Wie du am Spieltag weniger nervös bist und ein Top-Spiel ablieferst

How to be less nervous on game day and play your best

Posted by Nic Keller on

Unfortunately, for many footballers, match day has very little to do with the joy and fun of playing football. The environment, the coach, the press, other external conditions or high expectations of oneself create great pressure . From a footballer's perspective it can look like this.

Everyone is looking at me and waiting for the perfect game. I don't want to disappoint her! I don't want to disappoint myself either. I live up to these expectations. The day is approaching and my thoughts only revolve around this one moment. Torn between confidence and the horror scenario in your head. My heart rate rises just thinking about it...

For days beforehand, thoughts have been circling again and again about that infamous day

Day X has come

Suddenly the day has come and excessive nervousness rarely has a good effect on the game, as this example shows.

I didn't sleep well, the thoughts kept me awake for a long time! The tension and nervousness can already be clearly felt in the morning and increases as kick-off gets closer. Nevertheless, I say to myself: «I'm ready! I will play a perfect game!”

I walk into the stadium, all eyes only on me. The referee blows his whistle for the game, I could vomit from excitement.

I know that the first passes have to be right, that will give me security. However, I feel heavy and my body isn't doing what my head wants. A simple pass that I can easily do in training doesn't reach my teammate.

It's the first mistake in the game and a murmur goes through the stadium. This is soon followed by the second mistake and people look at each other wondering...what's going on? I feel my insecurity, I would like to be so small that my teammates would overlook me and stop playing.

It gets even worse, the third mistake, the first boos. Then the logical consequence of the downward spiral that started, the fourth mistake. The whole stadium whistles and I say to myself in disappointment: “Perfect game? No way!"

What can you do so that you don't collapse under the pressure and play below your potential out of nervousness?

What can I do so that I can develop my full potential?

Here are some principles you need to understand to reach your 100% potential on game day.

Nervousness leads to a narrowed perspective and less creativity on the field. In addition, the coordination between the head and the body is disturbed. Simply receiving the ball, which can be achieved without any problems in training, becomes a challenge on match day. The ball bounces and it becomes easy for the opponent to steal the ball.

The rule here is to keep it simple!

Focus on the simple things in the game that are directly under your control. This could be, for example, that you only resolve to fight like a lion and give it your all from the first minute. For these two resolutions you need nothing but your will.

If you just do these two things, it will reduce your anxiety because you have it right under control.

If you only expect the fight and full commitment from yourself, then every additional good action will give you self-confidence and a bad pass won't cost you any self-confidence. This way you can easily get yourself into a flow state through combat and deployment so that you can also do the “difficult” things as the game progresses.

The problem is, if you go into the game with 1000 resolutions and very high expectations, then after the first mistake all hell breaks loose in your head. You then lose self-confidence and that becomes noticeable on the next pass. Hesitantly and unsurely, you step on the ball and the downward spiral begins.

It's a paradox, however, if you expect less from yourself you will tend to play a much better game!

Lower your high expectations of yourself, this takes a lot of pressure off of you. If you put less pressure on yourself, you will feel less nervous. When you are more relaxed, you are also more creative and often solve things intuitively.

Your focus shouldn't be on making a perfect game, because demanding to be perfect and not make mistakes will hinder your performance rather than help it.

Concentrate on the simple things and on the success of each individual situation. Even if you make a mistake, it's not a big deal. In the end, it's the overall picture of the game that counts anyway and mistakes are part of that.

There are only a few players who can have a 100% passing rate in some games. In order to stand out on the field, a flawless game is not the best way anyway. Taking risks and making up for the mistake if necessary is more likely to stay in the minds of spectators, scouts and even the coach, rather than boring perfection.

So the next time you make a mistake, the only thing that matters is how you react to that mistake. At the end of the game, only the overall picture counts anyway.

Sergio Ramos, for example, is a defender who is not known for playing flawless games. On the contrary, he often makes mistakes. Nevertheless, he is one of the best footballers in the world.

The principle here is:

To play perfectly, you don't have to play perfectly.

Being a champion in your mind means you'll never be down again
you will play according to your possibilities.

80% Decide in your head

Tactically, everyone is well trained, the material can no longer make a difference and the training methods are more or less identical for everyone. The only factor with which you can (still) stand out from your competition is if you train your head.

The higher the level of football, the more important the mental factor becomes

Ottmar Hitzfeld says that the mental factor determines 80% of success or failure. The sad truth is that most people don't even spend 5% of their training time on strengthening their heads.


Not only footballers can benefit greatly from football mental training, but also coaches, supervisors, player advisors and parents. Anyone who knows and uses the enormous possibilities of mental training will definitely become more successful in football or can bring their team or their own protégés forward enormously.


Training world champion, fear of making mistakes, nervousness or not being able to withstand the pressure. There are many more mental reasons why so many footballers play far below their potential. To remedy this, mental training is ideal.


Keeping the team motivated, forming an unbeatable team and getting the most out of each player requires a lot of psychological knowledge. There are many mental tools and exercises that can be used to promote exactly this.

Football consultant

Mental strength means better performance on the pitch. A good performance attracts a lot of attention and attracts interest from various clubs. Clubs are willing to pay high transfer fees for good footballers.

Soccer parents

It is often not easy for parents if their child wants to become a professional footballer. It means a large investment of time, patience and nerves. How can you optimally support your child without putting the child under pressure?

Click here for the Mental Champion Academy for footballers

It is logical that a strong mental state increases your chances of success enormously . I'm even sure that success depends at least 80% on mental strength.

Only those who are mentally strong are able to achieve their dreams, visions and goals in the long term and persistently.

The good news is that your mental state can be trained. You can not only become mentally strong but also a true MENTAL CHAMP10N!

Nico De Villa, the author of this blog, takes people and teams all the way to the mental Champions League. If you are a champion in your head, you will live a champion's life! Nico is an expert when it comes to developing visions with people and teams that are maximally motivating. Then develop mental strategies on how to systematically achieve and successfully implement great visions.

With the experience that Nico De Villa has gained as a football mental trainer and in football mental training, he knows exactly the demands, secrets and pitfalls of success.

If you become a MENTAL CHAMPION , football success is not a coincidence, but the logical consequence.

Finally show everything you have in you and develop your full potential on the pitch!

A true champion is created in the mind!

Click here for the Mental Champion Academy for footballers

Get answers to your questions every week! Nico will answer this weekly in a live session, completely anonymously. You also have access to an ever-growing video library!

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