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Many of the top coaches around the world have come to the conclusion that there are essentially three key elements required to be a top soccer and football player. Athletic ability – Speed, movement, strength, power, fitness etc Technical skills – Passing, dribbling, running with the ball, positional sense etc Mental Qualities – Confidence, Commitment, Concentration and Composure........ Click on the banner to read more.......
Bruce Brownlee Coaching Notes....... Giving players your confidence builds theirs. Being the first to consistently show confidence in and respect for a player creates an honest, strong, and durable relationship between coach and player. Sharing and showing confidence is the single most important factor in player motivation in women's soccer. To be successful in confidence building, you must sincerely love and respect the players and show that you are clearly willing to invest in and work hard for their long term success. This means never criticizing over today's temporary limitations, always looking forward to the player's potential ability, holding to high expectations shared with the player, looking for signs of progress, encouraging and praising small successes, and treating the player today as if she had already achieved her greatness and as if she were already a most valuable player. If you can sustain and encourage a developing player over an initial 6 to 12 month period with love, praise, and encouragement, you will be rewarded with a greatly improved player willing to work hard to succeed for many years to come. You will then find it easy to continue to support and encourage the player, and you will enjoy the respect, appreciation, and support from the player and the player's family. Showing confidence when it counts is crucial. You will find that sincerely friendly laughter over mistakes cures much. Humor cuts through all the stress in even the most crucial matches. On game day, the coach who first starts criticizing players or who moans over mistakes during the match is far more likely to lose than the coach who is first to compliment and encourage good play or who laughs with his players over a mistake. Criticism is never beneficial, and is especially harmful (and never forgiven) in a group setting like the match. Players know when they've made a mistake. If they don't, it's your training oversight and you need to teach them more. Make a note, cover it later when everyone's receptive. Once you've built confidence in players and your team, don't destroy it at half-time. Players look to your posture and facial expression as a reflection of their performance and match prospects. Limit your instructions to one main point and at most a couple of small ideas, say it all in 60 seconds or less. Players can only focus on a few ideas, and they interpret lengthy instructions as a sign of your sagging confidence in them. Their play in the second half will reflect the amount of confidence you share with them at half-time. To give confidence at half-time, gather the team and compliment several of the players for good things you saw in the first half. Laugh about the mistakes, including your coaching mistakes, promise to try to coach your best, and encourage all the players to play their best. The kids will know that you were paying attention, the individuals encouraged will feel great and continue to play with confidence, and the rest of the players will appreciate your fair treatment of their friends and will work harder to earn your recognition. When they play well, you will be pleased to give them the respect they seek in front of the team. These are some of my personal observations, and perhaps they will work for you in women's soccer. I offer these ideas but will not argue them with anyone, and I won't pretend to know if these concepts work in boys soccer. After 10 years with different ideas and mixed results, I've enjoyed the last 8 happy years of fortunate results with these ideas. I treasure most the little successes in building players, and love and respect the players who have taught me so much about the game and about it's players.
Self-confidence and Self-talk The relationship between self-confidence and athletic success is well-documented. Confident athletes believe in themselves. They expect to perform competitively and successfully when they take the field or the court and, when doubts enter their minds, they are able to rid themselves of these doubts by controlling their self-talk. The importance of self-talk has become more evident in recent years. Everyone has a "little voice" in their heads that provides almost constant commentary--often in very critical terms--on what they do. Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware of what they are saying to themselves and, even if they are, fail to question these thoughts when they are unrealistic, harsh, and critical. This seems to be especially true for athletes who often set very high expectations for themselves. There is a direct connection between how we think about things or how we talk to ourselves and our emotional reactions, as well as how we perform or behave. When we judge ourselves unfairly, evaluate our performances in excessively critical ways, or, in general, speak to ourselves in negative ways, there are predictable reactions. We are prone to frustration, discouragement, hopelessness, and depression. In addition to these emotional responses, inaccurate or inappropriate thinking often leads to poor or substandard performance. Conversely, athletes who think about themselves in realistic and positive terms learn to value themselves and their abilities in ways that enhance their performance. Thoughts can be categorized into groups: those irrelevant to the task at hand; those focused on the self; and those focused on the task. Thoughts focused on the self cause problems for athletes. As thoughts are internally focused and consumed with preoccupation about their own welfare and feelings, anxiety tends to increase. For example worrying too much about what doesn't feel right, what might go wrong, or excessive focus on minor somatic or physical complaints--either imagined or real--lead to anticipation of negative outcomes and anticipation of failure. In general, when thoughts are self-focused, they reduce the ability to anticipate, interpret, and process relevant external cues and information. Athletes must learn to control their thought processes so they can generate a mix of task-relevant content and mood-appropriate content to stay motivated enough to maintain concentration. Task-relevant thought content involves the thoughts related to what's going on, what is about to happen, and how you plan to respond. Mood-relevant thought content serves to keep you aroused sufficiently so that the appropriate psychological state is maintained in such a manner that the quality of the effort is controlled (i.e. involved, focused, and concentrating appropriately to maintain a high level of performance). Self-talk can be used in a number of ways including skill acquisition, changing bad habits, controlling focus and attention, changing mood or feelings, building confidence and self-efficacy, and controlling effort and performance. Regardless of the purpose, the steps for maximizing self-talk are similar: Identify self-talk. Become more aware of what you say to yourself. Especially check in on your self-talk when you are feeling some negative emotion such as depression, frustration, or irritability. Evaluate the content of your thoughts. Is the thought valid and realistic? What evidence is there that the thought is true? Is there evidence it is not true? Would you talk to your best friend or teammate the way you're talking to yourself? Even if the thought may have some validity, is it helpful or useful for you to focus your thoughts and energies on it? Change the negative thought to something more realistic and positive. This may include identifying any patterns of irrational and distorted thinking that may occur with some regularity. Once the thought is identified, practice countering the thought with the evidence you gather and, when appropriate, reframe the thought by looking at your situation from a different perspective. Practice these steps daily. It may take some time to change the way you look at your world but once you commit to doing this, you will experience a greater sense of control in your life both in and out of athletics. Being successful athletically is often a result of playing with confidence and building self-confidence is a function of both recalling successful experiences and of positive thinking. Remember, life isn't so much what happens to you as it is how you interpret what happens and what you make of your circumstances. The one thing you can consistently control is your thoughts. Conversely, if you fail to control your own mind, you will likely have difficulty controlling anything else.