The Team that Wins is Usually the One that Wants it More
Sports are about winning. Soccer too is about winning. The ultimate moment of glory for any soccer player is “winning” the World Cup. Soccer players never go off on daydreams where they imagine losing the big games. No, the focus is typically about winning that big match and scoring the vital goal that sends the team and its fans into a ruckus pandemonium. But one thing I’ve noticed in soccer, at every level of the game, is that it’s not necessarily the best teams that win the big games, but often just the team that simply wants it the most. How else can you explain a team like Bradford City beating Arsenal?
To want the game more is reflected in countless actions on the pitch. One of the most important ways to see it is with 50-50 balls. These are loose balls on the pitch that can easily be won by both teams. There is basically a 50% chance that either team will take possession. Winning teams usually dominate these situations. Therefore, they have the ball and more time on the ball, which often leads to more goal-scoring chances and thus more goals.
How do players win more of these chances? They show determination. They literally sprint to the ball and immediately use physicality to shield their opponent away and pass the ball back to a teammate, thus securing possession. Or, if they were beaten to the ball, they forcefully take it away from their opponent. No soccer player is going to win all these opportunities, but the best players typically win most 50-50 chances.
Another crucial factor in wanting to win games is your intensity to defend. Your goal is sacred and any soccer balls grazing into the net should be seen as heresy! Well, maybe it’s not that intense, but players need to have an edge about defending. Don’t be afraid to go hard in on a tackle and knock a player over. Not only does this usually win the ball (if done correctly and a foul is avoided), but it can let you disrupt the game of an opposing forward and get into their head. The next time he or she comes blaring in on a run, perhaps they will think about your bruising challenge instead of going for the shot, and in that split moment of indecision, you or another defender can steal the ball away.
Lastly, wanting that win is about teamwork and going for that crucial goal. Manchester United have become masters of the late goal in England this year and it stems from a confidence that they will find that goal. Players need to attack the goal with determination and power. This strikes fear into opponents and can result in a goal from a variety of chances. Often times, goals come from defensive mishaps that your team simply pounces upon. But you must want that goal and be ready to capitalize at all times. That’s why wanting that win so badly becomes so important.
So whenever you step onto a field, you must want that win in order to get it. Don’t settle for comfortable draws. Demand a result and go out and get it!