For the month of May, we’re giving soccer some love in our Book of the Month series. Jason McClanathan, one of our quality assurance analysts, told us about his favorite book as a soccer coach, Focused for Soccer by Bill Beswick.
Be sure to head over to our Facebook page and ‘Like’ our post about the book to be entered to win a free copy!
Here’s a good summary of the book:
Bill Beswick is a sports psychologist who has worked with athletes from all levels. Focused for Soccer details how to:
- Help your players understand the game
- Develop the skills to execute the technical aspects
- Condition them to meet the physical demands
- Teach them mental toughness, such as concentration, discipline, motivation and a positive attitude
Jason’s Key Takeaways:
Understanding Why We Love Sports
One of my favorite chapters of the book dug deep into the love of the game. As athletes, you play because you love the competition and the rush. You don’t really know why, you just do. Beswick talks about how to separate top athletes from average athletes by finding the connection to the love of the game.
Coaching the Mental Game
Most athletes who have grown up playing sports have a good grasp on the technical and tactical parts of the game. I didn’t understand how important the mental part of the game was until I was a coach. Some players are just naturally mentally strong while others need to work on it. In the book, Beswick gives some good ideas on incorporating mental focus and strength into everything you do as a coach.
Involving Your Players
One thing that Beswick stresses is giving your athletes a sense of ownership. This turned out to be one of the easiest things to change with my coaching. I get them involved at almost every level, so when things go bad, they feel emotionally connected. Then they have the awareness to fix things on the field.
We’ve heard some great ideas before on how to teach mental toughness. What are some ways that you’ve helped your athletes through mental roadblocks during a game?