It’s half an hour before the biggest game of the season and you start to feel nervous. What do you do?
If you don’t know what to do, and you’re scared, might as well panic.
Will this help?
Getting scared, fearing the worst, mismanaging your imagination seems to be the first rule of being a member of the human race. Why would soccer players be any different?
It seems in soccer and in life, panicking is an acceptable substitute for clear thinking, planning and taking action. I remember watching anxious players in the dressing room blame the players that were calm and not panicking.
“Don’t you care?”
“Liven up; this is a big game for us”
“Can’t you see that we’re all gonna lose”
“C’mon we need this or else”
Let me quickly explain something. There’s huge pressure on players, managers and clubs to panic. I know what you’re thinking, I’ve lost it.
If for no other reason, players should panic, they should panic as a sign that they care, that they are taking things seriously. That they’re not wasting their time or the time of the loyal supporters.
Let me add this, referring to anxiety and panic attacks as caring really takes the edge off. So next time your nervous, quickly shrug it off as caring.
This process is called decision making. It’s your choice how you deal with your own pre-match emotions. But remember this; more time does not create better decisions. Let the truth be said that more time decreases the quality of the decision.
More encouragement or information might help, but more time without more information just creates anxiety, not insight.
Learn to be decisive! Deciding quickly frees up your most valuable asset, time, so you can concentrate on the game ahead of you.
What happens if, starting from now, you make every decision as soon as you start to panic? That you decide to convert this emotion into a positive thought, like caring. How would you react to pre-match nerves then? Would it be a good thing to care about your supporters? Bloody oath it would!
So the take home message for today is,
“If you have to panic, so be it, at least it shows you care”.