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  • Writer's pictureRyan Johnson

Cognitive Process

During every match or training session, every player is faced with making countless amount of decisions. Decisions that are detrimental to the outcome of the match and your personal performance.

Every players mind and body goes through 4 key decision making process during every play.






Everything starts from what the player sees. Taking a mental picture of 360 degrees around you is vital to making the right decision when the time comes to execute. This is why we see players constantly looking over their shoulders to check their blind spots. I call this taking a picture.


Once you take in all the information of where your opponents and where the open space is on the field, then we must analyze risk and rewards. We must gain information from where the correct pass should be made or weighing out safe to riskier passes. During this process of analyzing, the player must be constantly changing his or her body positioning in correspondents to where the ball is on the field. The same thing pertains defensively, are you in the right field position? Is my body angled in the correct way so that your able to see the ball and the player your marking?


Now its time to weigh the pros and cons of each potential decision you will make on the ball. You can tell a lot about a players personality by the decision he or she makes at this moment. If a players more often likes to make a line splitting pass into space for an on running teammate, he is more than often a risk taker. If the player likes to play easy 5 yard passes then the player isn't much of a risk taker.

Developing your technical ability makes the decision making process much easier. If you had one decision in mind and you were ready to commit to it but an unexpected situation happened and that decision is no longer available, what do you do? This is why players must spend the time developing their technical ability to be comfortable on the ball with all parts of their feet. When one door closes a next on will open. When one potential decision is eliminated how fast can you make another decision for a positive outcome.


Now you have committed to a decision. Depending on where on the field you are playing this decision can help the team get closer to a scoring opportunity or just keep possession to stay in control of the match tempo. The time that a player puts in to working on his passing and striking ability is shown here. Having the right technique is essential to pulling off a pass that has the right speed and weight or a shot that has the right bend and placement to beat the goalie. Also defensively when making the right decision on the timing of your tackle and where your making it on the field.

The game is constantly moving, the picture your taking in your head is constantly changing. This is why I love this game. It constantly challenges you physically and mentally to make the right decisions that will alter the result if you will win or if you will lose.


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