1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic book for players/coaches at all ages!,
This review is from: Soccer Tough: Simple Football Psychology Techniques to Improve Your Game (Paperback)
Wow, what a good read! This book is a wonderful guide for the soccer mindset, and how to gain and sustain a competitive edge from the "mental side" of the game. I found the book to be incredibly well structured and to provide easy to remember frameworks for the various components of the competitive mindset. By breaking it into elements of memory, imagination and perception, the author provides an excellent framework for the kinds of exercises and activities that can influence a player's mind. The simple ideas laid out in the book, seem as though they should be almost obvious, but strikingly are not upon reflection. They are often taken for granted elements of competitive athletes and too often completely ignored in their training. The way theses various dimensions are combined and sequenced is where the book's power lies. The stepwise approach to player growth and layering of insights highlight the immense value of a little investment in training the mind as well as the body of the competitive athlete.
I bought this book wanting to help a youth soccer team I coach that is having difficulties translating gains made and skills acquired in practice to match day. There is a fantastic analogy in the book about crossing a long and wide enough to easily walk across plank on the ground, and then raising it high in the air that beautifully highlights the difference between the same tasks when the stakes or perception of the task have been changed. I thought it explained so well how players can train like lions and become tentative as lambs in the pressure of competitive play. The approach set out in the text to help players become more distinguishing of those factors that they can control and those that they can't as a way to breakthrough and overcome such challenges was enlightening. The guidance provided by the book for having players learn how to catch the natural tendency of the mind to focus on problems and turn negative, and to spot it, stop it and switch it, and what to switch it to, was a great lesson in how a bit of reflection through memory, positive vision for success through imagination, and techniques for reframing the perception of challenged faced, can free a players mind to focus on those things that they can immediately impact to increase their likelihood of success. The book is loaded with a series of fantastic anecdotes from the authors work with players at the highest levels of professional soccer that do a wonderful job of pulling the concepts into a very tangible, and practical way of going about directly working on the mental angle of the game. In my years of coaching I've been fortunate to have played for some amazingly charismatic and motivating coaches, and have had success myself at being an effective coach, but prior to reading this book I don't believe anyone had effectively set out a roadmap for me as to how those great coaches I knew were influencing my performance, or how I could deliberately and directly take an approach to do the same in a systematic way. I felt like this book helped take it from pure efforts to inspire and motivate, to the same level as the types of exercises we do for developing the physical side of player development. This is a exercise regimen for the brain, to achieve the highest levels of a competitive edge.
Probably the best thing I can say about this book is that I could not put it down, I read it in one afternoon. I have since referenced in many times in the passing days, and it has triggered a whole program of activity with me and the team I coach. At practice recently I took a very first step on a group level of having each of the young players on the team recall their peak moment of the season so far, and share it with their teammates. The level of energy immediately increased, their faces lit up and the smiles went right through a very competitive scrimmage where they played with an intensity they had been lacking. This simple investment in the team's mindset in a way that was inspired by reading the book, made an immediate difference and made it clear to me that I have already benefitted from reading this book, and have much more work to do in this area, with a fantastic resource of this text as my guide. Profound, well thought out, practical and to my mind invaluable advice and guidance for anyone working with competitive soccer players. I highly, and strongly recommend it.
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