Our Secret Academy Player talks about Confidence in Youth Players and how self belief can make a difference on and off the pitch.
Some look at Zlatan Ibrahimvich and say arrogance…some see Ronaldo and see arrogance, selfish and self-centered, some former teammates of Messi have said he has a healthy and sizable ego…truth is all the great ones do.
Pele says he’s the king and we all say yes he is, Maradona would say NO I’m the greatest, the Dutch would say Cruyff is the greatest, the Colombians would say easily Valderama, Nigerians would say Okocha, Liberians would say George Weah and the players themselves would say they are the GOAT.
As a youth player though you’re expected to be humble and say I’m still learning and developing.
Fact is, yes you can still be learning and developing and have a long way to go, no 15-year-old is the finished article….but you can’t be the best if you don’t think you’re the best.
I for one think I am the best player in my age group, always believed that, not as a nassarcist or an arrogant little booger but because it takes self belief to be a top player, it takes self-confidence and audacity.
It takes believing that you can match yourself up against any kid your age and say I can beat him one on one or he can’t get past me or I can defend him easily.
Sometimes as a player right or wrong I look at the players others rate above me and I say, who is he playing against? whats the strength of his opposition or league? He couldn’t survive in mine. I am better, way better than that kid.
Now that could be arrogance but it’s the truth, I truly believe that no one compares to me on the soccer pitch unless they have 3 legs but if we both have 2 legs – my feet are better, my strength is better, my technique is better and my field intelligence is better.
That’s just what I believe and I have to believe that and I’m always ready to back it up. Neymar believed he was the best a long time before he became the best, Lukaku believed he was the best a long time before everyone else recognized it.
That is the belief I think a top player has to have in a shark like dog eat dog world of academy football. The mental part is important.
You have to step on the pitch everyday knowing you are the player who will make a difference for your team. That you are special and dare I say the best of the 22 on the pitch.
Call it arrogance, I call it the power of positive thinking. I am not scared of any player, team, circumstance on the pitch, I have dragged losing teams to winning because of my self belief, when everyone thought it was game over, I was still fighting because I don’t accept defeat.
It’s not empty though, the self belief isn’t based on empty substance, I work hard and know that as hard as I work, as much as I put into my craft, no one else does so no one else can touch me so the next time you come across a kid that believes, know that for him to say that, he truly believes it and it’s because he knows he puts int he work and can always back it up.
If you’re a cook, you have to believe that no one’s a better cook than you to get tot he top, I am sure Usain Bolt doesn’t look at Justin Gatlin and say he’s better than me even before he broke into the spotlight.
I’m sure Michael Jordan was in college looking at professionals and saying to himself, I can’t wait to get in that arena because I will run the boards over these guys.
That has to be the belief……. so coaches and admins reading this, I implore you to look at your players and ask them are you the best player for your position on the pitch in the country and in the world, if you don’t believe that no amount of training will get you that for a boy who dreams and believes is a man who achieves and becomes.