Five Mistakes a Soccer Player Can Make – Part 1

Part 1

They Think About Their Last Play

Soccer, Thrive

Whether a player is involved in a training session, or game, their time on the field contains a huge amount of thinking time. The problem is not the thinking that pops up in a player’s head; the problem is that players spend too much time thinking about what just happened and fail to quickly move on to the next play.  Looping on a previous play produces a delay of physical action and slower anticipation or problem solving for a player.  In a fast moving game like soccer, neither slower movement or sluggish problem solving are helpful. Successful soccer is built around the ability to rapidly master the transition moments:

  • A successful pass needs a run to support it.
  • An unsuccessful pass demands immediate defending efforts.
  • A loss of possession after taking on an opponent necessitates a rapid change of plans.

Even many of the pro players who participated in a group case study just completed by Thrive (“Defining the Mental Game of the Emerging Pro Player”), have insecure thinking as they compete.  The difference between MLS players, and the rest however, is that the best don’t concern themselves with thoughts of what just happened.  They are already on to the next play.

*If you would like to learn which mental training technique is the most effective in order to improve transitional thinking in soccer, or any sport, email me at

Derrek Falor

Certified Sport Psychology Consultant at Thrive
Derrek is the owner of Thrive: Excellence in Sport Performance, has a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology, is a Certified Consultant for The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (CC-AASP #599), is the Mental Skills Coach for the Seattle Sounders U23 team, coached college soccer for 20 years, coached high school soccer for 5 years, has a USSF A License, and is a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.


Great article, thanks! I have a 14 year old son that is working through those issues
    Derrek Falor
    Thank you John, let me know if you would like to know a specific mental training tool your son can learn and apply to his play on the field.
Hattie Vermeulen
This really answered my problem, thank you!

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