Master the Psychology of Decision Making

When I work with athletes ages 12-18 the conversation is often about the psychology of decision-making.  At that age, children are newly capable of thinking hypothetically and are learning to use logical reasoning to solve problems.  So instead of focusing on skills, they now start to think about strategy.
​Players who can think and make assertive decisions at a quicker pace will be more capable of playing at a higher competitive level!
Soccer can be a challenging sport for youth players to maintain focus because the play is continuous and a majority of the time is spent off the ball.  As a result, it is much more difficult to stay in the moment and stay connected to the play.  Additionally, young players are highly influential and desire praise from those around them – including coaches, teammates, and parents.  With that said, they tend to wonder or worry about what others think, which impacts their ability to make decisions on the field.
What you have to do:
If you want to advance your speed of play, you need to take the following steps to harness the psychological skills of decision-making:
– Determine what your decisions are 
i.e. dribble or pass, tackle or delay, check or make a run, etc.
– Distinguish what you need to focus on in order to make the best decision 
i.e. space, location of net, opponents, teammates, etc.
– Identify both internal and external distractions 
i.e. fears, doubts, teammates yelling, coach coaching, etc.
– Develop a plan to eliminate distractions 
i.e. self-talk, imagery, assertiveness training, etc.
How Ferranti Empowerment can help:
Ferranti empowerment is offering a unique service to youth soccer players in a small training environment where they can start to learn the psychological aspects of decision-making.  With integrated soccer training, I have discovered that – by encouraging more reflective thought – players can effectively learn how to improve decision-making skills.  In fact my players report that I have helped them to realize things that they have never noticed before – allowing for faster development.
Nonetheless, the objective of the integrated training group is to help players build internal awareness and provide tools so that they can overcome internal distractions and learn to make quick and effective decisions when performing with their team.  Through high paced drills, players are challenged to make quick choices and with my guidance they will be asked to pause and reflect on how they made their choice or what distracted them from making the choice quicker or more effectively.  The players will then be asked to develop new mental skills – such as self-talk and refocusing strategies – that they can incorporate into the game while staying in the moment and focused on the run of play.

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