As I have traveled around the country to coaching education classes, seminars, and clinics I have had the privilege of sitting down and talking “shop” with many coaches of all levels. As we discuss training and development, I always ask the coaches if they do any mental training with their teams and athletes. More often than not I find that coaches overlook the psychological aspect of the game.
Here at the Fort Collins Soccer Club and for me within the Intermediate League, we teach our coaches to focus on the “Four Pillars of Coaching” which are Technical, Tactical, Psychological, and Physical. We ask that coaches put players in environments on the field where they can improve their skill level within the four pillars, setting up a training session that focuses on the technical and tactical aspect of the game is easy, as well as the fitness level of your athletes, however how do you help to improve the mental ability of your players on the field? How can you help to recreate the pressures of a “real” game at a training session, so that when the stress of a big match comes they can handle it appropriately? In order to truly succeed and continue to move forward I believe being mentally tough is crucial, so how do you teach your players to become psychologically strong?
Below is a link to the US Youth Soccer website where an article of mine on the importance of mental training has been published; I invite you to read it and let me know what your thoughts are on the importance of preparing intellectually for competition.
-Jayme “Beamer” Halsey – Assistant Director of Coaching