JT's Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. John Thomas "JT" is the Assistant Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.
The pressure to win is often what takes the fun out of the out of playing and makes soccer players so afraid of losing, makes you feel as though you are standing in front of a jury instead of playing a game. But you have the power to turn your jury into more of a party. There is a chance that it might not even take that much power, since the jury could all be in your players head. Yours parents might not be judging you. Your teammates might not be judging you. The problem could be simply that you are judging yourself too harshly.
The way to have more fun as a soccer player is to get away from the judging and get back to playing. Get back to running kicking and all the things you liked when you started playing the game. Get back to the joy you use to feel before you started keeping score. While winning might be more fun the losing, you can’t let losing take the fun out of playing soccer. You can’t let losing make you feel like a criminal. Losing is not a crime. Losing is part of learning.
If you’re in a rut your teammates might be able to help you have more fun. Reach out to them. Talk with them. Go somewhere with them after a game. You might discover that they also aren’t having as much fun as they would like. Who knows? You might even learn that your team is suffering from a fun deficiency, which isn’t so uncommon in soccer, given that there are coaches who act more like sergeants than coaches.