Even the best play­ers go through pe­ri­ods of poor form. Strik­ers some­times mis­place their shoot­ing boots, mid­field­ers get their co­or­di­nates mixed up, de­fend­ers be­come as fear­ful as a bas­ket of kit­tens and goal­keep­ers find that their gloves have foot­ball si


1 Be­fore you can treat a dis­ease, you need to be able to di­ag­nose it. “You need to take own­er­ship,” Good­e­nough says. “You want to be proac­tive and rec­tify what the prob­lem is be­fore it costs you in a big game.” 2 “Did you give 100-per­cent in this game or did you let your­self down with ef­fort?” As Good­e­nough says, ef­fort is an easy vari­able to measure. Poor form is not al­ways down to a loss of skills. Some­times an up­swing in per­for­mance sim­ply re­quires a look in the mir­ror. 3 If you have been putting as much ef­fort as you do at your peak, then it's time to start look­ing at how you're ex­e­cut­ing your task. As a striker, are you putting away your chances? Are you out of the ac­tion or strug­gling to read the play? “Break it down into in­di­vid­ual mo­ments in the game." 4 Be­fore you start work­ing on your shoot­ing tech­nique or run­ning ex­tra laps af­ter prac­tice, ask your­self if there are ex­ter­nal in­ter­fer­ences that could be cloud­ing your per­for­mances. “This is a ‘what' ques­tion, not ‘why' ques­tion,” Good­e­nough says. “What is go­ing in your life? What is the in­ter­fer­ence?” Re­la­tion­ship trou­bles, agent dis­agree­ments, clashes with team­mates? Ad­dress these first be­fore you tin­ker with your tech­nique. 5 “Elite ath­letes of­ten per­form more con­sis­tently in train­ing than they do in matches. Why? Be­cause there is no pres­sure." That is why it is im­per­a­tive that a fail­ure to ex­e­cute a task in prac­tice has con­se­quences. Miss a shot: run ex­tra laps. Fail to de­liver a cer­tain num­ber of balls from wide: buy a team­mate lunch. As mi­nor as these reper­cus­sions may seem, they place an importance on ex­e­cut­ing when there are no crowds or cam­eras to watch. 6 “Most coaches want to coach poor form away, but this re­ally should be the last thing they do." If there is a tech­ni­cal flaw in a player, mus­cle mem­ory needs to be re­set and re­taught. This can take time. The trick is to keep it sim­ple. “What is the most im­por­tant part of your game that you need to be suc­cess­ful? Find that and work on it un­til you are supremely con­fi­dent in your abil­ity.” 7 When you were a laaitie chas­ing af­ter balls bare­foot, you didn't worry about slumps in form. You played the game be­cause you loved it. “Most peo­ple want to try fix prob­lems as soon as they iden­tify them, but all too of­ten they do so from an ag­i­tated place,” Good­e­nough con­cludes. “Find your en­joy­ment, find your mean­ing. Every­one per­forms bet­ter when they're in a good space.” KO

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