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“What if you make a mistake?”

Do you just forget about it?

Instead of forgetting about it, try this to remove your doubt

When the little voice in your head speaks before a game and asks you that question:

“What if you make a mistake today?”

What do you do with it?

If you are anything like the vast majority of footballers your answer is “try to forget about it.”

Or if your manager has their input they say “ignore it, be positive, if we play our own game we will win.”

If only it was that easy, eh?

So how has just forgetting about it served you up to this point? How has it helped you?

Has is it built confidence, certainty and consistency in your thoughts and performance?

I will guess it leaves you doubting yourself, starts to drain the energy from your legs and you become frustrated that you can’t get it out of your head.

It’s held you back for weeks and months and you fully expect it to do the same again.

By ignoring it the questions and the doubts become louder and louder:

“What if you make a mistake?”
“What if you miss a chance?”
“What if you cost a goal?”
“What will the crowd think of me?”
“What will the gaffer say?”

Am I right? They just get louder.

You then go onto the park with doubts and the things that you didn’t want to do are starting to happen which is making you doubt yourself even more.

You misplace a pass and then the target you are trying to hit seems to be getting further away and smaller by the second.

You are responding to nothing and reacting to everything. You want to be anywhere but on the pitch.

The harder you try the worse it seems to get.

You are in full panic mode and you aren’t actually playing that bad. You only find that out after you watch your clips back.

But at the time it feels like hell and you are desperate to either be taken off or for the referee to blow his whistle.

There’s no enjoyment, no satisfaction, just a relief that the game has come to an end and somehow you didn’t cost a goal.

It’s torture and holds so many players back week in week out, their confidence is shot to bits, not only on the park but it begins to affect their relationships with their family and friends off it.

So what should you do?

My suggestion, the next time the question comes into your head, try answer it as ignoring it up to this point has just held you back.

You know you’ve got more to give, let’s start proving it to the watching managers and scouts starting this weekend.

My suggestion, the next time the question comes into your head, try answer it as ignoring it up to this point has just held you back.

By John Johnstone 30th August 2018

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