Having mental toughness when trying to play any sport professionally or seriously is vital to reaching your goals. Men's, women's, and even children's soccer is no exception to this rule. 

However, "mental toughness" is a pretty vague term. On one hand, it doesn't mean much, but that also means it can mean whatever you want it to. 

Below are some of the things it means to us and how anyone can build their mental toughness to improve their soccer skills. 

Builds Confidence

One thing mental toughness can mean is believing in yourself. If you don't have self-confidence, it's not likely that you're going to get very good at anything. 

Improving your confidence can come in many forms, from trying out a program like 75 Hard or doing something as simple as giving yourself daily affirmations. 

Either way, telling yourself that you're good enough and that you have the ability to get even better is key to making sure you actually believe those things. 

The more you believe in yourself, the more likely you will be to actually improve.

Encourages a Growth Mindset

Part of believing in yourself comes from believing that not only are you good enough but that you are good enough to get even better at your sport. 

Believing that you are able to get better with practice is called having a growth mindset. People who do not have a growth mindset are more likely to feel "stuck" when it comes to making progress, both in soccer and everything else. 

Having a growth mindset can look like a few different things. When it comes to soccer, it can look like believing you can practice longer, and train harder. Once you believe you can do these things in theory, it's time to put them into practice. 

Set your workout timer so it goes off five minutes later than it usually does. Do strength trainer with slightly heavier weights or run a little further each day. These things not only encourage a growth mindset but also help to build up stamina and endurance.

Practices Staying Calm Under Pressure 

While practices may not be the most stressful part of playing soccer, even scrimmages can be testing. That's why one aspect of mental toughness is knowing how to stay calm under pressure. 

Now, it's also important to note that staying calm under pressure doesn't mean sitting around and staring at the ground when you get stressed out. Instead, it means focusing on your goals. In the case of soccer, focusing on the goal net.

There are a few ways a soccer player can go about staying calm under pressure. One of the best ways is to just remember to live in the moment. 

Try not to worry about your next game-- focus on your next play. What do you need to do to make the next goal? Focus on this instead of letting your mind wander or get stressed about other things.

Another thing to remember is that there are always more chances. Unless you are in the final game of your retiring year, there will always be another game in which you can do better. 

Try to treat losses, or even just potential losses, with an "oh well" attitude. Maybe you didn't win this game, but "oh well," you can try harder to win the next one.


Mental toughness means different things to different people. What is standard across all meanings is that mental toughness is all about improving yourself in one way or another. 

All soccer players know how important it is to keep your body in tough fighting shape. Now it's time to focus on whipping your mind into shape next.


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