Soccer Focus: Forget About Mistakes

Forget mistakes in soccer: If you miss an easy shot or lose the soccer ball, just forget about it. Easy to say, but sometimes very hard to do when you’re playing in an intense soccer match. And mistakes can be frustrating! And throw you off your rhythm. Cause you to spiral into negative thinking and lose confidence. It’s just not that easy to forget about missing a wide open shot or when you lose the soccer ball near your own goal.

Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard Slips Against Chelsea

How often have you seen a player sky a penalty kick early in the game only to redeem themselves later by scoring a more important goal. It happens more often than you’d think. Top soccer players don’t get down on themselves for too long. Instead, they fight back and keep working hard to make up for a mistake. I’ve seen Robbie Keane miss a penalty kick only to bounce back and score a goal.

But the key is not to get too emotional. Yes, you want to fight back but you also don’t want to play recklessly and make things worse by getting a red card or trying too hard to make something happen.

However, the best soccer players in the world keep pushing on and don’t dwell on mistakes – they forget them as quickly as possible. If they miss a shot or lose the ball they get right back in the soccer game and look to score again or win the ball back if they’ve lost it.

The key though is not to do anything rash but calm down and look to make a positive play – say hustle back to cover a player or make a simple pass to get back into the flow of a game. Try to make up for your mistake but don’t panic and dive in or get a red card. Play simple one and two touch soccer until you get back into the flow of the game.

Later you can try to beat a player or do the unexpected. But wait until you’re comfortable to do the tricky stuff.When we get frustrated or make a mistake, we sometimes do stupid things. For example, we can make unnecessary fouls (e.g. Beckham against Argentina in the World Cup where he got a red card).

What Beckham did though after this red card was fight back. All of England hated Beckham after this. But Beckham didn’t get down on himself, no he actually became a better soccer player and helped England get back into the World Cup by scoring off of a free kick against Greece about four years later.

Don’t go in recklessly. Sometimes we can suffer an injury, hurt ourselves, when we awkwardly try to win the soccer ball out of frustration. It’s okay to make a tough tackle – which is a good way to get back into the game! – but just use some common sense when doing so. How would you feel if someone severely injured you out of frustration? You’d be furious! Nobody wants to get hurt, and you certainly don’t want to get a red card and get tossed out of the game. That hurts your team.

Remember that we are often our own worst enemies. If we make a mistake, we tend to beat ourselves up about it. Forget about a bad play or mistakes you’ve made and move on. Get right back into the game by winning the ball or blocking a pass or shot. Hard work eliminates our anxiousness. But remember, play within your ability. Not doing so only means you’ll get even more frustrated! If you force things it will only make things worse. Instead, take a deep breath, calm yourself, and then get back into the game.

Lift Up Your Teammates

Keep your teammates in mind too. If you see that someone is frustrated, trying too hard, or just not playing well, try to boost his or her confidence and increase their and the team’s overall morale. Sometimes, a kind word, a pat on the back, or any other encouraging behavior can do wonders for someone’s esteem. You can do this simply by talking to them and supporting them at all times – even if your team is losing by a few goals. It’s especially important to communicate when the team starts to get quiet or fearful – say your losing the game and the other team has control of the soccer ball most of the time. To mount a comeback your team needs a spirit and fight and sometimes that can come from communication on the field and belief.

Momentum Leads the Way

Since there are so few goals scored in soccer, momentum is crucial. A team can get bummed when a goal is scored on them, but on the same token, they can be very happy when they score a goal. These moments are extremely emotional but scarce and can change the pace of a soccer game. In fact, many coaches and experts say that the first five minutes of each half, and the first five minutes after a goal is scored are some of the most important parts of the game.

Teams that get scored on fall back on their heels and frequently give up another goal because their collective confidence is down. Conversely, though, teams that score a goal feel energized, and pounce on teams that are feeling stunned after allowing a goal.

An excellent example of playing as a team with confidence is Manchester United. They seem to always score goals in the dying minutes, when it appears like the game is lost and over. This is a team that plays hard to the final whistle. This is a team that forgets about mistakes and thinks they can always win the game if if they are behind within only a few minutes to go and the ref keeps looking at his watch.

TIP: Get into a rhythm–let the game come to you. It’s balance between seeking the soccer ball out, asking for it, and making runs to open up the defense for your teammates. Learn more about mental focus in soccer at the pages below:

An incredible performance sees Manchester City break the Anfield curse and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League. What stands out though his how Ilkay Gundogan forgot all about the missed penalty kick and went on to score two goals for City.