You can have the best players in the world. However, if there is no cohesion they will play like an average team.
In football/soccer every member of the team is important and her/his actions and decisions can influence the whole team performance. To build a competitive professional football team these days is not an easy task.
Conflicts that will make the team building process difficult
- Players level: young players vs. old players;
- Non-experienced players vs. experienced players;
- Players nationality: local players vs. foreign players; language barrier;
- Players personality: introverted vs. extroverted; Leaders vs. followers;
- Players speed and playing style: Latin American vs. European style;
- Players goals: individual goals vs. team goals;
- Players social life and habits.
- Players attitude effort and dedication towards the team: hard worker vs. Indolent.
The role of a psychologist or mental coach is to work along with the managers/coaches and players to build the team using mental coaching strategies in order to solve conflicts and create cohesion.
The team psychological skills is perhaps the aspect that influences the player and the performances the most..
Collaboration – Each player has the responsibility to actively contribute to the team cohesion. This attitude must be trained every day, it’s the structure that supports the team and it’s based of relationships among the players, the coach, the technical and health staff and the managers. It’s essential that everyone in the team has a well-defined role and specific goals. Each player must accept his position and be committed and engaged. Who was not convinced must quickly clarify his position, otherwise he will not engage fully in the team.
Fighting spirit and toughness – In every game are positive and negative moments; the team as a whole has to find the positive in the difficulties and the team skill is to think that this is the time to demonstrate the ability to resist and then to behave in combative and tenacious way. Concentration and self-control in the field must serve to moderate the excesses of aggressive behavior that can result in impulsive and too fouled behaviors.
Concentration – it means to do the right thing at the right time. It concerns to follow the guidelines coming by the coach but also the management of the thoughts after a mistake, in times of increased pressure of the opponents, in the crucial moments of the match but also after scoring a goal we should not relax but stay focused.
Competitive stress management – Emotions are difficult to manage effectively and this is why so often limit the performances. There are those felt by the young players, who have to learn to manage their role not only in the game but also in daily life and there are those of the more experienced players, who must also continue to maintain their emotional commitment balanced. In connection with the game it’s necessary that everyone can find the optimal emotional condition to start the match well. The players should identify what are the emotions that allow them to play well and those which hinder them, working to consolidate what it’s good.
Self-Esteem – I often say to the athletes I work with that to be a champion it takes courage and humility. Courage to think that I can achieve great things with the team, so have confidence in me and at regards of the teammates, and then have the humility to commit myself every day to achieve this dream, step by step. To accomplish this task is not easy, because it’s easier to dream without engaging or to try to do the best but without an idea in the mind of what / how he’s doing. In a team confidence it’s not just a personal issue but it’s also a collective factor to build and to keep growing.