Calling All Players – The Key Is Consistency . . . . And here is how to achieve it.
Want to get ahead and really help your soccer career reach the next level? Read Dan Abrahams columns on SoccerToday.
A global sports psychologist and author specializing in soccer, Dan Abrahams is based in England and works with professional soccer players in the English Premier League (EPL). Abrahams has helped hundreds of soccer players – many who play in the English Premier League (EPL). From working with players at Crystal Palace to QPR, Fulham, and West Ham among others, Abrahams makes a huge difference. Abrahams has authored several books and has a Soccer Academy as well.
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Here is SoccerToday’s columnist Abrahams on how consistency is the key to success.
Importance of Consistency
Having worked at Premier League clubs for the past 15 years I’ve picked up a bit of footballing wisdom along the way.
One thing I know about the most competitive soccer league in the world is that managers and head coaches want you to be consistent with your play.
Consistency – not extremes:
Coaches want players to be no worse than 6/10 for their performances every week, and preferably they want you (the player) to throw in plenty of 7/10 games and some 8/10 games.
Having sat opposite a lot of managers and spoken with them at length about what they require from a player, I know that they want someone reliable.
They want someone they can depend on.
The worst type of player for them is someone who is 8/10 one week, then 4/10 the next.
They simply can’t trust these types of players.
So let me give you the secret to playing soccer with greater consistency.
Strangely, it starts with the objectives you have for your game.
When you run onto the pitch what are you trying to achieve? What are your objectives? I’d estimate that 99% of soccer players say to me “I want to perform at my best.” That would be a suitable objective for them.
However, the key to consistency starts by turning that sentence around.
Yes, it may well be useful to have the goal “I want to perform at my best”, but it’s also useful to have the objective “I want to get the best from my performance”.
Let’s think about that: “I want to get the best from my performance”.
What I’m suggesting is that some days it’s going to be a struggle.
Some days competing in soccer is a grind.
These are not 8/10 performance days. These are 6/10 at the very best. It might be a day when you wake up and feel physically exhausted for some reason. It might be a day where your coordination just feels slightly off. Or it might be a day when your teammates play poorly.
Even the most experienced athletes fail to perform at their best most of the time.
Sport is too tough and the human system is too complex to enable that to happen.
And so what happens on these days of struggle. You get tight and tense and rigid. You might find yourself getting frustrated and angry.
Or you might get down on yourself and despondent about your game. Because you haven’t fulfilled your objective of playing your best game you become engulfed in emotion.
This can damage your awareness, anticipation and decision making…leaving your game on a steady decline as the match progresses.
In contrast, the player who, prior to the game, has said to him or herself “Ok, in this match I want to perform at my best, but if I don’t, that’s ok, if I don’t I want to get the very best from my performance” – this person gives him or herself a great chance to play at the very least 6/10. They turn 5/10 into 6/10.
This is because this player can relax, accept and stay focused despite not being at their best.
They hadn’t put any pressure on themselves to be at their best. They’d accepted that their best may not actually happen, and they’d got themselves excited about playing at the very least 6/10.
So my advice to you?
Please do go and try to play your greatest game of soccer ever. Go for it! Practice and prepare to be awesome!
But also be ready to get the best from the performance you take to the pitch with you. It’s ok to be 6/10. It’s ok to throw in an average game…because the average is so much better than poor.
I can assure you that Premier League managers will be crying out for players who can be average rather than poor in the years to come!