Player Reflection Tool

Concentration and focus


Complete the form

First, complete the 55 questions below as accurately as you can

Choose a topic area

View your results and choose an area to study

Identify two aims

Use video tasks to identify two specific things to work on

Practice to improve

Let your coach know what you are working on

This webpage has been especially designed to help you improve your concentration before and during football games. It will give you useful tips and advice. You may be able to use this advice to help your concentration in non-football activity such as school work also. Your mission is to complete all the homework tasks below and identify two key specific things that you want to work on and try to improve in your practice sessions, team training or on your own.

Let's start by identifying what we mean by concentration. Here is a description of a footballer who is good at concentrating:

  • Not easily distracted, and stays focused
  • Aware of movements of team-mates and use of space (and other relevant cues)
  • Unaware of "unhelpful" or "outside" factors (eg. spectators on sideline)
  • Re-focuses after mistakes or set-backs
  • Does not let pressure or anxiety disrupt their attention

Getting focused before football games

It's very important that we start concentrating before we begin to play football. We need to get in the right frame of mind before the game, so we are ready to play and perform.

Watch the video on the right which shows how a goalkeeper prepares themselves before a game


Write yourself a pre-game routine that you can follow to prepare yourself for your next football game. 

Things to include:

  • Imagine yourself doing things well (think about what it looks like when we perform well, what is sounds like, and what it feels like).
  • Remember things you did well at your last game
  • Use a ball to get used to the feel of it
  • Ignore distractions (eg. friends who want to talk about non-football things)

Watch the videos below of Alex Morgan and Nathan Redmond describing her game day routine. What could you take from this and help you prepare to play games?

Focus on the right things during games

When we play football, there are lots of things happening around us. Concentration is partly about choosing which things to focus on and which to ignore.


Look at the list of thoughts below. Which thoughts should a good footballer focus on and which should they ignore?

  • (a) Your body position to receive a pass
  • (b) What the coach or parent might say after the game
  • (c) The score (i.e. whether their team is winning or losing)
  • (d) The distance you are from your immediate opponent when you are defending
  • (e) A mistake they made a few minutes ago (e.g. a poor pass that went straight to an opponent)
  • (f) The noise from spectators on the sideline

A good footballer will be able to determine which cues are relevant and which are irrelevant. Great players are often experts at concentrating. They focus on those things that are necessary to perform well. They are not concerned with what happened in the past (e) or the future (b), and they disregard things that are out of their control [(c) and (f)]. From the above list, the two things that are relevant are (a) and (d).

Tip: Don't think about the past or the future, stay present, stay in the game.


Make a list of the top three things that make you lose concentration during football games.

Then watch the video below of Petr Cech describing the importance of concentration and how he stays focused in games.


We will now look at a way you can help get your concentration back when lose focus during a game. 

Self-Talk refers to what we say to ourselves in our heads. When we are playing football we often have a conversation going on inside our heads. Sometimes we will say things to ourselves that are helpful, sometimes we will say things to ourselves that are unhelpful.

In order to make Self-Talk work for you, it is a good idea to make your Self-Talk positive and motivational. For example, if we say "I can do it", then this reminds us that we are able to perform well.

Sometimes our Self-Talk might focus on specfic things we need to do well in order to perform. An example might be an attacker who wants to improve their dribbling but lacks confidence to try to go past a defender. They might say to themselves "Speed" to remind themselves to move quickly once they have got some space to dribble into.


Think of a quick phrase or key word that you can use as Self-Talk to help you in your football games. Choose a word or phrase that helps you imagine yourself doing things well. Have an image in your mind that goes with the word or phrase, so you say the word and imagine a picture of yourself performing well.

You will use this key word or phrase during your next game or practice. Use it before the game to help you prepare, use it when you have made a mistake to help you re-focus, and use it anytime you feel a loss of concentration (for example, the things that you have written down in Task 3).


To finish, watch the video on the right. This brief talk summarises what we have learnt.

Player Reflection Tool - Home

Dear Learner,

Welcome to your HOMEWORK page! Here you will learn about your chosen topic. It is a good idea to save the URL for this page to your favourites so you can easily return to it when you need to.

You need to work through the tasks on the page, one at a time. This might mean watching videos, it might mean doing other tasks and activities. It may be a good idea to take notes also. Remember that the more work and effort you put into the tasks, the more you will learn and the better you will become.

For most topics, there will be a PRINT OUT at the bottom of the page. You need to print this, complete the questions, and take to your coach. You need to do this so the coaches know what you are working on and are able to help you.

If any of the links on this page are broken, or you have other ideas or suggestions, please get in touch at:


Mark Carter

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Once you have completed all the homework, click on the 'Print the form' link. This will open a form which you need to print out and complete. Take this completed form to your coach.

Then click here to move onto the last part of the Tool.

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Mark Carter

07772 716 876