The game of soccer has various extraordinary moments that put players to the test every time. What is important is how a soccer player can manage these fears or challenges. No one has ever been successful without facing hurdles.
As a soccer player, you can play soccer without fear through exercises and repetitions. However, attacking the source of the fear is a major way to solve the problem.
To play soccer without fear, you have to face that fear. For example, you might be afraid of the imposing manner of the defender and give a poor pass.
You might not take that free-kick because you don’t want your teammates to laugh, or you might even be afraid of taking penalties because you are afraid to miss.
You need to understand that facing these fears head-on would go a long way to building up your soccer career. Acting on your fear would make you a successful soccer player.
- How to play soccer without fear?
- Build Confidence
- View mistakes with positivity
- Eliminate Embarrassment and Shame
- Practice with Teammates or other Players
- Get the Right Mindset
- Perform Psychological Exercises
- Be open about your fears and question them
- Have Fun Playing Soccer
- Deal with Criticisms
- Take Actions
How to play soccer without fear?
A major reason for fear of soccer is that you might not trust your skills or that you are afraid of people laughing at you when you make a mistake like dribbling and failing.
What is important is to trust yourself so that your teammates can, in turn, trust you. Remember that soccer is a game of teamwork.
When you have a fear of playing soccer, taking action is necessary. Your confidence increases when you take action, and in turn, your gameplay will improve.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that to become a better soccer player; you have to take Mental training, Physical training, Food and rest, Technical training, Recovery, and injury prevention into consideration.
Though it is normal to feel anxious, lack of confidence and anxiety in soccer can prevent you from playing without fear.
You must have missed a lot of penalties or even played a lot of shots that went too wide off, which would have led to your fear of soccer. Scenarios like the above can make your anxiety or fear of soccer improve. But then, how do you play soccer without fear?
You need to, first of all, understand that making mistakes or failing is a normal occurrence, and most importantly, it does not in any way impede you from playing soccer.
Even great soccer players like Neymar, Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi have made mistakes in soccer. So you need to be able to learn from your mistakes because you would succeed by not making the same mistakes.
You also need to realize that to play soccer without fear and achieve greatness; you need to do the things that you are afraid of.
Below, you will find various methods (psychological and physical) that can help you to play soccer without fear.
Playing soccer is a mental game. Therefore you need to be confident at playing it. Confidence helps in reducing and eliminating the fear of soccer.
There are various ways that you can use in building your confidence in soccer to eliminate fear; below are some of them.
Practice to Feel Confident
A good way to eliminate soccer fear is to practice your moves till you are proficient in them. Take your time to practice slowly. Rather than focusing on your speed, focus on your techniques and tricks. Try to be comfortable with playing, then increase your speed as you feel comfortable.
Take lessons from drills online and from coaches when you are not confident of beating a player or a defender. Watch tutorials of match plays and put effort into working on them. Ensure you make an effort as much as possible to take on training sessions so you can improve your game.
Practicing a move as many times as possible increases your ability. Try to practice with friends, yourself, or with cones. Take on team practices, and ask other players and your coach for advice on practicing your skills.
While you practice your skills, you would see an improvement in your skill level and when the time comes to show your skills in a game, be mentally prepared to show what you have practiced.
What you have done in practice can be done in a real game. The continuous practice sessions that you had will reduce your fear and make you confident to succeed.
Practice Ball Control
Your ability to handle the ball increases your confidence in getting past a defender, scoring free kicks or penalties. In addition, having good ball control ensures that you are not afraid of any player on the pitch.
Work on your foot and eye coordination and perform ball juggling exercises. Also, try to practice dribbling as it increases your ball control.
Make use of cones to practice dribbling, and also try to practice with walls. It also helps to increase your foot and eye coordination.
Learn Soccer Tricks
Learning soccer tricks has a way of reducing soccer fear. For example, if you can perform some dribbling tricks, you would be able to beat players with ease and earn cheers from spectators.
Tricks also help you to feel confident on the pitch and navigate through tough situations.
View mistakes with positivity
Everybody makes mistakes as it is a part of being human, even some of the best soccer players in the world have made mistakes on the pitch. When you make mistakes, be positive and don’t keep thinking about the mistakes. Know that after a mistake is made, you can bounce from it.
Ensure that you realize that you have made a mistake, then adjust yourself and learn from the mistake that you made, so it won’t be repeated. Don’t ponder too much on mistakes that you made because thinking too much about mistakes might likely cause you to make more mistakes.
Take Cristiano Ronaldo, for example. In a match against Newcastle United after his second debut for Manchester United on 12th September 2021. In the 11th minute of the game where he skipped past a defender and sent his shot to the side net. He was greeted by hum from fans who saw his mistake as a sign of nervousness.
In an attempt to shoot the ball at the next chance he got, Ronaldo almost missed the ball and fell on his butt. This mistake was made in front of thousands of spectators and fans.
But what is noteworthy is that Ronaldo knew he made a mistake; he bounced back after he made a mistake. He did not let the mistake get to him. His thought was, I’ll get another chance at the goal, and he did because Ronaldo scored two goals for Manchester United to win 4-1.
Therefore, as a soccer player, when you make mistakes, don’t dwell on them. Instead, follow the example of Ronaldo and other veteran soccer players by getting the mistake out of your mind and improving your game.
Making a mistake does not mean you would repeat the same mistake. We learn from mistakes. Know that you made a mistake, then move on. You might even score the winning goal or make that perfect defense for your team the next chance you get.
Soccer is as much a mental battle as it is physical. So to eliminate your fear of soccer, you need not only the physical qualities but also the mental qualities.
You can make use of visualization or mental rehearsals to go through practices or important events or scenarios. Visualization or mental rehearsals are internal; they take place deep in your mind.
Visualization and imagination do not only help on the pitch; it also helps to hone your confidence before a match game. For example, you could picture how you would make passes, score goals, defend, dribble or even tackle the opponent.
Pre-match visualization will help in removing your fear, but not just any visualization, but positive visualization. You have to think up images in your mind that would lead to a positive outcome.
For example, if you want to remove your fear of soccer, imagine yourself playing soccer and doing the things that you are unable to do or are afraid of.
Take, for example; you could be afraid of tackling your opponents because you feel that they are bigger or more fit than you.
To stop this fear, you can visualize a scenario where you skillfully tackle that player and retrieve the ball for your team. Another example could be that you are afraid of taking penalties because you always miss them.
You can positively visualize yourself overcoming that fear and taking a good penalty. You could even picture top-class goalkeepers as your opponents. Remember that you do not need to be on a pitch to visualize any scenario.
You could be on your bed at home or on a bus to train and visualize yourself scoring goals, saving penalties, scoring penalties, or even tackling attackers. Ensure that your visualization has a positive outcome.
When practicing tackling, visualize your timing of tackling before you move. When practicing taking penalties, visualize where the ball would be placed before you take the shot. If you want the ball to hit the top corner, visualize that happening in your mind.
Eliminate Embarrassment and Shame
One of the most common fears that soccer players face is the fear of embarrassment and shame. Soccer players that usually play soccer too safe and don’t want to make mistakes often fall into this category.
For such soccer players, the fear of making mistakes is greater than the hope of doing something better.
As a soccer player, you can solve this fear by creating an environment where if you make a mistake, you would be encouraged, supported and there will be positivity rather than negativity or embarrassment.
Practice with Teammates or other Players
To eliminate your fear of soccer, you could try practicing with other people or teammates. However, visualizing alone doesn’t help. You have to practice by putting yourself out there.
You can visualize realistically, but what matters is that you perform when on the pitch. Therefore, the test on the field is the most important.
Practice your fears with teammates or with older soccer players. They will help and guide you. Also, don’t forget the importance of a coach. His responsibility is to guide you on the right path.
Get the Right Mindset
Getting the right mindset is important in eliminating your fear of soccer. Instead of thinking of your fear, think of how you would score the free kick or the penalty or how best to tackle the striker or how best to beat the defender.
Believe that you can do it by having faith in yourself and do not think that you are going to fail. Although you might have made a mistake before, that does not mean that you would make the same mistake.
Channel your attention and energy at present, and you will see yourself eliminating your fears and playing smoothly and more effectively.
Losing confidence tends to create excuses and lead to the mindset that your opponent is superior to you in some way.
These excuses have a way of creating negativity and eroding your confidence. Ensure that you have the right mindset and remove every excuse; you would discover an instant increase in your confidence.
Fear has a way of removing your focus from the important things in soccer. Therefore your mind must be focused on the right path; playing soccer your way and having fun.
Perform Psychological Exercises
Before any game, you could perform various kinds of physiological exercises to reduce your fear of the game, from controlled breathings to meditations to self-instruction training to relaxation techniques.
Performing such exercises with the help of a psychologist before a matchday would go a long way to alleviate your fear and, in the long run, eliminate your fear of the game.
Be open about your fears and question them
The game of soccer is collectively played as a team and not based on certain individuals. The team is meant to work together; therefore, if you are bothered by something or fear something, open up to your coach or teammates. The coach is there to listen, help and support you, and to give you advice.
Make use of the team support to develop your resilience. Also, question your fears, and you will discover that some of them are illogical and easy to overcome.
Have Fun Playing Soccer
As a soccer player, you can play the game without fear when you have fun in the game. Therefore, playing some amazing games on the pitch would lead you to the realization that you were having fun while playing.
This is because you left all your fears aside and decided to just have fun in the game.
There would be no pressure when you are having fun. Most soccer players play soccer because they enjoy the game and have fun playing, so should you. It shouldn’t be that you are forced.
When you feel anxious pregame, visualize what it is like to have fun playing on the pitch. Your love for soccer should overcome every fear. You might then realize that playing soccer for fun eliminates fear.
Deal with Criticisms
Soccer is a game where players are usually criticized for performing certain actions. This could create a mark in a player and result in a phobia for the sport.
As a player, you have to deal with criticisms. You must increase your mental toughness to deal with criticisms. When you make mistakes and you are criticized by fans or spectators, deal with it. It comes with the game.
View criticisms as a way of improving yourself. Criticisms should not be viewed with negativity. See it as a source of improvement.
Various methods have been discussed above to help you deal with the fear of soccer. However, these methods would be invalid if you do not take steps for self-improvement.
As a soccer player, you have to take the necessary steps to get rid of the fear of soccer. If you are looking to improve your game and be among the best soccer players, you have to eliminate fear.
Playing soccer without fear is easily achievable; you just have to be confident and be determined to eliminate every cause of fear.
It is important that you have the right mindset towards battling your fear of soccer.
Following the methods listed above will help you build confidence in soccer while eliminating the fear of soccer.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!