#AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 037: How To Prepare For A Tough Game & How To Make The Haters Work For You

Welcome back! I hope you had the chance to catch the live episode this week, we talked about a few of my favorite things, including:

  • Assessing the cause and then addressing the issue.
  • Asking the right questions.
  • Quincy’s coaches against his MSL mentality.
  • You can’t change someone else’s mind.
  • How to take control of your confidence.
  • How to make the haters work for you.
  • How to prepare for a tough game.

If you missed the live, make sure to catch the replay and get all the knowledge we dropped!

How to Prepare for a Tough Game

You never really know how the game is going to go until you show up, and you are on the field at that moment. Since this is the way I approach the game, I’ve always been able to adapt to the changing conditions. Whether the game is high level, low level, chippy, or the weather is horrible… when I prepare, I prepare for anything. I don’t over-analyze every tape of other players and teams, but rather, I prepare myself to the best of my ability. I focus on the skills I believe are most important to my success on the field. 

Let me give you an example. You all know (or you will if you keep listening to the show) that I take a lot of pride in being a great teammate. I work to create space for the players around me so they can create opportunities for themselves. By getting the opposing defenders to focus on me, pulling them out of their position, and confusing them, my skillful teammates with high strike rates can get more opportunities in front of the goal. By creating chaos where creative players can thrive, I can best help my team win. The better I am at creating this sort of confusion, this chaos, the longer I will stick around.

This is the thought process I go through, and I tie this back to the idea of mentally preparing for a tough game. I’m mentally ready for the game due to the actions I take while not on the field. I’m always thinking about the things I need to do to be prepared and working on improving my skills. This way, when I show up on game day, I’ve accepted the idea that my job is to adapt to what is happening in the moment.

On game day, I need to beat the player in front of me on that day, not the player who other people are telling me did something amazing or played for a high-level club. On game day, none of that matters. I don’t really care what level you play. I don’t care what game you scored a goal in…that does not matter to me. All that matters is this: I’m assessing you at this moment, and I’m seeing if you are up for the challenge today.

 Are you ready to try to outwork me for 90 minutes? The one thing you know looking at me is that I’m not going to give up. Are you? That’s it, that’s the MSL.

How to Make the Haters Work for You

If the haters are spending any time and energy on you, that means you are in their head! They are paying attention to you. So, think about it this way, they are spending their precious time on you… the one thing they will never get back! Your haters see something in you that they want to be a part of, and the only way for them to do that is to invest their time in you. What the haters want is some of your time back in return.

Personally, I’m thrilled to give my haters time, because we’ve figured out how to make their time work for us. Just send them that #MSL emoji and let them help us spread the message!

That’s how we put the haters to work for us!

Final Thoughts

The mentality I have and how I play the game is why I’ve been playing at the pro level for so long. You can believe me or not, you can think I’m a good player or not… All I know is what I need to do to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself. Hopefully this helps give you all some insight as to the mentality (that you may already have) and what you’re going to have to go up against throughout your career.

Are you up for the challenge?