Have you ever entered a game where you were the overwhelming favorite to win and just tanked?
You can look to many examples in soccer when top-ranked winning teams suffer an upset loss at the hands of a weaker opponent.
Despite many cautionary tales, many top-ranked teams still fall into the "under-estimation" trap when facing a lower-seeded opponent.
Why does this happen so many times in soccer?
Well, it all boils down to a false sense of confidence, call it over confidence.
For some top soccer players, success comes easy. These soccer players who perform in dominant fashion during the season expect it to continue especially when they face weaker teams.
Sometimes, these soccer players look past their competition and look forward to an opponent they see as more competitive.
When you underestimate an opponent, you are not accounting for how hard your opponent has been working, how motivated your opponent will be to pull off an upset or having an off day yourself.
"On any given day..." refers to the fact that victory is never guaranteed and given the right circumstances, even the best teams can fall.
Every game is filled with competitors’ game-planning, fighting, scratching and clawing to end up victorious.
If you are not willing to give it all you got in your preparation, effort and focus, then you are opening the chance for an upset.
No opponent is a pushover. On any given day, weaker opponents can challenge you.
No matter how talented you are or how dominant your team is playing, you will not win every game. Even the best soccer players have off days.
Nevertheless, you need to prepare and approach every competition with the same degree of intensity, no matter what the level of your competition.
Taking your opponent lightly only makes competitions more challenging.
How to Not Be Overconfident:
Develop the habit of preparing the same way for every opponent. Practice with the same intensity.
Use the same pregame routine that helps you get your intensity up and game face on.
Have a sound game-plan for each game.
Find the game within the game to help you get into the flow. Challenge yourself to push yourself to your limits--don't expect to skate by the opponent.
Dr. Patrick J. Cohn
Soccer Psychology Tips
by Peak Performance Sports, LLC