“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make the world.” –Buddha
By Omar Figueroa
The beautiful game of soccer provides us with more than we could thank it for. But as fans, club representatives, and professional soccer players, we have to continually seek the thirst for improvement of our beautiful game. As the world continues to provide us with cutting-edge technology, we have to evolve in the performance enhancement services we provide our professional soccer players and teams. The goal for our professional soccer players and teams is to prepare, perform, and repeat exceptional performance. In order to meet the excellence standard, our professional soccer players and clubs need to find consistent excellence for the mind, body, and soccer technique.
At every EPL, Liga, MLS, Liga MX and the majority of professional clubs across the globe you will find a Sport Performance/Science Coach. But a key element is missing, Mental Conditioning Coaches. Clubs tend to implement the majority of financial emphasis on the physical component, but fail to implement the same level of emphasis on the mental component. Several teams have taken the initiative to hire a sport psychologist on staff to provide psychological services to the organization, which is a great start. Though they still do not implement the same level of importance to the mental preparation and well-being of the professional soccer players (the ones who return the most financial value).
Mental Conditioning Services would provide professional soccer players with tools to consistently achieve optimal on-field performances
Our minds are malleable; with mental conditioning, the mind will continue to condition itself to deal with pressure, stress, anxiety, lack of concentration, confidence, lack of consistency, mindset, attitude, motivation, goals, and much more.
We should seek to treat the mind of our professional soccer players with the same priority we treat their bodies at preseason and throughout the season. We should use mental conditioning tools to help professional soccer players find new on/off-field performance elevations; where only the awareness of the mind could find new limits and take the body there.
Mental Conditioning Skills are transferable to personal and leisure areas of the professional soccer player’s life
A majority of the professional soccer players lives will be spent off of the soccer field. Mental Conditioning seeks to develop habits in social and emotional well-being aspects of the professional soccer players lives. For example, a recently signed professional soccer player who is forced to move away from their hometown and family for the first time in their lives, also, has to maintain their on-field performance. The signee could benefit from implementing energy controlling techniques in order to maintain focus on upcoming practices and matches to help reduce stress for homesickness.
Mental Conditioning support seeks to develop relationships with professional soccer players and help identify their needs
Mental Conditioning coaches seek to fulfill the on/off-field performance needs for each individual professional soccer player and team. Key to an effective mental conditioning relationship approach is rapport, implementation, and follow-up. Mental conditioning coaches should be given optimal access from the front office in order for the relationship to flourish with the professional soccer players. If access could not be granted, the mental conditioning coach will have a laborious task to identify the professional soccer players needs.
Professional soccer players have been presented with performance pressures their entire lives, but life happens to everyone including professional soccer players. It’s the role of the Mental Conditioning Coach, like myself, to identify the need and how-to guide for the player to implement specific mental strategies on how to control the external pressures they are presented with.
Mental conditioning is not just for professionals but can be utilized for all ages. If a young athlete learns how to use their mind efficiently it only prepares them for the future; on and off the field. Mental conditioning is not to be construed with psychological services. In several occasions, I have had to refer an athlete to a licensed psychologist because of signs of mental health issues, which mental conditioning is not designed to fix.
My goal for my athletes of all levels is to develop an elevated level of self-awareness allowing the athlete to become self-sufficient in enhancing on and off-field performance. Every experience from practice to match is a teachable moment to enhance life performance for the athletes to carry throughout their lives. I work to instill a growth mindset in my clients and the young adults and children I mentor at Big Brother Big Sister and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of College Station, Texas.
In conclusion, FMG (Futbol Marketing Group) is habitually seeking contemporary techniques. Having a Mental Conditioning Coach on the bench (like any other coach) analyzing, guiding, and reevaluating how to maximize mental performance could make a difference for the player and the game in itself.
Palmi, J., Planas, A., & Solé, S. (2018). Intervención mindfulness de rehabilitación de un deportista lesionado: Caso en fútbol profesional. Revista De Psicología Del Deporte, 27(1), 115-124.
About the Author
Omar Figueroa is committed to helping people, from students to professional athletes of all ages and backgrounds. Omar’s areas of expertise are athletic counseling, mental performance, and higher education. For more information on Omar Figueroa please visit www.futbol-marketing.com
About Futbol Marketing Group
Futbol Marketing Group is a soccer dedicated sports marketing agency working with professional soccer teams and players throughout North and Latin America. Our three main areas of focus are: 1.) providing talent representation, as well as, offering our in-house Sports Science Specialists and Mental Conditioning Coaches 2.) offering sponsorship and hospitality packages for the corporate client and 3.) sourcing exhibition matches and events for teams. For more information, visit www.futbol-marketing.com.