MOTIVATION for TRAINING
Hey guys, I thought that a guide outlining some strategies and tips to keep yourself motivated to stick with your training routines would be helpful to a lot of people on the forum. Even if you are pretty hard core and focused with your training, hopefully some of these ideas will help you out, and/or improve the quality of your training routine. We all slack off with our training routines, certain situations arise which distract us, and its often those inevitable days when we feel like sh*t, yet we still get out of bed and work our asses off which makes the most difference and shows our true character.
One thing that is guaranteed, is that we will all have bad days. But the sign of a mature player is one who, on those inevitable days when things just aren't going thier way, can still make a team contribution.
YOUR OPPORTUNITY IS COMING!
I’ve been in the reserves at my club for the past 3 years and endured the endless remarks about how my god given talent is wasted, the only thing holding me back is confidence, frustration from my coaches over my inconsistency, on top of my own frustration that I should’ve been in the seniors years ago. This season, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been, my work ethic has increased dramatically, and I’m playing much more frequently and consistently, yet I’m still in the reserves. The thing which drives me is the fact that I know I’ll get my opportunity, it IS coming, and that I have to be ready for it. Players in the seniors are going to get injured, some of them will lose form and when that happens I need to be fit and ready to go. It’s the basis that you all need to remember. You’re not often disadvantaged when it comes to making it in football you’re just not prepared to take your opportunity. Drill it into your head!
Your opportunity is there, a scout, an agent could sneak up on you at any time, and your hard work will ALWAYS pay off somehow
Ways of staying motivated to train
Cannot express the importance of this. Go down to your newsagent and buy a notebook. Use this notebook to brainstorm anything to do with football
. Mine is divided into 5 tabs, one for Drills, fitness, diet, motivation and venting. But just a plain book is also good, because it gives you more freedom to write whatever’s on your mind, rather than having to categorize it.
Brainstorm your favourite drills, your strengths, what you need to improve on, what you’re coach has been saying to you, your long term and short term goals, how you feel about training, a crazy goal you saw Messi score, something Mourinho said on TV, how your fitness is going, anything to do with football. You’ll be surprised how powerful it is, looking back on things that moved you at the time.
Use the diary to record how you felt about different training regimes, and tweak them accordingly to make them better.
Inspirational quotes and Pictures
Cannot emphasize enough the importance of this. Ever since I put a picture of Gareth Bale on my door, (the player who I model my game on) Ive been much more consistent with my training. Ive got a special section in my training diary where Ive made a list of inspirational quotes from people around me. One is a quote from my senior coach who once told me that the only thing stopping me from getting in the seniors was me. Another one from my reserves coach who told me, (when I was in a stage of severe lack of confidence), that he had a gun left winger last year who could tear up anybody she came up against, and he didn’t know where she had gone this year. This year I added another quote from him, when he said “welcome back”. These quotes are the first thing I look at before I go to sleep and the first thing when I wake up.
Anything that emotionally moves you. Ive even got a transcript from Fox Sports FC, where Mark Bosnich talked about how Tottenham actually need to start believing they can win the title if they truly want it. Write them in your training diary, stick the quote up on the wall so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up. Looking over a collection of quotes is extremely inspirational, and guarantees you’ll get up off your ass and train no matter what.
When those quotes are from people around you, directed at you, it is especially inspirational.
YEAR BY YEAR, WEEK BY WEEK, DAY BY DAY.
We all dream about the future. I remember reading about this German film about this kid who had all the talent in the world but he was too busy dreaming about the day he’d be playing for Germany rather than focusing on what was already on his plate. They could’ve written that story about me. Most of us want to play for Liverpool or Barcelona or whoever, but the only definite goal you can really plan out at this stage the steps to take is for each year/season.
What is your goal for this year?
Ive already said mine is to establish a starting place in our senior squad. A big ask, but achievable nonetheless.
Yours might be to be scouted for a regional team, get into a college team, be in the top 3 players in your team, or score more goals than you did the previous season.
Set a weekly benchmark
, and plan your training sessions game by game.
Life can get in the way easily. If you find yourself making plans for every day of the year, sh*t happens, and your training plans can get thrown off easily and you start getting slack. Plan your training week by week, so you can adapt your routine as inevitable commitments arise
. My weekly benchmark is to attend both team training sessions, 2 individual sessions, 2 sprint sessions, one gym session, and play out a full 90 minutes on the weekend to the best of my ability.
Then go day by day
. Try not to think about tomorrow or the future too much. Just make it your aim every single day to wake up and do what you’ve set out to do.
Whether it’s a big or small step, aim to train productively and always do something today that will contribute to your long term goal. Then at the end of that day, go to bed, wake up in the morning and think about how you will use that day to the best effect.
SMART, realistic training plans
"Practice doesnt make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect
Its all good to train hard, but there’s a fine line when it comes to overtraining, exhausting your body and injuring yourself. Kate Gill did an article in 442, where she recommended that players do 3 individual sessions a week on top of their normal team training, in order to continuously improve. Mines probably about two at the moment, not including a weekly gym session and morning sprints. 2-3 is the ideal, which allows for plenty of time to improve, but also enough time to maintain a balanced lifestyle, and not to over work your muscles. 2-3 may not seem like much to some of you, but always remember, its better to have a few good hard sessions every week than a lazy kick around every day.
We are lucky here on EF to have many experts who’ve been there and done that, who can be asked for advice on training routines. It’s a good idea when you’re starting a new routine to check out the featured articles sections, build a training routine tailored to suit your time frame, weaknesses, strengths and goals, and then post it on the forum and get feedback.
It is also better when starting a new program, to start small and build up your workload gradually
. You may find that if you dive head first into a tough training routine, you may quickly find it impossible and lack the motivation to stick with it.
Note if you are feeling fatigued or sore, listen to your body
. I’m a big fan of sucking it up, I rarely miss more than a few training sessions a season. But if you do honestly feel in the back of your head that going for an all out shooting session is probably not the best idea, take the ball and have a light kick about/juggle in the backyard instead. Your goal should be to do every thing you can to avoid injuries.
Make time to enjoy football in its purity
When your doing drills, they should be intense and highly structured. However, just as important as having good hard training sessions, its good to have a fun kickaround with your mates every now and then. One of my favourite things to do, is to make a new playlist on my ipod, grab a ball and head down to the courtyard and just mess around, do some juggling, kick the ball against the wall, anything. I usually do this on my rest day, Saturday, the day before I play, and it reminds me of the happiness football brings me.
Always be up for a fun game of futsal with your mates
, or a kickaround in the park with friends, dont take it seriously, have a laugh
Its football for crying out loud!
Be prepared for inevitable days
There will be days when you will feel crap/tired. One of the main problems I have is in winter, when at 6am in the morning I am extremely reluctant to leave the warmness of my bed and head out in to the cold to do sprints. If you’ve run into these sorts of problems, write them down in your training diary, and plan how you will go about trying to overcome this. Make it so you have absolutely no excuse not to train.
If you become lazy and skip a gym session, don’t make excuses. Feel guilty. Face the reality and accept the fact that in 95% of cases, the only thing stopping you from getting up and going for a run is your own laziness.
I overcame having to get up in the morning by setting my alarm volume to full blast and then putting it on the other side of the room, so when it goes off in the morning threatening to wake my dormmates and incur thier wrath, I have no choice but to get out of bed.
I used to have a major problem with other people being at the park while I train. Then I thought about it and reminded myself that Im not going to care about the opinions of people who I don’t even know after Ive just sored a winning goal. Any obstacles you encounter, find a way to overcome them in future.
An interest system may also be handy. For example, if you miss one sessions, you must make up by doing that session plus an extra session.
Its important to have balance in life. If we consume ourselves with football we may find ourselves lacking the motivation, when it seems we are always occupied with it and do not get the chance to branch out and pursue other interests. Everyone has interests other than football.
For EVERY bit of work towards your football dream you MUST reward yourself with an (enjoyable!) activity outside football. It makes sense doesn’t it?
For example, if I do my gym workout, I’ll reward myself with an episode of star trek or $10 to get some new songs off iTunes. If Ive had a flawless week and completed every bit of training I set out to do, I might reward my self with a night out with friends. Its mainly the younger guys who claim to be focused on nothing but football, but either way, making an effort to try something different will keep a healthy motivation, and remind us that there are more important things in the world than football.
As we get older (many of you can vouch for this) we discover new “things”, and football can take a back seat at times. Many have quit football in the past for the desire to have a normal life, and I have to admit, I have been frustrated with the workload of high level football and been tempted to throw it all in and live like everyone else. But I think rewarding yourself with enjoyable activities outside football is a proportionate way to achieve a good balanced lifestyle and healthy motivation with football.
The little things count
More often than not, most of us will get home from training feeling completely stuffed, have a slice of pizza and go to bed… or is that just me?
A better thing to do, would be to have a wholesome dinner with carbs and protein, replenish fluids, lightly stretch, and have an alternating hot and cold shower. Then go to bed. Its really not that much, and it’s the difference between waking up and feeling completely fatigued and feeling good to go.
Next time your sitting on your ass watching tv, make the effort to do a few stretches. Flexibility is underrated in my opinion. Being flexible not only prevents injuries, but it increases your stride length (hence your speed) and your joints will require less energy. Anything you could be doing to prevent injuries or fatigue you should be doing. The more energised you are, the more motivated you will be to train.
Never forget why you love football
Its easy to become frustrated with football or treat it like a chore. I don’t know about you guys, but it wasn’t until I was sitting on the sidelines injured did I realise how much I wanna be out there playing, even if I screw up every time I get the ball. Never, ever forget why you fell in love football
Football is a gift
You guys can complain about how unfair it is that you work so hard, and other guys seem to live an average lifestyle yet still get picked for the top teams. First and foremost, you are lucky to be playing football. God has given you a gift. You could have been born with bad knees, or into an underprivileged community, or to a set of strict parents who don’t let you play football. The fact is, most of you here are healthy and wholesome, can afford to buy a decent pair of boots and a couple of balls to practice with and have clear development pathways to professional leagues. All this could be taken away from you in a second. Make the most of every minute, and NEVER take football for granted
Some more invaluable resources in case some of you havent read them before:
Hope it helps guys