By Adam Streeter | MINDSET | January 11, 2024
How to handle pressure in football – 13 Powerful Techniques to HELP you TODAY.
In order to maintain focus and play at their best Footballers need to control their emotions and keep their cool even during the highest levels of pressure.
In Football, Pressure can come from so many areas such as the crowd, coaches, families or even the player’s own expectations of themselves and of course most obvious the media pressure put on players at the top end of the sport.
Footballers need to learn how to handle pressure in football in order to play well and thrive as they rise up the ranks and play at higher and higher levels.
With that said, it is just as common for lower-level players to feel pressure before big games, trials or even during training when you want to impress the coach for example.
So Footballers should know that they will likely experience pressure at some point during a game or their careers. Therefore footballers need to develop ways in how to handle pressure in football and turn it from a negative feeling into a positive to help them be at their best.
So learning how to handle pressure in football is clearly a really important part of the game.
In this article, we will explore how to handle pressure in football and how to deal with pressure in sports, giving you some powerful techniques to put straight into your game today. So let’s get started.
Andre Ayew: How to handle pressure in football
In the clip below from our podcast leave no doubt Championship player & Guana captain talks about how we handle pressure in football and the techniques he uses to improve his game.
Andre talks about the importance of goal setting, staying disciplined, learning from your mistakes and how to be confident in football. Check it out below.
Take action: How to handle pressure in football 13 ways to reduce pressure.
We have established that pressure is always present in football so it is important we look at techniques to help deal with pressure or reduce its impact.
Trying any of these activities will help you cope better with pressure and perform better in games.
- Change your focus: Every game put the focus on improving and developing, instead of simply winning. This will allow you on learning new skills rather than simply focusing on the outcome which is not always in your control.
- Focus on what you can control: It is easy to feel pressure when you focus on things that are out of your control such as what people think, the referee’s decisions or the result. When looking at how to handle pressure in football there are too many factors that feed into what is out of your control and what causes you to feel pressure. Focus on YOU and what YOU can control.
- Don’t compare yourself to others – Comparison is the thief of joy. Instead, concentrate on your own strengths and weaknesses and try to improve on them. Unless used as fuel to improve, comparison usually leads to feelings of not being good enough which can hinder your mental toughness in football which subsequently can feel like more pressure as you feel like “you’re not good enough”.
- Embrace your inner critic – If something goes wrong, don’t let your inner critic take over and ruin your performance. Instead, how to handle pressure in football by embracing the criticism and learning from it. The best players are the ones that can learn and improve the fastest. This makes you feel more in control and reduces pressure.
- Positive self-talk – Focus on the task in hand, not how difficult it is or how much pressure you are feeling. You are most likely to have negative thoughts when you are under stress, it can be easy for negative thinking to take over such as “I Can’t” or “Just stop”. To reduce pressure on yourself during a hard game try saying things to yourself like “you’ve got this” “Keep going” Stay strong” “Breathe” etc.
- Meditation: This involves breathing deeply while focusing on nothing else but your breathing. If your mind wanders, bring it back to this single task until you have mastered it. It can calm you down and get rid of anxiety when you feel nervous about a game or about anything stressful in general.
- Yoga: Doing yoga exercises is another great way to relax your mind before playing football or even when you are not playing it. In terms of How to handle pressure in football yoga can give you an opportunity to focus on your mind and body whilst not thinking specifically about football.
- Go for a run: Going for a run is perhaps one of the most common activities for football players to deal with pressure because it releases chemicals in the brain that reduce anxiety and make people feel better about themselves. If you are anxious about a game coming up soon, go out for a run and let the endorphins do their work.
- Write in a journal: Writing about your feelings in a journal can help you deal with pressure, but it is essential that you keep it to yourself or with a small group of people because if you share it with anyone else, it can make you feel worse. It is better to write things down than suppress them so that they don’t affect you when you play football again.
- Listen to music: Listening to music can help you deal with pressure and anxiety. It is a great way to relax your mind and release some of the tension that builds up during the week. It can also help you focus when you are playing football because it can allow you to relax and keep your mind off the game for a period of time.
- Talk to a friend: Talking with a friend about your feelings and worries can be helpful – offloading to someone can allow you to see a fresh perspective which could reduce the feeling of pressure and allow you to How to handle pressure in football.
- Talk to your parents or coach: If you are having trouble dealing with pressure, talk to the people closest to you about it. You should also talk about things like anxiety and pressure with a trusted coach or counsellor, but only if you feel comfortable doing so and if he/she will not tell other people about it.
- Put pressure on your opponents: When thinking about your own pressure in football is it useful to think about how to pressure in soccer to put pressure on the opponent. Outworking your opposite man is a good example. If you are constantly working harder and trying to find space & pressing him when he has the ball it is an excellent way of putting pressure on someone else which in turn reduces the pressure on you!
How to handle pressure in football: Start with building a resilient mindset
A resilient mindset is about how you react to failure and setbacks in your football career. It is the way you think and how to frame problems.
When you encounter a problem, are they going to derail you or are they going to provide you with an opportunity to learn, grow and develop as a player? This fundamental mindset shift can have a huge impact on how you view the world.
How do you develop a resilient mindset?
You develop a resilient mindset by focussing on how to improve and not on what went wrong.
For example, if you miss a chance it’s easy to focus on the fact that you missed it and start to feel bad about yourself. But a resilient mindset is about keeping things in perspective and learning from your mistakes so you can do better next time.
Addressing the reasons behind why we make mistakes is also essential for a resilient mindset.
If we do not acknowledge our mistakes then we can’t learn from them and we’re more likely to repeat them. That’s why it’s important to be honest when analysing your performance after a match.
Developing a resilient mindset summary
- Focus and use mistakes as opportunities to learn & develop as a player
- Acknowledge your mistakes and focus on them to learn the mistakes – don’t avoid thinking about them
How to handle pressure in football summary
As a footballer when you feel pressured by the situation or people around you, it can cause you to play worse.
When a footballer lets his or her emotions get out of control on the field they can struggle to think straight which causes them to make bad decisions and bad judgment calls.
Football players need to learn how to control their emotions so that they don’t let them affect the outcome of their performance negatively.
In this article, we looked at 13 ways how to handle pressure in football.
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful for more football-specific mindset tips check out the links below.