All Business on the Soccer Field
Female athletes are usually more adept at visualization
techniques than male athletes, and coaches can use this to
their advantage. Before games, or even practices, the coach
should have all athletes sit or lie down with their eyes closed.
The coach should walk the athletes through a visualization
of the game.
This visualization should start with a description
of the surroundings and the distractions athletes might encounter,
like parents in the stands or a too-bright sun. This is so
that athletes are prepared for these realities when they occur
and better able to push them away and concentrate on the game.
Next, the coach should walk the athletes through
their preparation for the game, including a warm up and the
first glimpse of the other team. Then, the coach takes the
athletes through the game, encouraging athletes to see themselves
as fast, fierce players with confidence that rely on their
teammates. This puts players in the right frame of mind and
encourages them to work together. Finally, the coach walks
the players through winning the game, giving them something
positive to work toward.
When coaching girls soccer, authority figures should employ visualization frequently. It is an excellent mechanism to help athletes calm and center themselves as well as see the outcome they wish to produce. However, for visualization to work, the coach has to be on board with it completely. It athletes get the impression that these techniques are at all silly, they will immediately lose their effectiveness.