How to Control Your Emotions on the Field
Do you have difficulty controlling your emotions during a soccer game?
Have you ever become so angry after a bad play that you yelled at your teammates, coach or even the ref?
Some soccer players get so upset that they just want to walk off the field in the middle of the game.
Negative emotions, such as anger, are difficult for some soccer players to manage and those runaway emotions can have a snowball effect on the mistakes they make throughout a game.
By far, the most taxing emotion in soccer is anger. Anger wears on a soccer player mentally and physically.
Anger is emotionally draining and pulls your attention away from playing soccer to a world inside your head of negative thoughts, fueling your anger even further.
Surely you can relate to feeling physically exhausted after a soccer game when anger raged inside of you.
We are asked this question a lot: How do I not get angry after mistakes and control my emotions?
First of all, don’t feel as if you are the only athlete who has a hard time with anger while performing; it is quite common among athletes in varying degrees.
Several mistakes in a row or missed chances can build your level of frustration. Hitting an open shot off the crossbar can turn that frustration into full blown anger.
That anger can lead to giving up on focusing and lunging wildly at the ball with no goal in mind. As you continue to add poor decisions, you can feel the anger swell inside.
While it may feel impossible–in that moment–to control your anger, you definitely can. You may not be able to prevent mistakes, but you can learn mental strategies to prevent losing your cool and accumulating stupid fouls.
You may notice that when you become angry, you retreat into your mind and become overly-critical of every little mistake.
Not only are there mental ramifications, physical consequences also become a challenge. When your anger rages, your heart rate becomes elevated and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid.
Soccer players stop communicating with teammates or lash out. They take longer to react because the are dwelling on the past.
You can learn to manage your negative emotions. For example, learning to refocus can help turn your attention away from replaying bad moments in your mind and help you focus on making the right decision in front of you.
Another way to manage your anger is to use relaxation strategies to calm your body and thus your mind.
Either way, it is important to realize that you are, ultimately, in the driver’s seat and not your emotions.
Managing Anger in Check on the Field
Most often, when soccer players get upset, they are failing to play up to their expectations, such as “I shouldn’t make any mistakes” or “I should win all 1v1 situations.”
When you fail to reach your own expectations, that’s when you deem you are under performing.
First, you have to manage your pregame expectations and not put standards on your game before the start of the game.
Second, what are the top 5 triggers that make you angry while playing. What makes each mistake so awful for you? Write the trigger and your reaction as well.
Next, how can you respond differently in each of the same situations? How can you stop dwelling on the mistake? You want to have a new reaction to the mistake that will help you play on with composure.
The key is to understand that mistakes do not make you angry! How you react to mistakes makes you angry!
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- The Mindset to Perform at a Higher Level
- Having Fun While Performing at Your Best
- The Importance of Mental Toughness
Download a free sports psychology report to improve your mental game!
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