(see Tom Bates video below)
As it is almost that time of year, pre-season, players start to cultivate a lot of nervousness. However, this video by FFT Performance’s Tom Bates (Brentford’s Peak Performance Coach) helps players calm their nerves with an insightful thought process. The first fact that he brings up about pre-season is that you should always look at it as a growth opportunity; an opportunity to make yourself better than last year. He says, “Right after challenge lays growth”. I think this thought process for a player is incredibly empowering. This type of message makes for terrific coaching because you’re encouraging your players to face their challenges and encouraging them to become better. Another part of this reframing thought process is asking yourself, “Why is it I do what I do?” If a coach can get a player to think about this when facing challenges then the player will realize the challenges are all worth it because I really love the sport. Not only that but I want to get better, so I NEED to do this. In the pre-season, in order for a coach to be truly motivating and encouraging I think he/she has to put themselves in the player’s shoes. Bates does a terrific job at this!
Last thing that I love what he talks about is getting an emotional partner in the team. Soccer is a collective sport, so you shouldn’t be forced to deal with challenges alone. Use a partner or even the whole team to have a discussion about how you feel prior to, during, and after the challenge. Opening yourself up will help relieve stress and will comfort you if you are on the same page as others!