I finally finished reading Soccer Tough by Dan Abrahams this week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Abrahams, he is a sports psychologist who focuses on soccer and golf. He has worked with some top players in the English Premier League and lower leagues in England to improve performance. As with most psychologists, he had a lot of great things to say that we “already know” but rarely practice. It’s amazing in sports how much of performance is mental and how little time is spent on that area.
When players are asked to “train” their immediate instinct is to envision a field, gym or something involving sweat and pain. How often do we see someone go “to training” and not have to leave his or her own bedroom?
One point Abrahams made in his book that really stuck out to me was for players to “make an imagination home”. He talks about players going to a place that’s quiet where they are able to think about soccer.
He says to “fill your mind with pictures and movies of you playing at your best in your upcoming matches. Ask yourself the questions you think are most important to you and allow your imagination to run free.”
I really liked the idea of adding more freethinking to my soccer world. It’s a step often forgotten. And not just for soccer. Why don’t we do more freethinking about our job, our family, our hobbies and anything else?
We should all have a place, or places, that we can go to where we are only allowed to think about specific parts of our lives.
The human brain has thousands of thoughts a day. Technology has made it harder to focus those thoughts for a long period of time.
So, if we have this one place that we can go to, where nothing else is allowed to enter our brains, because that’s the rule we made for ourselves, maybe, just maybe, we can really better ourselves in that one area of our lives. Or do things we never thought we’d do simply because we never took the time to think them through.
I know people will definitely say they don’t have time to do this. But if you can find time to watch Breaking Bad or revel in the latest iPhone trend, I’m sure you can find 20 minutes to free think here and there.
And if you’re interested in more from soccer psychology, Soccer Tough is a must-read. (There's an excerpt on the OGM site too).
…nobody better take my freethinking place, or Ima be mad.