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A player’s mindset and a team’s mindset is very important.  There are different mindsets that are necessary for different situations.  During a practice, one needs to be ready to work just as hard, if not harder, than he should would in a game.  Prior to a game, there has to be focus and motivation.   Prior to a big game, however, there has to be determination.

When someone is determined to do anything in life, little will stop them.  Look at all the successful people in every realm of life: business, sports, education…the list goes on.  The one common characteristic among all of them is that they were determined to succeed no matter what.  A seed was planted in their heads and nothing was stopping them.

So how does determination matter in a big game?  Sure you want to win and you are going to try hard, but everyone wants to win and everyone tries hard.  Those people that are willing to push even harder when circumstances seem unrealistic are the ones that have the right mindset to win: determination.

Why is it that upsets where the most underated/overlooked team succeeded?  This happens in every sport, but why?  As far back as you would like to go, you will find upsets of the most drastic measures.  How do certain teams or players become Cinderella stories? Are they lucky?  I am going to suggest to you that they have a stronger mindset than the opponent.

Most players that are technically gifted and naturally skilled have low effort levels and, worst, little determination.  Because it is so easy for them to shoot a ball well, for example, they don’t need to practice or work as hard as the person with less skill and natural ability.

How then is all this linked to mindset and determination?  Easy.  When you develop the framework in your mind to work harder and be better, chances are you are going to be better.  Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.

If you can’t convince yourself that you are the better player on that day in that game, you are not going to convince the opponent.  If you are the last place team in a league playing the first place team who has not even come close to losing all year, it does not matter.  Take the rear-view mirror out of your life, and take numbers out of your head for that game and that instance.  All that matters is that game.

The ability to concentrate on one moment and one thing at a time is what many successful individuals contribute their success to.  Concentrate on being better, concentrate on doing what you know will work, and be determined to settle for nothing less.

Setting goals and setting the bar high is what makes you a better player.

What should your mindset be exactly?

In a soccer game, like any other sport, that is easy to pinpoint.  First, understand, at an individual level, what your role is and make sure to do it to your fullest extent.  If you need to guard the best player on the team, understand what it is exactly that you need to do in order to shut him/her down.  If, for this game the coach has put you in another position you are not comfortable in, understand why they have put you in that position.  There is a reason.  Understand it and accept it as the bible.  No matter what your role is, understand what you need to do in detail.  Execute that.

The understanding of your role will help you understand your function to the greater whole – the team.  If every player on the team does not understand their role and their function, things will fall apart.  Individual efforts might have temporary success (i.e. score a goal) but they will not yield larger more important results (i.e a win).  If every player on the team can develop a mindset to do everything in their power for the players on their team, unbelievable results will follow.

All this will not come if the entire team is on the same page.  Each indivisual player needs to be determined to be better that day no the circumstances.  The team needs to be determined to win.  Settle for nothing less.

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