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4.9 out of 5 stars
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 16 August 2012
Great read and superb tool to add that edge to a player's mental part of the game .. An easy read with easy to remember statements and suggestions .. I'm not a footballer but it's tips give you a very positive outlook .. I recommend the book to players and I will be sending my players messages that I've picked up from it to give them a little boost .. it will also make me sound like I know what I'm talking about too!!

Very clever writing .. keeps it snappy and real .. not a cheesy self help book!
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on 26 September 2012
I first came across Dan's work during a conversation with the @coachingfamily on Twitter surrounding issues with player's confidence and how we as coaches could try to help rebuild it. Dan's website was suggested as the first port of call and after downloading his free psychology book I was immediately impressed by Dan's approach and his use of visualisation techniques and keywords to create a players "soccer image". This was in the main due to the way that Dan presents the techniques in a simple straight forward way that players can relate to. I'm pleased to say that his new book Soccer Tough continues in the same vein.

The book itself is set out logically and mirrors the format of a football match. The first half concentrates on creating your soccer image or mindset and how this translates into your self belief based around 3 principles of memory, imagination and perception.

There's a half time break which; in keeping with how half time talks should be, is a brief summary of what's been covered in the first half and a look forward to what the second will bring. The second half further explores ways to build confidence and focus; it talks about training effectively and looks to further enhance a player's mindset. Of particular note is the concept of building a player's Match script based around a focus philosophy of:

"The me, the now, the script"

It's really fascinating and more importantly thought provoking stuff!

The mini case studies presented on professionals Dan has worked with alongside the examples set by famous figures from within the game give players real life examples to relate to. After all if these methods and practices are good enough for professionals at the top of their game then surely any other prospective footballer will benefit?

The book in the main is directed at players from all levels but it's also a valuable resource for coaches. Our job is to help players become the best they can be so by helping them mentally as well as physically both the coach and the player will be all the better for it. It's not a one stop shop to fix players mentality and resolve any confidence issues but it will certainly help set them on the right road and help them to cope with future challenges.

I'd thoroughly recommend this book to any coach or player who wants to improve their or their team's performance. Coupled with the CD that is available on Dan's website it's been a useful addition to my coaching armoury and has been warmly welcomed by my players many of whom who have since purchased their own copy!
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on 7 October 2014
Given the fuss made over the fact that the England squad were taking a sports psychologist with them to the Brazil World Cup last summer, you’d think that sports psychology was still some new fad; slightly misunderstood, slightly feared, slightly suspicious. While some of those feeling may well be true for more people than you’d think, the difference that can be made by training your mind to think and perceive differently for sports people at the elite level is considerable.

This book, by the sports psychologist Dan Abrahams who works within football and golf, aims to explain some simple and easy to use techniques which can achieve quick results by focusing the mind in a more productive way, or learning to block out various negative impulses.

One of the most interesting ideas to me was that of a “script” of around three key areas of focus for a player to repeatedly bring to mind throughout a match or training. These should only be focused on things that the player can have control over, such as a striker reminding himself to be constantly moving to make things difficult for his opposing defender. Such a simple technique allows a player to keep the controllable aspects at the forefront of the mind throughout the game. In addition to banishing any focus on something as uncontrollable as the weather and pitch conditions, or what the opposition are doing, assists in keeping the players mind on areas that matter and not on those that are irrelevant.

Other examples include banishing the fear of mistakes or keeping confidence levels high through a shift in mind focus and body language. There is also a fascinating section on killing ANTs, relating to Carlton Cole and the Automatic Negative Thoughts that crept into his mind, as they naturally do to everyone. What is needed is the training to banish them when they appear and to eventually stop them even appearing in the first place. This requires a lot of training of course

Abrahams explains each of these techniques in a very easy to understand style that should make what can be a highly complex subject accessible to many. There are undoubtedly much deeper levels to delve into, but that isn’t the purpose of this book as such. It is intended as an introduction to some simple techniques that can improve any player’s focus, and as a consequence improve their game.

Abrahams has worked within football for around a decade with clubs including Queens Park Rangers, and with some named and unnamed players at varying levels. Those named include Carlton Cole and Anthony Stokes among the more familiar mentioned, and Abrahams gives details of some of the techniques he used to assist them and many others in aspects of their game.

This isn’t an overly deep study of psychology in football, but is a highly usable guide with practical examples that are both easily understood and relatively straightforward is work on and implement for the budding football coach and aspiring player. Even if a player took only one idea forward from this book, their outlook, mindset and focus would see an improvement. And that, at the end of the day, is what this book is all about.

This review is from my website http://thesportsbookreview.com
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on 17 August 2012
As a semi-pro footballer I've heard a few sport psychologists speak at the clubs I've played at over the years. They never really convinced me of the importance of sport psychology in football but this book has. Someone recommended this book to me and I'm so pleased I bought it. My confidence tends to go up and down throughout the season and I have always just thought that's just the way I am. But the chapters on self belief and confidence have shown me that I can do simple mental exercises to take control of my confidence

There is so much material here to use. I was fascinated by the idea of 'The script' and have started to use in both training and matches. It's really tightened up my focus and given me a way to deal with my distractions.And the chapter emotional management is something I'm going to be showing a lot of my team mates.

I heard Dan Abrahams on the radio last night which really drove me to write this review. This is a great book for footballers of all levels so simple and so interesting to read I wish I'd had it ten years ago Can't recommend enough.
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on 9 January 2013
I dont usually write reviews but after getting my book today in the post i felt i had to. Im 17 and not a vivid reader never have been and wasn't sure if i would be interested in reading this either! But after all the great reviews and much of a fan i am of Dan's there was only one option. It is a fantastic book, easy to follow and understand, after getting it today ive read it for 4hours straight and felt ive learnt so much about ways i can improve my game and use it in a real life situation. If anyone is not sure about getting this book, get it you won't regret it.
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on 27 September 2012
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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on 31 May 2015
The book examines a variety if techniques to help build a players focus and confidence through taking control of thought process and positivity. The author uses non technical language, an easy writing style and some good and real examples of how the techniques have worked with professional footballers. I found the techniques simple and have started to use them on my youth football team and my son who sometimes lacks confidence in his own ability and this holds him back.
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on 6 April 2015
A totally excellent book and so simply written to enable young and old to understand the thought processes that all footballers of all ages should have. As an aspiring coach I have found the psychology very interesting and will definitely be using this with my players from now on. Exceptionally helpful and totally enlightening. I will be returning to this book on numerous occasions and will definitely by using it's contents, both in training and on match days. Deserves its five stars!
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on 4 January 2015
Just finished reading @DanAbrahams77 brilliant 'Soccer Tough'. Highly recommend this as an extremely beneficial book to read for players at any level.

An easy to read book that offers practical, and real life examples, of powerful psychology techniques that will help anyone to improve and enjoy their game.

A fascinating insight into how the mental side of our game impacts on the physical side and, how to manage the processes that feed the mindset.

I'll read this time and again.

@Pumpherston_Utd
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on 3 September 2013
I have never given much thought to the world of sport psychology, naturally I was sceptical about purchasing Soccer Tough. "Mindset: the origin of performance and victim of performance" I adore this quote and I believe this neatly sums up Dan's fundamental principle. Soccer Tough is concise, thought provoking and most importantly every football player can relate to this book. Dan Abrahams breaks down the book into chapters which introduce readers with simple cues to manage and hone their mindset for maximum efficiency. The book demonstrates the brains natural tendencies to focus on the negative with examples from case studies and analogies, enabling you to recognise the flaws of your own mindset and correct them. Soccer Tough provides an inner script to allow the brain to remain focused throughout matches, harness visualisation and building confidence.

I cannot stress how great this book is, it is well written, structured and evocative. Do not have doubts about purchasing Soccer Tough, you will regret it if you do not read this book !
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