Home / Insights / 5 Powerful Football Psychology Tips: INSTANTLY Improve Today

By Adam Streeter | MINDSET | January 11, 2024

5 Powerful Football Psychology Tips: INSTANTLY Improve Today

For professional players to be at their best, they have to have all aspects of their game completely optimised. From technical, tactical, physical, recovery, nutrition & sleep. However, one area stands out in separating the best players in the world from the average ones.

This area is football psychology and mindset.

But how is psychology used in football? From dealing with pressure to bouncing back from spells of low confidence, this area really does affect all other areas & can define the world’s best to the players that never could quite make the jump to the professional ranks.

In this article, we will provide you with 5 football psychology tips to INSTANTLY take your game to the next level!

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1. Football Psychology Tips #1: Become an elite learner

In sports, the ability to learn fast is often what separates the repeat champions from those who have loads of talent but never quite make it.

People you’re competing with are developing week by week. So, how do you ensure you are developing faster and better, in order to provide a competitive advantage? This is where sport psychology can really come into play.

Become growth minded…

The fixed mindset in football

There are two different mindsets that are involved when it comes to learning something new.

The first is the fixed mindset which believes that intelligence is always inherited, not developed. This mindset believes that there are certain people who are “smart” and others who are not. They do not believe learning is possible to them which leads to people stopping trying because they don’t think it will make a difference. 

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Growth mindset in football

On the other hand, the growth mindset believes that intelligence is developed over time through hard work and effort.

This mentality believes that there is always room for improvement and does not give up easily because they know that they can always do better.

So if you have a growth mindset, you are motivated to continue learning to improve yourself. Push yourself hard to focus on having a growth mindset and approaching all the situations you face in this way. This makes up our first football psychology tips.

2. Football Psychology Tips #2: Emotional control

We’ve all experienced athletes losing their emotions and doing something rash or doing something they won’t normally do.

From red cards to reckless challenges, they all happen because of their emotional reaction.

As a consequence, they put the team or their performance at risk. One key part of any athlete is how you stay in control of your emotion no matter what happens to you.

The Emotive part of the brain (re head) triggers speedy decisions. If something causes a threat to us during the game, say a bad tackle from an opponent, the redhead could kick in so fast and we can easily be carried over by emotions, leading to irrational thinking that could affect our teammates or performance.

On the other hand, the rational part of the brain is more analytical and provides highly thoughtful decisions. What’s really important is to manage your emotions as much as possible. 

Football psychology tips: Actions to help manage your emotions and maintain emotional control

  • Identify the threats that could trigger your emotions during the game.
  • Have a clear strategy on what you can do to get you from redhead state to blue head state.
  • Some activities include mindful breathing, cognitive loading, and speaking to a teammate.

With loads of research to demonstrate how important Emotional control is to football it makes up our second of our football psychology tips list.

3. Football Psychology Tips #3: Catastrophizing

One type of negative thinking is catastrophizing.

This is when you put the truth out of proportion of the actual event. You focus on the negative and make it much bigger than it actually is. You see the negative as the only possible outcome.

It is a common response to a situational problem and is difficult to stop. You can see this in footballers who may view one missed shot as a sign they will miss the next one too. Below we have put some classic sports psychology tips in how to help in these situations.

How to overcome catastrophizing

  • Become aware of the negative thoughts and write them down to help you rationalize and think more objectively about them.
  • Challenge and unpick the negative thoughts. If you didn’t play as much as you would like to, try and identify areas to improve on. 
  • Reframe your negative thoughts into something more positive and developmental. It could be finding lessons from the mistakes you made.

Overcoming negative thinking makes up the third football psychology tips.

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4. Football Psychology Tips #4: Controlling the controllable

When players ask, How can I improve my football mentality? We firmly believe In training, focusing on the things that are in your control can help you focus on what you have an impact on and reduce the interference. 

Think of things that you have no control over but actually find yourself focussing on. These things may become interferences that may have an impact on your bubble. They could be things like media, coaches and fans statements, referees’ decisions, etc.

Identify what’s in your control. Things like self-talk, communication, and positioning. 

The more you focus on the things within your control, the more influence it will have on the things outside your control, which leads to better performance. It sounds like an easy thing to do but if you are able to genuinely put the below soccer psychology tips into action it has the potential to really help your game.

How to help control the controllables: Actions

  • Draw a circle on a piece of paper and write down what’s within your control on the inside and identify the interferences and write them on the outside. 
  • Focus on the things within your control. By doing it before each game, your brain will train at focusing on the controllable factors. 
  • Review your performance accurately. Review how well you did on each controllable within your bubble. Think of what you did well, as well as what you need to improve on.

Control the controllables makes up our fourth football psychology tips.

5. Football Psychology Tips #5: Self-belief and confidence

Studies have shown that self-belief has a direct effect on athletic performance.

Athletes who are convinced that they are better than their opponents consistently perform better than those who lack this confidence.

The same principle applies to all sports – golf, tennis etc – but it is especially true in football, where confidence is often the difference between success and failure.

The number of goals scored by an individual player will often reflect their self-belief.

How do you improve your belief in football?

  • Identify the tangible successes you have achieved that provide evidence to support high beliefs – such as trophies, goals, and assists. Things that are fact and give you evidence of success.
  • Identify intangible successes; These are things such as a positive conversation with your coach or a positive comment in training from your teammate.
  • Identify your strengths and qualities that have led to your successes and actively think about them.

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Football Psychology Tips Summary

  1. Become an elite learner: If you can learn faster, review and reflect on your performances you will put yourself at a huge advantage.
  2. Have a growth mindset: Be open-minded to new ideas, to ways of doing things & practice the things you aren’t good at rather than taking the easy option and always practising things you are already good at.
  3. Emotional control: Identify the things that can frustrate you & think about ways that you overcome that frustration and get yourself back to a rational way of thinking quickly whilst on the pitch.
  4. Overcome negative thinking: It is human nature to focus on the negatives too much or put too much weight on them. A small problem can suddenly seem like the end of the world. Take time to identify what negative thoughts you are having and reframe them into positives. This could be finding the lessons in the mistakes you made.
  5. Focus on what you can control: Think about all the things you are in control of and put all your attention and effort into those things. Similarly write down all the things you can not control (such as referee’s decisions, and what the media are saying)
  6. Develop and work on your football confidence: It is too easy to think about the negatives and focus on improving all the time without taking time to appreciate your strengths to develop your confidence. Think about all the tangible success you have had (trophies/awards/selection etc), think about all the in-tangible success you have had (positive conversation etc) & finally think about your strengths that have led to your success.

We hope you have enjoyed this sneak peek into some football psychology tips and we hope these sports psychology techniques can instantly help transform your game.

If you want to take this to the next level and give it real true attention. Get our incredible football psychology masterclass to help improve your game today. Check out our 7 part psychology video masterclass. Containing 7 HD videos and 7 activity workbooks this football psychology resource is an outstanding resource to help your game today!

Within this mindset masterclass, Adam walks you through how to create a bespoke individualised plan of your football success and how to unlock your potential.

If you want more incredible insights from our resident expert psychologist Adam Streeter please sign up for our FREE Football psychology mindset masterclass here.

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