The concept most commonly associated with mental training is motivation, the second is self-confidence and the third – concentration. However, it is not commonly known that “competition” belongs in the top 5 as well and I think it leads the charts.
The number of players aspiring to one spot in a central level club is higher than in other team sports, e.g. handball, so we can surely talk about a lot of competition. Is there really a lot of competition in Poland?
According to my observations, out of 51 clubs on the central level in Poland only 6-8 exhibit a high level of competition. In the other 43-45 it is low or superficial. This statement may find its opponents, so let me explain why it is low. Even though in over half the clubs there are two or three comparable players, this number is still low compared to the TOP 8 league clubs where as many as 3, 4 or even over 10 players compete (under systematic observation by the well-developed scouting departments). This is because the club can make a substantial transfer, which the players are fully aware of and as a result are internally driven towards winning the competition. Therefore, there is an untapped potential in the heads of our footballers and the ones I have under observation, who only imagine what competition is (in general, since there are always exceptions to the rule).
To the point.
It is essential in reaching an ambitious goal to realize that there are ten levels of hierarchy from the point of view of the head coach and each level requires an optimal attitude, determination and type of emotions.
Since there are as many as 10 levels of players, we can compare it to a lift which goes up and down. Just like a lift is not supposed to get stuck at one of the levels, neither is the football lift.
The first rule for the players occupying the lowest levels is the “even though you’re not a millionaire, act like one” attitude, which means that even though you are not the leader or captain, in training behave as if you were.
One important rule for the players high in the hierarchy is skillfully taking advantage of the privileges and the manager’s trust in order to achieve consistency and constantly moving one’s limits instead of benefiting from the privileges without climbing up.
There are so many such rules, mechanisms and mental “tools” in the sphere of efficient competition that 5-7 are not enough for a footballer to obtain complete knowledge on this subject. It is worthwhile to develop in the sphere of competitiveness since, unlike in TOP 8 leagues, it is impossible in Poland to start it naturally. In the beginning it must be stimulated externally.
With a sporting salutation,
Paweł Frelik, Mental Coach