Confidence can be a tricky thing. I have a good resume but ironically, I wasn’t always sure I could play professionally. I would hear from older players or a few coaches that I could. My first year playing I was thinking, “what if I am just lucky”. It wasn’t until I was on my 3rd professional team, that I started to realize I deserved to be there. It wasn’t that I had low self-esteem, but that some people [like myself] are their worst critics. There’s the voice between our ears that can lie to us. I want to share with you 3 tips to boost confidence in soccer.
Remembering good moments in your past
Whenever my confidence would go down, I would quickly remember good things from the past. Maybe it was thinking of a time when another players said something good about my play.
Think of something you did good in the past… Positive thoughts helps your brain believe in you more.
It’s all a mind game, when the confidence goes down. So knowing how to trick the brain, or let’s say correct the brain to believe the truth.
Tell yourself you are good enough and equipped to succeed.
Tips to boost confidence in soccer
Two of the best ways to improve:
Doing private individual lessons or training on your own at home…
Think about how many more reps you can get. Plus when you make mistakes at home, nobody sees it. There’s a difference messing up in front of coaches and peers, compared to being on your own.
There’s something about training on your own that builds self belief. It’s a time when you can reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and improve in both.
Each time you train by yourself it builds maturity, endurance and responsibility.
Even pro soccer players struggle with confidence
Loss of confidence happens to every single soccer player and athlete. Even for the most confident players, there are times [days, months, seasons] where we lose our confidence.
If you have ever heard of a ‘slump‘ you might be a baseball fan. I remember watching baseball back in the Andre Dawson & Ken Griffey jr days. There were times where even those great players would go into a slump and lose confidence. Sometimes for months…
The main thing that bring confidence back is doing things better.
Sometimes pro teams will send a player to a lower level league, just so they can do better and raise their confidence. Then they pull them back up.
Youth players need to also think about playing at a” lower level league” to get their confidence up.
Boost confidence training solo
In my neighborhood there are two kids (siblings) who are always outside playing soccer.
They have a goal on one end of the yard and a rebounder on the other end near the driveway.
The boy (age 8-9) is ALWAYS out practicing. Currently he doesn’t play with a team, but I promise he is developing skill and confidence in his front yard faster than most kids are at team practice.
The single best way to do this [if I am choosing a skill for you] is to practice foot skills.
Dribbling “Ball control” are things that you should always work on by yourself.
To improve your shooting form with the laces do this! Continue setting good form into your muscle memory. After that, work on kicking against a wall or at a goal.
Go back and forth from actually striking the ball to teaching your muscle memory.
Here are some free expert dribbling tips to improve your game
The cool thing about training on your own is that nobody is around to see your mistakes. So there is no anxiety, which means you can learn faster and feel good about what you are working on.
Get a skills trainer outside of your soccer club
Get a good trainer and go!
Look for one who not only does good skills, but will build your confidence.
The world is good enough at trying to tear you down, don’t give it another opportunity.
Look outside of your team – the political factor is hard to ignore. These tips to boost confidence in soccer will not only make you feel better, but play better too.
Some coaches won’t offer private lessons to their players, because they don’t want players expecting playing time.
It is true that some coaches will offer 1:1 to put pressure on families.
In other words, parents pay for privates so the kid can get playing time in return…
Not all coaches are like this but evaluate the situation before using your coach.
Also, an outside trainer is not going to be evaluating you for position-specific strengths, but rather will focus on your whole development. Hopefully this trainer can give you many tips to boost confidence in your game.
Finding the right personal soccer coach can make the difference of a player quitting, to a player becoming one of the best players on the team.
Having that extra person to believe in you all while you are getting tons of skills training to boost your technique and confidence.
Surround yourself with people who encourage you
Just because you are born with a certain personality or come from a family of [dramatics, negatives, achievers, quitters] a certain characteristic doesn’t mean their script is yours.
Speak positive things out loud over yourself. Repeat them over and over.
Listen to music and podcasts that reinforce this. Post positive messages everywhere for you to be reminded.
Don’t believe the negative and remember that you can choose what you believe.
It’s true that when you are encouraged and surrounded by people who believe in you, that you learn faster.
Play soccer as a family
One thing I’ve seen that helps with my youngest daughter is when she asks me to play 1v1 in the backyard.
It’s her favorite and she gets comfortable dribbling the ball with pressure.
Defensively she kicks and fouls me:) So it’s a good time to ask her to be aggressive in the games like she is with me at home.
Last, it builds great memories.
Believe in yourself while playing soccer
If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard for others to believe in you.
Sometimes all it takes is one person to believe in you for you to start believing in yourself.
The most important thing you need to know regarding confidence is, correct the negative thoughts in your head telling you lies.
Even if you believe what these thoughts are saying, you must correct it. All you have to do is say it inside your head.
Your brain will believe what you tell it, so make sure you correct negative with positive.
Attending events outside of sports
Spending some 1on1 time with mom, dad or family members is a great way to help kids feel good. That extra time is something that is hard to come by nowadays.
I have 2 daughters that I try to take on a “Daddy / Daughter Date” at least 2 times per month. It really makes them feel special, which boost confidence short and long term.
It’s great to have certain tips to boost confidence in soccer, but sometimes things outside of sports is what you need.
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