Former U.S. MNT Striker On The Mental Mindset Of A Winner
Brian McBride racked up 30 goals in 96 appearances for the USA, as well as 145 goals in more than 400 professional matches on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, U.S. Soccer has brought on this three-time FIFA World Cup veteran, U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer as the new General Manager of the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Formerly a commentator for FOX soccer broadcasts, he also worked with Allstate Insurance’s Good Hands FC program, surprising youth teams with visits and soccer equipment. Obviously highly successful, McBride shared how he got through adversity – what he did that helped him gain the mental strength to be so successful in an interview in 2014 — Here is a recap of the interview.
Brian McBride is well known as a top goal scorer in both the U.S. and England, with time on the pitch for Major League Soccer (MLS) sides Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire, English Premier League club Fulham, and, of course, the U.S. Men’s National Team.
McBride netted 145 goals in more than 400 career appearances in a senior career that ran from 1994 to 2012. He also earned 96 caps and scored 30 goals for the U.S. MNT, fifth best of all time, and was the first American to score in two FIFA World Cup tournaments.
McBride has worked as a commentator for FOX soccer broadcasts, ran his own McBride’s Attacking Soccer Academy and was a spokesman for Allstate Insurance as part of the Good Hands FC program.
In 2014, McBride was on hand in Jacksonville, Fla., to surprise a youth soccer team prior to the U.S. MNT match against Nigeria in the final leg of the Send-Off Series.
Diane Scavuzzo interviewed McBride after that event on what is a winning mindset for a successful soccer player and the importance and influence of coaches.
Diane Scavuzzo’s Interview with Brian McBride
Diane Scavuzzo: What is a winning mindset for a soccer player?
Brian McBride: You should go into each situation thinking that you can win and with the right positive outlook
Diane Scavuzzo: Can you be more specific?
Brian McBride: Players need a realistic approach focused on what you think you can achieve as a player, not a blind positive attitude.
In every sport, there is something that is trying to keep you from winning, and in soccer you can’t predict what the opponent will do. But for you to succeed, there can be no doubts in your own mind – no “would have” or “could have” thoughts, just a focus on what is happening now.
There can be no doubts in your mind
When I first became a professional soccer player I was introduced to ‘Sports Psychology’ and how it can help deal with adversity on the field.
Diane Scavuzzo: What did you think?
Brian McBride: I had to get over and get through some adverse situations, and I didn’t have the mental strength. When things didn’t go the way I thought they should, I asked why not how I could make it go my way next time.
Diane Scavuzzo: What helped you?
Brian McBride: I kept a journal. If I had a good day, I would sit down and write about what I thought happened – what led up to it and what happened during.
As I got further along in my career, if I felt I didn’t have a great practice and had a game coming up, I would go to the journal and read what I was thinking when things were going my way.
Diane Scavuzzo: When was this?
Brian McBride: My first professional year was in 1996. The more you understand what you need to do, the less you have to worry about what might happen.
Diane Scavuzzo: How influential are coaches in helping a player become successful?
Brian McBride: Coaches are a huge part of a player’s success. There is a technique to being a successful coach and helping players succeed.
The truth has to be presented in a positive way.
Present what the player does well and then discuss what they could improve on and suggest ways to improve.
Diane Scavuzzo: Some coaches think that “tough love” is better. What do you think of a more Authoritarian style of coaching?
Brian McBride: There are only certain players that have that fight – the kind where you try to break them down so they will build themselves back up. There are very few players who respond to this, and sometimes this approach makes people go in the opposite direction.
At the higher level – coaching professional players – that is when the coach has to have the ability to manage individuals.
Each individual is different, and I saw that being a part of a professional soccer team for 17 years. If you yelled at some players they would shut down, and you were not getting them back that game or sometimes, even for a while.
Diane Scavuzzo: Is that codling players?
Brian McBride: It is not about baby talk but about honest and helpful criticism.
I even asked back in 2014 …
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think of Jürgen Klinsmann’s comments recently that the USA will not win the World Cup?
Brian McBride: They were bluntly honest. I think he is trying to lower expectations on what the public should expect, not quash the American dream.
Everyone wants to believe that we can win the World Cup.
Anything can happen in sports – especially in soccer – but I think Jürgen wants to get the focus on getting out of group play.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is it like working with Allstate on the Good Hands FC program?
Brian McBride: The events at Allstate are so special. It is a sheer joy to work with these kids and give away these amazing soccer kits. When the kids start pulling the things out of their bags, their expressions are incredible. It is so great to give back and see so many smiling faces.
Kids always want to know what it is like to be a professional soccer player.