“What the mind can conceive, the heart can believe, the body will achieve”
Its one of my favourite quotes, one a friend gave to me a long time ago and it highlights the importance of the mind in reaching any goal or dream.
For me, I have struggled with this side of my game for a very long time. I’m not sure quite why. On one hand, I think my ability to persevere through hardship is my best mental asset and definitely whats gotten me as far as I am now. I peg that trait to my Mum, who has spent a good part of the last 10 years in a wheelchair because of MS, but who continues to be the first person to count her blessings and have a smile on her face. When you have that as your example, its pretty hard not to just be determined to get through the hard things in life and just decide that you will. That being said, I have had anxiety issues with soccer for a really long time. As an athlete you hit a point where you know what you need to do, where you need to be, technically how to pull things off, but it truly is the mind where our greatest power lies, because anything is truly possible if we can find a way to control the biggest weapon that we’ve been given for success.
For me, there are two things that I have worked so hard to overcome. The first is what I perceive other people to be saying negatively about me, and the second thing is the negative things I say to myself. I’ve said that to friends…how sometimes when I step out of my own head and listen to what I am saying to myself I am horrified, because its so different to how I would ever talk to anyone in real life. In terms of thinking other people are thinking things about me….I feel like it takes me back to when I was 14 with some major social anxiety, and I was petrified of going in our school’s cafeteria because I thought everyone would think what a geek I was that I had no friends. And then I realized that everyone was as self conscious as me and I’d just control what I could, which was just being as good a friend as I possibly could.
So these issues have been coming up a little for me lately again, this anxiety and worrying about things outside of just enjoying the game for what it is and walking off the field having given my best effort. In particular I have been practicing with a team with some unreal players during the week, as the team I am currently on is a 2 hour train ride from Oslo. First of all, when you come on to a new team its a little uncomfortable, throw not being comfortable in the language and already feeling self conscious and it can be a little disasterous. So with the result I have felt so nervous at practice in a way that I haven’t, in a really long time. I’m going through this a little as well on my new team that I am playing with in matches–self-conscious because of the fact that I have a little bit of a hard time understanding Norwegian, although I understand Danish, which should be close enough. Anyways, I have had a little bit of a tough time overcoming my biggest obstacle at this stage, which right now is myself and the thoughts I am choosing to put in my head. But that’s where sometimes soccer is such a great thing, because it provides an outlet to help ourselves learn how to better ourselves in life as well….and like everything else I’ve found a way to overcome to this point, I believe that I can get through this.