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Mental toughness is many things. It is sacrifice, it is self-denial, it is dedication and it is overcoming battles from within. Many athletes and coaches equate mental toughness with achieving extraordinary physical feats. An Olympic distance runner is quoted as saying “a lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run the race to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself the most.”
What is mental toughness for a goalkeeper or a striker? At the No1 Soccer Camps we have long held the belief that mental toughness has a fitness component, but just as important a psychological component. For over 30 years we have held a session the last night of every camp called “Pressure Training” . Pressure training is presented as a way to challenge yourself, to push on physically to push yourself beyond areas that you never thought were possible. The result of that session has left players with feeling’s of euphoria and a new found confidence associated with success. No cheating, push, push, push!! The coaches support your efforts and demand more from you than you ever thought was possible. Can we take the skills that we worked on all week and now execute those skills under pressure? How do we get to the next level, how to become No 1? How can we help you achieve the next level?
The component that is often overlooked but stressed in that session is the need to practice with perfection! Even when you think you are exhausted. Can you make the great save in the 89th minute when your tired? It’s the same save you made in the first minute when you were fresh? Can you find your feet and make an incredible 1v1 move in the 79th minute and finish a brilliant goal the same as you could in the 3rd minute of the game. How mentally tough are you? How have you prepared for that moment. Can you be No1 and shine?
In order to play at the highest level physical fitness is incredibly important. But there are a lot of very fit players out there. What will separate you from all others, has been taught at the No1 Soccer Camps and has been demanded by our staff coaches for over 30 years. Mental toughness is what you get from playing and striving for perfection, and that requires being “Mentally Tough”. You play the way you practice and that is why it’s important to strive for perfection in your training. That is why during our “pressure training sessions” not only do we push you incredible hard from the physical component, but you are challenged from the psychological component as well. Practice does not make perfect, PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT.
In order to truly be No 1 and to be the player you want to be, you need a level of mental toughness that is a component of our training and methods that are taught at the No1 Soccer Camps.
In the next article I will share with you a story of a past No1 participant who has gone on to achieve great things and truly become a No 1 player. This player demanded a level of Mental Toughness from himself that is truly remarkable.
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