Soccer is a mentally demanding sport and is the driving force for the physical demands of the game. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was my rookie season around the summer. And not knowing at the moment, I played some of the worse soccer in my life, and I didn’t know why.
Luckily Quincy was there, and he had experienced the same feelings his rookie year. Quincy explained it so casually as “ the rookie wall” The term means you have hit a wall and it is no fault of your own, because of the new soccer environment being more demanding than any soccer you have played before. The physical part wasn’t as bad as the mental part. My mind was fatigued, and for the first time, I didn’t have the answer as to how to not feel like this.
Self Care is important, and you have to take care of your mind the same way in Mind and body work the best when they’re in harmony. They’ll be times throughout your soccer career where you will come across these challenges, so here are my tips that can help you when mental fatigue arises!
1. Talk to someone about how you're feeling.
It is better to get things out than to keep them in. Keeping things in will only make the situation worse and have you feeling even worse. You want to talk and let people know how you're doing so they can be a resource to help you through the good and bad times. Talking to others helps because more often than not, others have experienced what you're going through and can tell you the remedies of their situation.
2. Dial back your training
Robots break too, so you have to dial back your training regiment if you feel like you're off and can't compete at a high level. A lot of times we feel like we have to keep pushing and pushing and pushing at all times, which isn't true. Yes, you have to train hard and push yourself out of your comfort zone, but you should push at the expense of your mental clarity. The mind is strong and needs to be careful about if you want to be able to do the physical. Once you have dialed back the training and cleared your mind, then begin to incorporate back into your normal training regiment.
3. Have an outlet outside of soccer
Soccer is amazing and I love the sport, but it is needed to have outlets outside of the game. Whether that is reading, playing piano, painting, etc it will allow you to get away from your game. When you can't get away from the game, it will eat you up and have you thinking about every little play and mistakes made. Once soccer is over, enjoy other things in life so you don't burn yourself out and stop playing soccer.
Rest is key. You have to allow your body to rest in order to play at your best. Some players don't get enough rest and find themselves getting injured. Getting injured will set you back and you want to avoid that. Make sure to ice bath when you can, foam roll, stretch and get massages when you can to prevent injuries. Your body is a temple. What you put in is what you get out