I recently was doing work and was brainstorming any and everything Soccer. My brain led me to think about what kind of leader I was while I was playing. I decided to start calling up my college teammates and asking bluntly, “ What did you guys think of my leadership?” For the most part, it was positive feedback, but the latter was I sometimes was “ Intense” and “ Talkative,” and that got me thinking ], How to deal with your teammates when they’re tough on you.
Ok, this isn’t an easy topic because in Soccer, sometimes the emotions are high. The wanting to win and play well is overwhelming, and we find ourselves being caught up in the moment. Sometimes the moment is you yelling at a teammate, laying a hard tackle, et cetera. When we are the person on the other side of those screams and tackles, we might feel low and down. At some point, you have to start being honest with yourself and not running away from the challenges!
This feeling isn’t fun so let me give you my four tips to get you through tough teammates.
1. Remember that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes
No one is perfect, and mistakes happen, no one plays a perfect game, and you have to remind yourself of that. I’m not saying go out there and make a lot of mistakes because I still want you all to try and make minimal mistakes. The player that is yelling at you isn’t trying to tear you down, and you have to remember this. If you have the right teammates, they shouldn’t be screaming to tear you down, but to shed light on misfortunes during the game and motivate you to be better.
2. Use it as motivation
Even though I was the captain, I still got yelled at, and at first, it was difficult because my mind went in so many directions and I held onto it for too long. I hated feeling like this, so I said this isn’t helping me, and I need to change my mindset, so I started to use it as motivation. I did it as an “ I’ll show you” moment after I messed up. Motivation comes in many forms, what better way than when someone yells at you to shove it back at them.
3. Don’t take it personally
It’s difficult not to take it personally because it always feels personal in the beginning. Once you can be mindful and understand that it isn’t personal, you will be in a better headspace. Your mindset is essential to growing as a soccer player. So every time one of your teammates says something, keep it moving. And maybe you let one slip out and yell at a teammate, and your intention wasn’t to be mean, but just to let them know of the mistake and make it better next time.
4. Have open conversations with your teammates
If all else fails and it doesn’t feel right, then you have to let your teammate and coaches know so you can come to a place of understanding. Once everyone comes to an agreement, it can relieve a lot of unnecessary stress on you and the team. Continue to grow and never make excuses for anything involved in your game. Excuses will have you taking steps back.