Mental toughness is one of the most important parts of a players development. In many sections of life having mental toughness can be the reason you succeed or not. Many times players focus all their energy into developing their physical skills but neglect training their mind. In my career, mental toughness was the number one attribute that got me through the toughest moments of life on and off the field.
Often you hear about players being "in the zone" or playing so well they felt that they were not thinking. This feeling is honestly the best feeling for any athlete in any sport. When a player is in this state they feel like they are unstoppable and can create any opportunity to win the match. But the only way to be in this state of mind and body is to train your mind with positive thoughts and affirmations. Before every match I would have my headphones on to cancel out the noise of the locker room and focus on myself.
At the professional level if you think your going to go through every match without any challenges you very mistaken. You will constantly be challenged by opponents looking to get the better of you at any cost. Men and women are out their fighting for their careers and your in the way of their dreams. Thats what I thought about when I was competing every match. Of course I had friends on the opposing team but during those 90 minutes it was a war and 90 percent of the time if you were tougher mentally you generally found the edge you needed to win your battle.
I constantly doubted myself in training and games over simple mistakes such as a missed easy goal, bad pass or giving possession away. It's easy to dwell and allow it to consume you mentally. Find your way that allow yourself to quickly turn a negative situation into a positive mentally. It's crucial. When a mistake is made during training or a match, I would instantly tell myself "don't worry - work harder you will get it done," These positive affirmations help me get through the hardest times during crucial games and training sessions.