Mind Over Sports


Posted on: June 25, 2009

This was the headline that appeared in a recent issue of USA Today.  It’s true that the US Men’s Soccer team “topped” Spain but I’ve always maintained that teams generally lose games rather than win them. The winning team, of course, takes credit for having played a fantastic game and the USA’s upset of Spain June 24th, 2009, might well have been a good example. But we have to remember that soccer players, just like all athletes, are human beings first and then athletic performers and they have issues just like the rest of us mortals. And if these issues are not addressed within the confines of a team meeting you can expect team players to perform below their skill levels, which is what could have happened if Spain’s Coach Vicente Del Bosque did not conduct a closed door session for players to air their issues and grievances.

A few years ago I wrote and recorded an audio book for The National Soccer Coaches Association of America with an audio tape for coaches and a separate one for players, and here’s a quote from the transcript: “Athletes who keep personal issues bottled up inside themselves negatively affect their own self-images. As their self-perception is lowered, they create psychological baggage that impacts their ability to focus. Athletes who are ‘stuffing’ their feelings inside themselves rather than acknowledging and resolving them are more susceptible to making errors. Before a game, you as a coach can give an inspiring pep talk to your team, but unless team members feel good about themselves and are open and honest with their feelings, they will not play up to their skill levels.”

Jim Sheldon, Executive Director of the NSCAA said the following about the tapes: “A must listen for any soccer coach or player. A valuable tool in developing player-coach relationships and team building. If you think winning is all about teaching techniques and tactics, think again and listen to these tapes.”

Though the tapes are no longer available, the 53-page transcript of the recordings (which includes coaches and players) is available and you can order a copy for just $22.00 plus postage by sending a check or money order to Marv Fremerman, Mind Over Sports, 669 West LaSalle Street, Springfield, Missouri 65807.


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