improved performance.
Reduce Distractions – Distractions can be both internal and external. External distractions come from sources such as friends, family, coaches, and the media. To an extent, this type of distractions is out of your control. But there are ways of managing it.
Conversations with friends and family to make them aware that they are potential sources of distractions can be useful. Parents in particular want to look after you, and this can be overbearing.
A coach can also increase the pressure on the athlete, often unknowingly. Nervous, panicky coaches are likely to pass along their unease. That’s not helpful either.
Be aware that you are trying to make rational decisions. This may not be easy for you, so don’t be afraid to seek help from sports psychologists or mental game coaches. You could also ask your teammates for their feedback!
Use the Mind to Heal the Body – Research on sports psychology for football indicates that it may be possible to accelerate the thought process with specific mental skills and techniques such as imagery and self-hypnosis. Imagery techniques utilize the senses to create mental images, feelings, and sensations related to a desired outcome as though it is happening now or has already happened.
Get Support – A common response after a negative outcome is to isolate yourself from teammates, coaches, and friends. It is important to maintain contact with others during the process. Teammates, friends, and coaches can listen and offer advice or encouragement during the process. Simply realizing that one doesn’t have to face the situations alone can be a tremendous comfort.
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