Champions in any sport never ease up. They are never satisfied. They are hungry for more, in fact they are ravenous. Their appetite isn’t just for success – that plays a part, that’s the end goal in mind. Actually, champions are fully focused on constantly improving their skills. They are always trying to learn and become better.
Every team and organization has a picture of success. And usually leaders will talk specifically to everyone about being “bought in” or “on board” with the goals of the team. If you are “on board”, that’s great! But are you being a positive contributor and helping the ship sail or are you just dead weight on the deck of the ship. Are you a positive contributor?
Speed of foot, speed of movement, speed of thought and speed of skill execution all contribute in determining a soccer player's ability to "play at speed". Weineck (1992) listed seven characteristics of speed and their significance as they relate to soccer performance. These elements include 1) perceptual speed, 2) anticipation speed, 3) decision making speed, 4) reaction speed, 5) speed without the ball, 6) action speed with the ball, and 7) game action speed. This article discusses an equally important element affecting soccer performance - decision making speed.
The very best show it through their body. They radiate confidence as they compete. Ronaldo – tall, striking and powerful. Messi – non stop, sharp, alert and alive. Casillas – dominant, demanding and commanding. The champions use their body like a machine that powers their mind – their game intelligence, their focus, their confidence, their freedom, their intensity and their want. Here’s how to keep a great body as you compete.
It’s not just your feet. It’s not just your ability to control or strike a ball. It’s not just your eyes. It’s not just your ability to see space or see a move ahead. Your words are important too. Not just to direct others, but also to direct yourself, To motivate yourself, To focus and to play with confidence. Your language, your words are important too! Do you have world class self-talk?
How do you conduct yourself in the hour before kick off? What do you do? How do you go about preparing for an important game? These 60 minutes are the most important of the week – they are 60 golden nuggets to set the tone of focus, and build a momentum of confidence. As the match approaches, you should have protocols that help your body and your mind attune to competitive intensity.