Football performance is affected by four major factors; technical ability being converted into a skill in the presence of opponents, Tactical ability by being able to make the right decisions, physical ability by the body being able to perform football-specific movements and mental ability being strong enough to enable players to perform well.
The mental ability has many factors that are mainly affected by the 5C’s, these are; confidence, communication, control, commitment, and concentration.
These 5C’s can’t be isolated, they are interrelated.
It’s very important for football coaches working with developing players to plan training sessions that will help players to develop the 5C’s that help improve the mental strength of players.
Describes the player’s ability to focus their attention on the right thing at the right time.
At a high level, a football match is very competitive and lasts 90 minutes, each minute on the pitch can have up to 30 situations that require a different action.
That translates into 2,700 situations that require consistent concentration for the different actions as a team, within 90 minutes.
Concentration is not limited to 90 minutes but in training sessions, before the match, and after the match.
Describes how the player is motivated.
It’s very important for developing players to be taught how to have a genuine passion for football.
Genuine passion helps to have intrinsic motivation which helps the player to overcome challenges that would deter them from playing football.
Football coaches should praise effort and attitude over the outcome as a way to recognize that players are committed.
For example; If any footballer is going to make it to the top level, the motivation should be from within the player, the rest like parents and coaches can only support the player and offer extrinsic motivation.
If the extrinsic motivation is greater than intrinsic motivation, then commitment levels will be lower.
Describes the player’s self-belief in their ability to achieve goals.
Confidence comes from knowing.
Developing players should be encouraged to express themselves and that making mistakes is part of the learning process to mastering football skills.
There’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance.
It’s very important that coaches observe when over confidence might make players complacent.
Football coaches should help players to build confidence by creating a no failure environment.
Describes how well a player can control and manage their emotions.
Emotions arise out of good times like winning a match, scoring a goal and being on form or bad times like poor referee decisions, conceding a goal, losing a match and being out injured.
Coaches can help players to improve their ability to control and manage emotions by highlighting negative emotional reactions like anger, self-criticism, poor body language, negative thoughts, blaming others, etc.
Describes how a player uses eyes, ears, and mouth to take in and give out information from the game, coaches, teammates, officials, and opponents.
Communication is an important skill in football because the decisions made in football arise out of the ability to communicate verbally or non-verbally.
Coaches should help developing players to have effective communication by recognizing and praising players that demonstrate good communication like looking over the shoulders while off the ball, acknowledging and listening to teammates and coaches, using peripheral vision, looking up while on the ball, etc.
Football coaches should role model the 5C’s by using good and bad examples within football to increase awareness of the importance for each of the 5C’s.
Engage players in game situations that test the 5C’s skills under pressure.
Publicly praise players that demonstrate the 5C’s as a skill or behavior.
It’s important to emphasize that at a high level, all players have excellent technical, tactical and physical attributes to perform well but having mental strength with the 5C’s keeps the best at a high level for a longer time.