Keep up the communication because this is, after all, a team effort. For example, don’t be afraid to ask for the ball when you’re in a good position. Don’t force yourself back into the game, but with forethought make a good run and ask for the ball. Or better yet, make runs that take defenders away and open up space for teammates. Actions like these are very inspiring for teammates and will also encourage them to do the same for you in the future.
Similarly, you can learn a lot from overreactions and mistakes made by other great players. Sometimes you might just need a role model to emulate while on the field. When you’re getting ready to play, visualize a player you admire and adopt their style of play. For example, you can just see Eric Cantona playing with confidence. Consider the free flowing style of Ronaldinho, or the toughness of Roy Keane. But keep in mind that everyone is human. Even greats such as Eric Cantona make mistakes and let their frustrations get the better of them. Just remember Cantona’s karate kick on a fan, and Zidane’s head butt in the World Cup final!
You’ll discover that these people are passionate about playing soccer. If they weren’t, they’d have no reason to react so emotionally. Also, you’ll quickly remember that the greats are still human, which means that even they have breaking points and can make bad decisions. So focus on playing passionate soccer — invoking Keane’s, Cantona’s, and Zidane’s enthusiasm — but remain calm and collected.
Quote: “I am very mistrustful of people who are constantly over intellectualizing things. It kills passion. You have to allow yourself to lose control from time to time.” Soccer Quotes
Don’t go into a game like it’s a do-or-die situation. Remember, it’s still a game, and as such, it should be fun! To help treat a game as a fun activity, just keep telling yourself to stay in the moment. What does this mean? Well, basically it means you shouldn’t rush things, and that you should know what you want to do with the ball when you get it. Also, be realistic about what you want to do, be confident that you can do it, and be happy when you can make that contribution. Sometimes in order to make a big play you have to make several smaller ones. Or in order for a teammate to make a play you have to assist him. But always remember: always pass the ball and keep moving around. If you make a bad pass, forget about it! Everyone makes mistakes. Just get back into the game and keep the momentum alive. If you focus on doing that, you’re sure to play well.
No matter what, you’re probably going to be nervous during a game because you want to do well and you love to compete. Learn to work with your nerves. Remember that because you know how to play, you should focus on making the next play better than the last. Practice makes perfect, right? So, keep playing! We all have games where we might not play our best. So what? Just adjust your playing accordingly and work hard on defense. Hustling usually gets you out of a rut! For example, it’s not uncommon for Ronaldinho to make bad passes or lose the ball, but he does it in areas on the field where he can take risks.
Ultimately, take mistakes or not playing well as a challenge. Realize that the game is not over until the final whistle and play tough to the end. Play strong and with your head up and think positively. Don’t punish yourself but realize that everyone makes mistakes. People will remember not the mistake you made but how you fought back and your team won.
Quote by Patrick Viera to Francesc Fàbregas:
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