Change can be tricky to deal with. Especially if you suddenly find yourself in a new role on your soccer team. How did this happen? Why did it happen?
Maybe you are a midfielder who is now playing a more defensive role for your team. Changing to a new position from one you have always played can cause a lot of confusion. Your mindset on dealing with the change of position will dictate how easily you take on this new role.
Changing positions on your team requires not only a mental modification but also a tactical modification. If you were in an offensive position and now playing in a defensive role, your mindset on how you approach your gameplay needs to change.
In this guide, we will discuss changing positions on the soccer field. We will also talk about how a private coach can help you be successful in your new role.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 – Benefits of Changing Positions
There are several benefits to a player changing positions on their team. You should not take the change as a negative. Do not assume it means you were not good enough in your previous role. It is a compliment to have the coach believe in you for another position.
When you change positions, you can learn and understand the game better. You learn rules and responsibilities for multiple parts of the field. Moving from a midfielder to a defensive player, you learn new rules for what a defensive player needs to do.
Once you are in your new position, you also have an appreciation and understanding of what the player in your old position expects of you. If you are now a defensive player, what does your midfield expect of you?
If you were still the midfielder, how would you want the defender to distribute the ball? Having this type of knowledge and insight into what your teammates are doing and expecting on the field makes you a more complete player. You will know what is expected of you in multiple positions.
Working well with your teammates leads to better team communication and stronger teamwork. This leads to stronger team performances and can lead to happier teams.
Another benefit is you can get more playing time knowing additional positions. Your coach can rely on you to fill in if someone gets injured or a player is removed due to a red card issue. Some players spend an entire game shifting from center back to holding mid to left-back back to holding mid depending on what teammates are available or who needed to leave the game.
If there are two options for a player for a position, coaches will typically pick the kid who can play multiple positions versus the kid who is uncomfortable or does not want to play in another position.
Be the player your coach can depend upon to leave in the game and move around as substitutions are made.
One additional thought to keep in mind for your player, if at any point your child moves to a different club or team, another coach might have a different perspective as to who your kid is as a player. Not all coaches look for the same characteristics in players. A new coach may want to have your child play in another position when they switch teams or clubs.
Your player needs to understand how to play in those new positions to help them succeed throughout their soccer career. Being a flexible and adaptable player is necessary for a long soccer career.
Chapter 2: Mindset
When a soccer player starts learning a new position and role on their team, it is both a mental and tactical adjustment.
There will always be a learning curve when you switch positions. If you approach the change with a positive mindset, you can learn your new position quickly. But if you resist the new position change, you may find that you are slow to learn the new roles and responsibilities. This will potentially add to pressure from your teammates and coach during games.
Show your coach you are the type of player that wants to learn their new position. As teammates that used to play in the position for tips and pointers. If you are playing on a more advanced team, try and find an experienced teammate who can act as a sort of mentor. For example, if you are new to playing center back. Use the experienced center back as a way to learn your position quickly.
Coaches will notice you are willing to learn. If they have the time, they will help you grow into your role. If your team coach doesn’t have time to give you individualized attention to learn your new position, using a private coach is always a great option.
Ask your coach for feedback. If you are playing a game and you find yourself constantly struggling against your mark, ask your coach what you need to do. Coaches do not always have the time to analyze every player during gameplay. But if you directly ask for feedback during the game, your coach should be able to give you a few pointers to shift your play.
If your team does game film sessions, ask your coach directly to analyze what you did well or what you could have done better. Again, coaches do not always have time to give individual attention, but your coach should be able to analyze how you impacted the game. Use those suggestions to work on your position on your own or take the feedback to your private coach to assist in your training plan.
Focus on What You Can Control
When you find yourself growing frustrated, try and remember to focus on yourself and what you can control. Focus on your attitude. Are you using positive self-talk? Is your body language negative?
Your effort! Effort is free and costs you nothing. Put in as much effort as you can, even if you are making mistakes. Don’t jog, sprint to positions. Talk to your team. Remember what you can do well, and that is effort.
Focusing on what you can’t control, like the outcome of the game, won’t help your mindset in your new position. Remember you are on a team. You are not the only one dictating how your team does. So don’t focus on outcomes, focus on the process.
Professional French national team player Antoine Griezmann started as an attacking player. In 2018, he scored four goals to help France win the World Cup. But in the 2022 World Cup, he was moved to the midfield. He did not complain about the new role, instead, he saw it as an opportunity.
Griezmann said “I am quite free in this new role. I must be the link between the defense and the forwards. I have three players in front of me, so more options, so it is easier for me.”
Your mindset will dictate how successful you are in your new role. Have a champion’s mindset.
Chapter 3 – Know You Will Have Setbacks
When attempting to learn anything new, there will always be setbacks. Try and think back to when you learned to ride a bike. Did you simply jump on and start riding on two wheels right away? No. You probably fell off a few times. You had to figure out how to start and how to stop. It is the same concept for soccer.
You will learn something new about your role only to discover you need to adjust something else you are doing. Do not let these setbacks or struggles define who you are as a player. Push yourself to work harder. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you left it all out on the field.
If you are an attacker and suddenly find yourself playing defender. The concepts of looking to score a goal to preventing a goal are very different. Don’t get discouraged. Be proud of your new knowledge and your new skills to help your team.
Growth and development occur through the struggles. So any time you find yourself stuck in a struggle, know that once you overcome it, you will be a stronger player. This helps you to develop resiliency.
Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly from difficulty or hardship. We are all going to fail and we most likely will fail multiple times throughout life. The confident athlete is the one who picks themselves up and keeps pushing forward.
How do you handle a setback? Simple…
Reflect – first, you need to figure out what went wrong. Then accept you did it incorrectly and learn how to correct your error. Review the skills or knowledge that you need to implement the change. Then go work on it.
Attitude – The best way to move past your setback is by staying positive. As previously mentioned, your mindset will play a large part in your success in your new position on the team.
Focus – Once you pinpointed what went wrong, focus on your goal. Focus on the process to achieve that goal and focus on what you need to do to move past the setback. This is where a private coach can really help. If you are struggling to understand the fundamentals of your new position, a private coach can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to focus on these goals.
Work Hard – once you have a game plan on what needs to happen to overcome your setback, get out there and work. Show your coach and your team that you have what it takes to play your new position. And to be the best person for that position.
Chapter 4 – How a Private Coach Can Help with Position Changes
If you find yourself struggling with transitioning to a new position, one of the best options for help is to use a private coach. Your team coach, unfortunately, does not have the time to teach every player the fundamentals of their positions.
Want to know the fundamentals of every position on the soccer field? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Soccer Positions!
Team practices are an important part of the learning process. You will learn how to interact with your team in your new role. However, team practices are usually only for team concepts. They center on team dynamics and the team plays. There is almost no focus on an individual player.
Your team coach may manage anywhere from 12 or more kids (depending on your age) in each session. Team coaches do not have the time to help a player learn the fundamentals of their positions.
Using a private soccer coach, you can increase your game knowledge and learn your positional fundamentals more quickly.
Did you know that learning in front of peers can be intimidating and distracting? If you are feeling insecure about your new role, making errors, and being teased by teammates can prevent you from fully listening to your coach at practice. You may not even realize you are doing it!
Distracted listening and fear can kill your motivation from focusing on the team training. This is where a private coach can also help.
A private coach can…
Identify Your Best Skills
Maybe you think you already know everything about your new position, but if you seek the insights of an expert, you may find you are missing some key components. A private coach will identify your best skills, but also where you need development. Your private coach focuses on you and you alone without the distractions of a team.
Reach Realistic Goals
If you are setting unattainable goals, you may become disappointed and lose confidence in your skills. For example, if you set a goal to score one goal in every game, what might happen? How realistic is it for any soccer player to score one goal in every game? The world’s greatest strikers do not even score a goal in every game. It is not an attainable goal as you cannot control all elements involved with scoring goals. A private coach will help you identify and set realistic goals and create a training plan to accomplish these goals. A realistic goal might be to win 50% of your 1v1 battles in your new role. Your private coach will help you focus on this goal and a training plan to increase your 1v1 skills.
Track Your Progress
A quality private coach takes notes. They track your progress so they can identify what needs to be adjusted in the training plan. You may need to revisit certain fundamentals, or you may need to increase your fitness plan. Having an unbiased perspective on what you need to do to be the best in your new role will help you achieve your goals faster and be a greater impact on your team.
Learn More With Blaze!
Blayze professional coaches know what it is like to work hard to achieve their dreams. They help youth athletes identify areas of improvement and develop a realistic plan on how to accomplish goals. Our athletes are learning more than skill development. They are learning life lessons of perseverance, overcoming hurdles, and the responsibility of managing their success.
Blayze coaches are current professional athletes. They know what the best in the world do because they are the best in the world.
Through training or game film analysis, our coaches can hone your gameplay skills. They customize coaching that drives performance where you need it most, in games.
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