How to Handle Making a Big Mistake in a Soccer Game

That awful feeling... (Photo: omamvocab8.wikispaces.com)

It happens!  If you play enough soccer you will one day find yourself in the role of the goat, having blown a game or made a disastrous error that led to an opponent scoring a goal.  Perhaps your reckless foul or handball awarded the other team a PK.  Maybe you sent a horrendous pass back to your goalie that was intercepted and converted into the game-losing score.  Maybe you messed up on the other end, failing to score from 2 yards out with the goal gaping open.  No matter what the circumstances were, you are going to make some mistakes as a soccer player and your way of handling it could define your entire playing career!  Here are some tips on how to move on:

Analyze what you did (or failed to do) and then try and forget the thing ever happened.  Yes we all make mistakes, but the quicker we forget about them the quicker we can make amends.  Maybe your tragic error occurred in the 10th minute of the game.  You need to forget about it almost instantly so that you can still help the team push on to getting back in the game and winning it.

If you are still dwelling on your problem, the opposition will come right back at you and attack, sensing your weakness.  You need to be mentally strong and move on in a positive manner.  A single error can sometimes lead to many throughout a match and a completely wretched performance.  Coaches will sometimes take you out of a game in order to give you a breather and some time to fret it over, but sometimes you need to get your head back in the moment and contribute!

In the heat of the moment it is always important to always look forward and never back.  No matter what has happened, it is now in the past.  No amount of frustration or dwelling will make it go away.  If you continue to suffer from past nightmares, your game will continue to suffer as a direct result.  You will lose the confidence to go in and make plays with full belief.  Self-consciousness will begin to creep in.  For many players, failing to come through in the clutch can develop into a recurring problem.

The only way to move on is to stop thinking about it.  What may have happened is not you, it is just something that you did.  The best way to move on is to make a good play with the ball.  It might be sending in a good pass, making a smooth run, or even taking the ball back with a well-timed challenge.  No matter what the case is, how you respond to a setback will always make the difference between amateurs and future professionals.  A true soccer player can always forget about problems of the past and focus on this particular game in the here and now.  By focusing your attention ahead and away from your past mistake, you may just be able to move on from it and grow!


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