I feel what soccer players love the most about the game is the match. Yes, it is excellent to practice shooting, but the feeling you get when you score a goal is incomparable. Blocking a PK in practice is fun, but to save a PK in the national championship is on another level of excitement. The game is where we as players can express ourselves after working so hard in training, in the weight room, or in the classroom. Preparation is critical, and with anything in life or sports, preparation is vital.
1. Always have goals/objectives for the week of practice
Practice gives you the foundation for whatever it is you want to execute in the match. You cannot be a good one versus one defender in the game if you haven't practiced moving your feet and forcing your opponent one direction. You can not be great at giving good service if you didn't stay after practice and whip in hundreds of balls, it's just not going to happen. Putting in extra work is required, not an option. So make sure on Monday you have written down a list of objectives for the week and go out there and crush it. These steps will set up the foundation to be a student of the game that will prove beneficial in your career.
2. Hydrate and eat clean
This one is tough, but it is necessary. What you put in your body is what you get out. If you drink sugary drinks and eat fast food, your muscles aren't going to appreciate that when trying to perform at an optimal level for 90 minutes. Salads, fruits, and protein are your friend before a match. This has to become a habit and not a once in a while thing. Building healthy eating habits will lend itself to making other beneficial habits like sleep, self-discipline, training habits, etc.
3. Visualize Success
Quincy and I hear this a lot; I want to be successful! Or, I want to play well! That's is great to hear, but when we ask what does that look like, they don't have an answer. It has to be specific to your game and no one else's. It has to align with what you have deiced to make your goals/objectives for the week. So if you practiced one v one defending, visualizing winning those duals would be what success looks like. You practiced corner kicks and set pieces until you felt like your leg would fall off, so getting an assist or picking out specific teammates would be a success. If you haven't checked out our free e-book on our nine types for soccer success, In the book we give detailed ideas on how to find the success you're looking for in the game, so make sure to click the link below to get your free copy today,
4. Listen to Music
I love music, and in another life, I'm a singer who is touring and selling out arenas. All jokes aside, music is powerful in that it has the effect of evoking emotions that can prove helpful in certain situations. When you're feeling down maybe all it takes is to play your favorite song, and just like that, you start to feel better. Music before and after the game was very therapeutic. It helped me stay in a mindset that had me focused on the task at hand! For me, I would typically start with some chill r&b, just because I knew I didn't want to get too amped up before the game. It wasn't until an hour or so where I start turning up the volume and start listening to some hip/hip that got me jacked up for the game. So whatever type of music you enjoy, try and use it as a tool to get you prepared for the match.
5. Believe in your ability
It is great to have support from friends and family who encourage you to be better and do better. The reality of the situation is no one will believe in you more than yourself. You have to look yourself in the mirror and decide what it is you want to do on the field. You have to tell yourself day in and day out that you have prepared for the moment and nothing will stand in the way of you achieving greatness. If you can be honest with your development, work rate, stop making excuses and execute, the growth is endless.