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Soccer Psychology is understanding the emotional and cognitive needs and capabilities of your players. This understanding is fundamental to your success as a coach. Soccer Classroom considers this the most basic tenet in the pyramid of soccer needs. Ultimately, this comes down to the business principle of “knowing your customer.”

If we strive to understand our players and their capabilities, we are fundamentally in a better position to meet their needs and connect with them as people, so we can motivate and inspire them. One of the biggest mistakes that we make is that we approach the game through our eyes – not our players’ eyes. As a result, we treat kids as “little” adults instead of, well, kids. Learning about the capabilities of individual age groups help us as coaches to set reasonable expectations, inspire composure in our players and set goals that are achievable.

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Recent Soccer Psychology Articles

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Mental Toughness in Soccer: Interview with Simon Hartley

The concept of “Mental Toughness” is a tried and true rallying call for most teams. Every coach wants players who are ‘mentally tough’, but really what does that mean? I had the opportunity to interview Simon Hartley, our resident Soccer Psychology Advisor, about this hot topic. Simon provided his thoughts in an earlier article about “What […]

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What Does Mental Toughness Look Like?

Many coaches talk about mental toughness, but do we really know what true mental toughness looks like? Simon Hartley, Soccer Psychology Adviser to Soccer Classroom, tackles this topic.

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Are you Soccer Tough? [mjpurpleaces]

It always cracks me up when I attend recreational youth soccer matches and hear parents yelling to five and six year old kids to “put on their game faces.” Don’t these well-intended parents know that these kids have no idea what a “game face” is on the field? I came across an excellent article from […]

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The Delicate Psychology of Momentum in Soccer

I just watched my home town team, who I have supported since I was about 8 years old, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They conspired to lose a Cup tie to a team two divisions below them. In the first game, my team were 2-0 up with 10 mins to go. In the […]

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Roberto Baggio's reaction after his missed PK in the 94' World Cup Final. (c) bigsoccer.com

Psychology of a Penalty Kick [Player Perspective]

One of the most mentally tough situations in the game of soccer is taking a penalty kick. When you step up to the line, your heart is probably pounding and a million thoughts are going through your mind. What can you do to calm your nerves and assure that you hit the back of the net?

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Do you have Messi's Creativity? (Photo: Tpower1978)

Creativity in Soccer; It is Child’s Play Really

I’ve been reading about the current lack of creativity in soccer players in the press. Coaching, it seems, has focussed heavily on the technical, tactical and physical development of players for the last few years. However there seems to have been little done to enhance creativity, innovation and flair. Where’s the flair?

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Steve Webb from YAthlete

Why Goal Setting and Self Evaluation Works for Athletes

The one thing that separates the successful athletes who reach their highest potential level from those who don’t are the ones who lack focus. Focus defined is the concentration of attention or energy on something: i.e. a goal. As an athlete looking to make it in their respective sport, whether its high school, collegiate, professional or Olympic level, having a focused and clear goal-oriented mindset is what will propel the athlete towards success.

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Standing Alone in Net (Photo: Boocal)

Goalkeeping: Is There a ‘Right’ Age to Start?

There are clearly many myths surrounding youth team goalkeeping. The obvious (outdated) of course is that it is only ever the largest, overweight, tallest, last to be picked, most unpopular, perceived worst outfield or indeed craziest kid who gets ‘stuck’ in goal. This is not and should never be the case. But, how should this be handled?

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Carragher suits up with the Best (Photo: Ben Sutherland)

How to Overcome Fear of Failure in Soccer

In the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa, England performed well below par. There were several possible reasons given for the performances. On a number of occasions the Manager sighted ‘fear’ and ‘pressure’. Many people would logically deduce that this was linked closely to the media coverage and the hype that had been created in the lead up to the event. However, the media coverage and the hype will only be perceived as ‘pressure’, if we buy into it.

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Communication Confusion! (c) DickTay2000

Creating a Positive Atmosphere through Communication

Soccer demands effective communication to build excellent teams. While there are several different aspects of communication, I’ve set to focus on the three in which I feel are most important: getting to know your players, complementing and creating a positive atmosphere, and communicating on the pitch. Check out how to improve communication with your team!

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