Confidence can separate great players from average ones and is an aspect which every player should keep working on throughout their career. You can be at your physical peak and train every day but if you don’t believe in yourself you will find your game lacking.
1. Do the basics right
The worst thing you can do when low in confidence is trying to do too many things at once. One of the more natural reactions to a slump in confidence is trying to do the outrageous like trying to dribble through the opposing team or shooting from impossible angles. While if you can pull these stunts off, kudos, it will help your confidence immensely but the odds are pretty much against you and failure in these types of situations can damage your confidence even more as you may imagine your teammates and coaches won’t be too happy with you trying to play for yourself. After all, football is a team sport and you are primarily just a cog in the system. The most important thing you can do when low in confidence is to calm down and try to do the basics as perfectly as you can. Position yourself accordingly throughout the game, be sure to mark the space and the player you’re assigned to and focus on keeping the possession and the flow of your team’s attack. Forget about yourself and just work for the team and your teammates. If you do these things right you will soon realize you’re doing well for the team and you will start to feel better about yourself. Your confidence will return and your game can become a bit more adventurous.
2. Fake it til you make it
This is a piece of advice that shows up in almost every aspect of life. The premise is that our brains can’t really know the difference between a true reaction and a fake reaction. One of the most often tips for feeling happier is to fake a smile in front of a mirror. Just look at the mirror and try pulling off a sincere smile. It works! Same goes with your confidence – act confident and soon you will feel that way too. Every move that you make with confidence and you then pull off will just confirm that you’re capable of confident performances all you need to do is focus and believe in yourself. Combine this with the first tip and you have a quick shortcut to gaining back your confidence.
Remember your good performances and try to pick them apart detail by detail. Find a cozy place, maybe lay down, relax and try to remember and recreate the actions you did when you had a good and confident performance. What was going through your head, what was your movement like and why was it like that. Try to recreate these moments in your head as vividly as possible and guide yourself through them. This will help you realize that you’re capable of great and confident decisions and help you with your confidence as the brain activity is quite similar to the one in the actual performance.
4. Find the fun it
Remember why you started playing football. The higher level you’re at the more can playing football feel like a chore. There’s more at stake, there’s more individual responsibility and often the defensive side of your game becomes more important than the attacking. Remember yourself you’ve come this far because you love football and you’ve always been good at it. A bad run can’t ruin that. If your slump in confidence is starting to affect your attitude towards football try to make it fun again. Gather your friends and go to the nearest pitch and play 5-a-side. Come early or stay after training and play rondo with your teammates. If you’re playing with friends and without stakes, you’re sure to relax more and embrace the fun. You’re still playing football and you’re still trying to do your best – same as you do on matchday. Even playing with worse opponents can help with your confidence as long as you’re focused on performing well.
5. Ask for advice
When you’re feeling low in confidence you start to put yourself down and feel like you can’t do this or that. This can be the start of a spiral where you start believing your own negativity and your performances will only worsen. You should not be afraid to talk to your teammates and your coaches. If you’ve been with them for a while they know your game almost as well as you do and can help you a lot. Ask your teammates how they deal with this type of situations or simply ask them what they think you should do. More often than not you’ll hear that it is all in your head and they’ll even remember you about your previous good performances, which you can then try to recreate in your head as stated in the third tip. Coaches are used to dealing with this type of situations and should be the first to notice if it is not happening for you on the pitch. Ask for instructions and fulfill them. If you complete your tasks on the pitch and the coach is satisfied there is no reason for you to not feel confident. Take that success in your next game, keep working hard and eventually try doing more.
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