Player Reflection Tool

Mental control, composure & resilience


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

Many things can happen during a game of football. Often several things are happening at the same time, and often things happen suddenly or unpredictably. A good footballer needs to be able to control how they are affected by things that happen to them and around them. This webpage has been especially designed to improve your mental control, composure and resilience. Some of the advice, information and tips may also be useful for controlling your mood, temper and attitude in school or at home. 

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. We will first look at how to prepare for games, and later meet with superstars Dina Asher-Smith, David Beckham and Derek Redmond.


In order to perform well, learn quickly and enjoy your football, it is vital to be in the right frame of mind before a football game or session begins. If you don't prepare for sessions properly then you risk being distracted, losing focus or playing poorly right from the beginning of the session.

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)

During the game

Football is a fast game, with so much happening - often all at the same time. A good learner and a good performer will be able to consider and act on certain things that happen, while ignoring others. The key to maintaining control and composure is to ignore the things that you have no control over.


Read the following six things that happen during a game of football. Which three of them are within your control and which three of them are not within your control?

  • A. You prepare yourself well for the game, and feel confident and composed
  • B. The other team are better than your team, and they score two quick goals
  • C. The pitch is slippy and you fall when you try to shoot at goal
  • D. You make a poor pass that goes straight to an opponent
  • E. You don't focus on the poor pass you just made, but instead you try to make sure your next pass is a good one
  • F. The referee makes a decision that you don't agree with

There are many things out of your control in a football game. These include the ability and performance of the opposing team and players (B); the weather and pitch conditions (C); the referee's performance and decisions (F). A player who focuses on these things will become frustrated and risk losing control.

A good footballer will focus only on those things within their control. This will include your own performance (D) and preparation (A). It is important to remember though, that even if we have made a mistake in a game, it is completely up to ourselves how we react to it (E). We have the power to decide how we react to things.


Watch the video and answer the questions below.

  • Will you make mistakes in a football game?
  • How should you react to a mistake? What can you do to help you?
  • Why is it important to react positively to making a mistake?


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. In order to maintain control over your performance, you could use Self-Talk that reminds you to focus on those things that you have control over. For example, you could use the phrase "React positive" to remind yourself to always react well to everything that happens in a game.


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 maintain control, and use it anytime you feel a loss of control or composure


Resilience refers to the ability to be mentally strong over a period of time, even if things don't go well for you. In football, there are things that can go wrong for us. Injuries and defeats are two examples. Others may include not being selected for a game or team, or receiving criticism. 

It is important to remember that all footballers have ups and downs in their football lives. And again, it is important to:

  • Focus on things you can control rather than things that are out of your control
  • React positively to things that happen to you


Watch the video below, which presents the sporting lives of three resilient professional athletes.

  • Which of the three stories did you find most inspiring? Why?

Maintaining control and resilience: Eating, drinking and sleeping

  • Eat well. This means eating the right things. Make sure you have eaten well before your football games and practices.
  • Drink lots. Keep hydrated. Drink water regularly, especially on the day of your football games or practices.
  • Sleep 10 hours a night.


Our final task will again focus on examples of mental control, composure and reslience from professional sport.

Choose one of the three sports stars below and watch the video(s). What do they teach us about overcoming obstacles and being mentally strong? Who provides them with support when things get tough?

1. Dina Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith is a sprinter - the fastest British woman in history. In this video, she describes how keeps mentally strong.

2. David Beckham

In the first video below we see how Beckham lost control and composure in a World Cup game for England. But Beckham showed great resilience to re-build his career after that mistake. He later became England's captain.

In the second video, Beckham scores a very important last-minute goal from a free-kick. What's important to note with this goal is that Beckham had taken 6 or 7 free-kicks in the game. He had missed all of them. How would you feel about stepping up to take a last-minute free-kick when you had missed many chances already in the game? Beckham put the mistakes to one side and concentrated on the moment... and scored.

3. Derek Redmond

Derek Redmond represented Great Britain in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. He was one of the favourites to win the 400m final. However, his hamstring tore with 150m to go. Rather than giving up, he carried on to continue and complete the race.

If you've enjoyed this page, then the video here provides a great summary and some more detail of how to use sports psychology to improve your mental control. 

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