Posted by PreSoccerTeam

The football evolution


The psychology of performance

What do we understand for football? A team sport that takes place every weekend in a stadium, which promotes a match 11 players against 11 player and, after 90 minutes, the winner team will be the one that introduces more times the ball to the net.

Now, let’s move to the reality of this sport and the daily work that is behind the show. So many factors participate in the match preparation such as the physical; the psychological and even the social factor which every time is gaining more importance.

From the point of view of a coach, we are involved in a new age of football, where our work is to manage and control many aspects of the athlete. In the past, coaches used to base all his work in the field but, nowadays, we also try to participate from their private life and control a big part of it; diets, resting time, recovery time, hobbies… All this attention aimed at getting the maximum performance of the player during the competition.

This style of management approaches coaches to the essence of the footballer so then becomes easy the integration of all of them to the group, just dealing with every player differently and giving specific responsibilities to each member. At the end, we should join all the individuals to make them believe in one and the same idea and objective. All the players have to understand the game model and the group in the same way.

We should understand the management of a team as the one used by a company in which the psychological part is very important and decisive for an optimal performance. The coach must be able to establish a relationship with all their players and to deal with each one with the same frequency but in a different way. This part of the work will require a deep analysis of all the members of the group and it will become one of the hardest challenges of the season, but once you have known deeply the whole team you can get an extremely high performance from your team.

Building a competitive team

In terms of football, nowadays, we are in a stage where the education of young football players is essential to develop a strong project with a promising future. This idea is increasingly adopted among the most competitive clubs, which have plenty of resources to improve the level of the young talents. For that reason, young players are gaining more and more importance in the elite of football.

Where is the difficulty of all this process? Clubs are looking for footballers with very specific characteristics, who can develop the responsibilities of a position within its game model. For this reason, the training is not the only aspect to focus all the attention, it is also important that the player understand the problems that appears during the competition and shows optimal solutions, adjusted to the coaches’ requirements. In this moment of the process is when coaches take an important role. The way we communicate with them will be extremely relevant and also the quality of the information we give to the players. We should provide them information to approach their solutions to an optimal one, but not just our answer. We must ensure he has understand the message and to repeat the idea until he implement it within the competition.

A good way to train this method is to extract different match situations and practice them during the training session. By using this method you can focus his attention to the main problem because you reduce some of the stimulus coming from the environment and encourage him to repeat that behaviours that give him a higher performance.

Our work should always be based on real game situations in order to connect psychologically with the player. Most of the professional players decrease their concentration when they find exercises, drills or games that are different from a match real situation.

Also for coaches it is easier to explain reduced situations, however they are not so rich as a full real situation, the coach will gain popularity among their players if he is 100% sure about his ideas and nobody discuss his ideas. For that reason, to divide the group in training sessions is always a good idea for the coach.

Our objective should be always to achieve a continuously improvement of the player regarding our game model and also his individual growing.

Football game styles

In the last 10 years, in Spain, we have been able to control the game thanks to the ball possession. F.C. Barcelona led by Guardiola or the Spanish national team are clear examples of it. However, does exist a way to control the game without the ball?

There are also examples teams that can control the phases of a game without the ball with a very special player profile. Those who we call “total footballer”. A player able to defend with the same intensity which he uses to attack. He should be able to play in different positions and, if possible he must have an athlete body. We are not saying that in the past the physical aspect didn’t has any importance, the idea we want to introduce is that the player should have a minimum physical requirements to play and his body must always evolve to a positive change; looking for an athlete more powerful and adjusted to the competition needs.

The German national team that has recently won the world cup 2014 is an example of this kind of teams. A national team full of players with three distinctive features: speed, strength and intelligence, additionally they played under a winner mentality.

To conclude, I must say that in football the perfection doesn’t exist and sometimes the imperfection during the game is necessary and effective. To be imperfect during the attack phase but being perfect in the defensive phase is clue to success. Above all, don’t forget that if you don’t enjoy playing football you won’t achieve the first condition nor the second one. Feelings move football.

Albert Xicota Garcia