How to Manage Stress in Futsal?

How to Manage Stress in Futsal?

A good Futsal player is not only characterised by their physical and technical ability, but also how he is able to handle stressful situations, such as before or during an important match.

How does anxiety affect an athlete’s life?

The demands of the game in futsal determine a high degree of physiological and mental demands on its sportsmen and women.

In an opposition-cooperation sport, with high spatial-temporal deficits and a huge degree of uncertainty, the player’s performance will depend to a great extent on their mental strength.

Athlete anxiety

In this sense, the mental components of the game directly influence the performance of the athlete:

  • From the control of thoughts;
  • Beliefs;
  • Feelings;
  • Stress;
  • Attention and concentration;
  • Emotions;
  • Self-confidence; or
  • Motivation.
It will largely condition the ability to reach the maximum level of your skills.

What is mental strength in futsal?

In futsal not all players exhibit the same level of mental strength.

In some it is innate.

Although for most, they are influenced by external factors such as the opinion of their coach, management or president, social networks, press and/or media.

Mental strenght

In turn, intrinsic factors, such as thoughts, beliefs…, what you say to yourself, how you define, explain and interpret different situations… can be seen as limiting aspects of performance.

This leads us to think that if the player is not able to control all these factors, it will be difficult for him/her to reach his/her maximum potential.

What mental qualities does a great footballer have?

The goal of every player is to compete at the highest level in all training sessions and in all matches.

Having a good day and competing at a high level is within everyone’s reach.

But, competing beyond your capacity is impossible if you don’t train with the mental components of the game.
A player performs at their best when they are convinced that they are really ready to compete and they are really ready in all ways.

Football player

Achieving the optimal activation level for competition is desirable.

The improvement of your chances of competing will only be achieved when all the dimensions of the sportsperson are stimulated (technique, tactics, physical, psychic, volitional, emotional…)

What is sports stress and how does it affect athletes?

From a physiological point of view, stress is a response in our body to situations of insecurity or fear.

It is a natural defence mechanism and, therefore, in sport we must make knowing how to compete with an adequate level of stress natural.

Thus, the player has to learn to modulate his/her activation to the range that allows him/her to compete to the maximum.

Anxiety and stress appear above that level.

Futsal players

And underneath that level, the benefits will be insufficient.

The aim is for each sportsman or woman to learn how to control it: each player must find the methods with which they are most comfortable and effective.

How to reduce stress in futsal

To learn how to control your level of activation you can use the following techniques:

Relaxation

Relaxation and breathing are two techniques you should incorporate into your sports routine.

Their daily use will distract you from disturbing thoughts and relax your body.

How do we apply this technique?

  1. You should adopt a position in which you are comfortable: sitting on a chair, straight back supported by the backrest and hands on your knees.
  2. Relax your body by taking a passive attitude and breathe deeply several times (5-10 repetitions).
  3. Focus on your breathing and count the breaths you take in and out for two minutes.
  4. Return to your normal state little by little.
A variant to this exercise is to contract and relax different body segments, instead of concentrating on breathing.

Visualisation

It is the cognitive process that allows you to project images and associated sensations in your mind with the intention of experiencing a psychological benefit, in this case reducing stress. Visualisation also brings improvements in:

  • Individual technique;
  • Acquisition of new skills;
  • Helping to understand the game;
  • Reinforcing self-confidence; and
  • Provides benefits in recovery from injuries.
Visualisation helps us to reduce uncertainty by producing a rewarding sense of satisfaction and security.
In visualisation, you will be the protagonist from the outside (how you are seen) or from the inside (what you see).

Stress reduction technique

Project your best version, even exaggerating it a little.

How do we apply this technique?

  1. Choose one or a few actions, and visualise them in a relaxed state, at the same intensity as in reality (e.g. a strategy action, a pre-planned move or a free throw.)
  2. That, in which your contribution to the team can be decisive in the final result and is within the match plan for that day.

Control your thoughts

When a futsal player exceeds the limits of his or her state of activation, stress appears, tension takes over and negative thoughts appear, causing a loop from which it is difficult to get out.

In this situation, the answer is to create an alternative thought.

Suffering from stress means that the match is important for you, so there is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability and the faith you have in yourself.

Thought control

Turn that stress into a challenge.

Repeat that phrase to yourself several times: “This game is important to me; I can conquer this challenge and I have confidence in myself”.

How can we apply this technique?

  • You have to change that negative thinking for one that propels you to success.
  • Don’t accept negative thoughts (e.g. We have no chance of victory against this team, I always fail at completion…).
  • If you tell yourself that you cannot beat that opponent, you already have the result in advance.
  • Your last thought before the start of a match will always be positive.
  • Focus on the present, what happened in the past is irrelevant (previous matches lost to that team or even failed actions during the course of that same match).
It is very important to pay attention to our awareness of what we think to control thoughts about work, games and training

What is scouting in futsal?

As we discussed earlier, uncertainty generates stress.

Facing the unknown increases insecurity and this in turn catapults distrust in your chances of success.

In this aspect the role of the team’s coach is fundamental.
The coach’s programme in the weekly micro cycle surely includes this:
  • The development of the game model as a collective improvement of the team’s preparation;
  • The contents that are effective in confronting the opponent’s game model; and, finally,
  • An individual improvement plan (approximately 30% of the weekly training load).

What do you do in a scouting?

The coach must complement this preparation with videos of improvement of your team, at collective level, as well as individual of each player, on aspects to improve from the last matches.

And finally, scouting videos about your opponent: knowing your opponent’s team in depth will provide you with valuable information about their strengths and weaknesses.

In this way, you will get to know the best individualities of the opponent: their technical and tactical actions, how they attack and how they defend in the different phases of the game…

Scouting

In addition, each player must deepen his knowledge of the rival player he will have to score and attack according to his playing position.

The more information you have about their game, the more prepared you will be for the match and this will give you a boost of confidence that will be reflected in your game.

Conclusion

As a final conclusion we can say that the mental preparation of the team and each player plays a vital role in individual and collective performance in futsal.

That importance implies a systematic planning of the techniques and mental tools.

The implementation of the techniques described here, in an occasional and isolated way, does not make sense, it will not produce any results.

As an athlete it will be very profitable for you to integrate them into your sporting life.

Bibliography

  1. Ganar con la cabeza. Una guía completa de entrenamiento mental para el fútbol. Rafi Srebro y Joaquín Dosil. 2009
  2. Jugar con el corazón. La excelencia no es suficiente. Xesco Espar. 2010
  3. Asignatura de Técnica y Táctica. Curso Nacional de Fútbol Sala Granada 2012. Bruno García, Seleccionador Nacional de Japón de Fútbol Sala.

Related Entries

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  • Being strong on a regular basis is key to competitive sports performance. If you want to know how to be able to do it, click here.
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About Pedro García
Pedro García
A teacher on the Futsal Coach Training Courses, he is also a member of the Andalusia Football Federation (RFAF) Coaches Committee, amongst other football-related affairs.
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