Play Soccer Without Fear (Confidence Breeds Success)

In soccer, anxiety or a lack of confidence can stop you from playing without fear. We all feel anxious at times and our confidence can be low for various reasons. It’s normal.

In this article, we’ll give you some tips to play soccer without fear.

Some key points we’ll cover today are:

  • Practice and visualization
  • Put mistakes out of your mind
  • Have fun

If you’re feeling anxious when playing soccer, don’t worry because it’s normal and you can overcome it with our tips.

Liverpool Asia Tour 2015
Liverpool Asia Tour 2015

How to play soccer without fear

You can play soccer without fear by following these 5 tips:

  1. Practice with purpose
  2. Positive visualization
  3. Don’t dwell on mistakes
  4. Believe in yourself
  5. Have fun

Before we go further with these 5 tips, let’s look at a quick example of a soccer player getting anxious before a game.

Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest players of all time, was ‘super nervous’ before his second Manchester United debut.

This is a player who has won countless individual and team awards. Even with his success, he still got super nervous before the game against Newcastle United.

So, don’t worry if you’re feeling nervous before a game. It happens to the best players as well.

It’s how you deal with it that counts, and we’re here to help with our 5 tips for playing soccer without fear.

1. Practice with purpose

To practice with purpose, you should concentrate on a particular part of your soccer game. Maybe you’re a defender, and you get anxious when an attacker dribbles towards you. In that case, you’ll want to practice that situation.

Identify situations that you’re afraid of and practice them.

Think about what gives you the most fear on the soccer field. During practice, put yourself in that situation repeatedly.

This repetition will allow you to become comfortable in those fearful situations.

Imagine that having the ball when you’re surrounded by opposing players is your biggest fear on the soccer field. To overcome that fear, practice repeatedly in that situation.

In training, get your teammates to surround you and try to get the ball from you. Or get your friends to do it when you practice at home.

The more you practice this fearful situation, the more comfortable you’ll become.

This practicing with purpose will lessen your anxiety. And with repetition, you’ll get better in that situation, which will increase your confidence.

So, identify the situation that you’re afraid of. Then, practice with purpose in these scenarios. That’ll help you to play soccer without fear.

2. Positive visualization

Positive visualization is forming images in your mind that have a positive outcome. So, if you want something to happen, positive visualization is imagining it happening.

Think of it as positive pictures or a positive video in your mind.

Now, let’s use taking penalties as an example. Taking a penalty in a game might be your biggest fear in soccer.

You can use positive visualization to help you overcome that fear. It’s best to combine this tip with our first tip: practice with purpose.

But you can visualize anywhere, too. In the car or bus on the way to training, you can visualize taking penalties and scoring every time.

Always make sure you visualize a positive outcome – scoring the penalty in this case.

When you’re practicing penalties, visualize where you want the ball to go before you hit it. If you want to hit it low into the corner to the goalie’s left side, imagine that happening in your mind.

Focus

Focus on the image of the ball going exactly where you want it.

Once you’re focused through positive visualization, take the penalty. When you’re practicing, keep these 2 things in mind:

Positive visualization and execution.

That means you visualize where the ball will go, and then you kick it there.

Don’t worry if you can’t kick the ball exactly where you want straight away. It takes practice.

Visualize

But if you practice positive visualization and execution, you’ll keep getting better. With enough time and practice, you’ll be able to pick your spot and put the ball there.

Then, when you go to take a penalty during the game, you’ll be prepared. Just do what you’ve been practicing.

Imagine the ball going into the goal and step up and execute.

Positive visualization can be used for other situations in soccer as well, not just taking penalties.

Think about what you’re afraid of on the soccer field. Then, visualize a positive outcome and execute it. It’s a great way to become comfortable and play soccer without fear.

3. Don’t dwell on mistakes

This means if you make a mistake, don’t keep on thinking about it. Realize you made the mistake but then move on from it. Put it out of your mind.

It’s important to realize what you did wrong. That means you can adjust so the same mistake won’t happen again. But don’t get hung up on the mistake.

If you keep thinking about a mistake, you’re likely to make even more mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human. And soccer players make mistakes on the field, too.

Example

Let’s take Ronaldo’s return for Manchester United against Newcastle United as an example again.

As we already know, Ronaldo was super nervous before the game. And when he got his first chance to shoot on goal, he made a mistake.

When Ronaldo went to shoot, he almost missed the ball completely and fell on his butt. He made a mistake in front of thousands of fans.

But Ronaldo is an experienced player, and he knows that mistakes are part of soccer. He got up from the ground and laughed off the mistake. He was likely thinking: No big deal. I’ll get more chances to score.

And he did. Manchester United won 4-1, with Ronaldo scoring 2 goals.

So, if you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it.

Follow Ronaldo’s example. Put the mistake out of your mind and get on with the game.

Just because you made a mistake one time, doesn’t mean you’ll do it again. Realize your mistake and move on. Maybe you’ll score the winning goal with your next chance.

4. Believe in yourself

If you’re anxious and lack confidence, think about your training and believe in yourself. You’ve put in the practice.

Trust in your training and believe that you can do it during a game.

All the best players have high self-belief. That’s because they’ve put in the work in the training field. They know they’ve done the practice and know they’re prepared for the game.

People who work with Ronaldo and Messi always say that both players are the first at training and the last to leave. They put in the work. That allows them to believe in themselves.

So, follow their example.

Put in the work and believe in yourself.

5. Have fun

To play without fear, have fun during a game. Have you ever played an awesome game and realized you were having a lot of fun on the field? It’s likely you played well because you were having fun.

When you’re having fun, you’re not putting pressure on yourself. You can laugh off a mistake as Ronaldo did.

A lot of us play soccer because we love the game. It’s fun!

If you’re feeling anxious before a game, remember that soccer is fun. Remember why you like to play the game in the first place.

Use your love for soccer to overcome any fears. Just go out on the field and have fun.

You’ll likely realize that having fun allows you to play soccer without fear.

Those are our 5 tips to play soccer without fear. Combine your purposeful practice with visualization to prepare you for games. Once it’s time to play, don’t dwell on any mistakes and believe in yourself.

And most importantly, have fun.

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Playing Soccer FAQ

Is soccer a contact sport?

While tackling with excessive force, charging, and striking opponents are illegal in soccer, players often overstep the boundaries. Although this generally results in appropriate sanctions being awarded, it doesn’t prevent significant contact from occurring.

What do soccer teams do at halftime?

At halftime, soccer teams exit the field. They return to their bench area. For youth teams, they may not have a locker room. However, many college and professional teams do head back to the locker room. 
The break is an opportunity for teams to collect themselves. They may talk about what is going well in the game, and what they need to resolve.

How do I join a soccer team?

Attend trials for schools, teams in your local area. If no trials are due, then contact the coach to see if you can join a practice. Search for local soccer teams and try a few to see if it suits your ability and it also needs to be a place that you would enjoy. Scholarships are also available depending on your age, ability, and location. 

Why does a soccer ball curve?

The angle and speed with which the soccer player’s boot strikes the ball determine how far the ball travels. The ball won’t curve or spin if the player hits it right in the middle with their foot following through in a completely straight line.

What are some injuries players get when playing soccer? 

The most common knee and ankle injuries are mild to severe sprains, strains, and tears. Other less common knee and ankle injuries include dislocations and fractures.

What are some ways to pass a soccer ball?

+ Inside foot: Using the area above and inside of the big toe.
+ Outside foot: This creates a spin on the ball to swerve the ball around players
+ The Laces: A powerful volley can be performed with a straight leg swing.
+ Spin: If the toes get underneath the ball with some force you create a backspin.
+ Back heel: Connect the heel with the ball to reverse play.
+ Header: Often used for clearing and shooting, but can be a creative passing move.
+ Body: Use any part of the body to deflect the ball into the path you desire.

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