Why does a team win the hardest match and lose the easiest one? Why does a regular performance become irregular during the season? Beyond injuries, player escape and other imponderable elements, there are individual aspects to players that are the key and need to be worked on and individualized specifically by the player.
Is it necessary to accept as coaches, that the success of this work of conceptual interiorization and player behavior depends on ours as coaches.
In this article we will talk about the key elements that we need to work with our players to individually inoculate the attributes that will make a difference as a team.
The individual ability of the player to face changing situations in sports determine the success of their next action. When an individual or collective error occurs, we all hear messages like “we don’t have to drag on the error”, “we must overcome frustration”, “nothing happened, we continue as we were” but the reality is that it does happen.
All these messages are results of the behavior we expect from the team, but what our players really need at that time, are previously worked emotional management tools. By using them, we will be able to readjust adverse situations and achieve the expected objectives as a team.
But what tools are we talking about? We refer to the INDIVIDUAL ATTRIBUTES detailed below.
Every athlete and especially in team sports such as soccer, individuals manage individual sensations and group relationships during the competition. The success of proper management of these relationship-sensations is underpinned by eleven attributes that every player must have internalized:
The player and especially the goalkeeper, must show off their personality within the field. Gestures must be serious and committed, actions forceful and safe, the voice of command strong and in constant support of peers. The player thus expresses to the opponent his commitment and rigor to win that match, something that multiplied by 11 players, creates the image of a solid and intimidating team.
Intelligence and dexterity
Each player’s physical limitations must be well identified and assumed by himself in the first instance. Only then will he be able to apply his best qualities in every part of the match. When we must cover in our position an adversary who is faster, more intense or stronger than us, we must be smart enough to take the best possible position by applying a style of play according to the work we must do. Therefore we must have sufficient capacity (intelligence) to deal with a problem differently than usual (skill).
The goal of the field player should always be to recover the ball, not make the play of the match. This vision is very important as it will eliminate the sense of failure and frustration that occurs when we lose the ball recurrently in clear goal situations or apparently controlled on the field. When we apply a positive defense, our target mechanisms that are “recovering the ball” are automatically reactivated, thus giving no time to a negative reaction or frustrated by losing it.
Linked to the above attribute, the successful player in the competition must be resilient. Resilience is the ability to adapt and overcome adverse situations that have arisen. A player who develops this attribute well will have infinitely more opportunities to succeed in his sporting career than anyone else who does not work this aspect.
The demand for a player to improve and contribute to the team is positive, but the over-demand is negative. Demanding more than normal overexposes us to failure and causes overpressure that destabilizes our capabilities. When our claims are excessively high in responsibility, an error causes a sharp fall ten times greater than normal. Recovery requires high effort and the risk of frustration is higher.
Therefore, the player must demanded as much as possible of himself but always within his well-known limitations to remain stable in the set of attributes.
Luck doesn’t come alone, you have to look for it and chase it, then it will show up. To do this, the player must always avoid having negative self-conversations and say things like “I’m not good enough”, “it’s very hard for me, I can’t handle this”, “no wonder I try I don’t get results”. These claims become self-fulfilling prophecies and a player who thinks so unconsciously will make these thoughts end up being true.
Knowledge and understanding
In many cases the game systems established by the coach can generate doubts of understanding fdue to lack of knowledge. In such cases the player must overcome his shyness and ask what he does not understand since it is of no use to pretend they have understood something when they really have not, with the risk of compromising the team for that lack of compression.
The level of intensity with which matches are played can lead to bad gestures or angry reactions lacking respect for the opponent. Beyond the lack of respect that this would entail, there is a very important underlying factor which is the manifestation of loss of control that we demonstrate to the opponent. A loss of control shows our weakness in the face of a situation making us vulnerable in our position, something we must avoid at all costs. Let’s remember what’s indicated in the first PERSONALITY attribute.
Self-confidence is the attribute by which we see ourselves as the player who gathers the characteristics necessary to be a good sportsman, a good teammate and a reliable player, willing to take responsibility and offer our best abilities. We must have a high self-esteem of ourselves to automatically increase self-confidence.
Winning intent is a powerful weapon to deal with any situation. It is developed by applying automotive techniques based on visualizations, affirmations, verbalization of intentions and mental trials. You can learn more about how to develop this attribute in the article published in our blog “PREPARING FOR MATCHES FROM THE GOALKEEPER´S PERSPECTIVE” applicable to both goalkeepers and field players.
Group Vs Team
It is important not to confuse group and team concepts, as their definition is clearly differentiated. Group and team are not synonymous, they have different connotations. People who form a group barely relate to each other, may not have a common goal while a common goal exists within a team.
The following characteristics define a team and it are very important to make sense of belonging to it:
- Leadership is shared
- Trust and mutual support exist
- The shared responsibility for the result is assumed, not at an individual level
- Communication and constructive criticism is promoted
- The people who make up the team are indispensable and essential to achieve the proposed goals. No one is left out.
The coach-trainer skills go through welcoming a group of players and turning them into a team.
These are the tools among others, which we use in our Club to create high performance teams in the different categories in which we compete, working the individual development to obtain the maximum overall result. And through HO SOCCER we want to share them with all of you.
JJosemi Rodríguez | C.D. Leganés
First Team and Youth Squads Goalkeeper Coach