Football: Didier Drogba – Focus!

Yes, it happens to me many times, it happens to every one of us,” Drogba said. “It’s funny because there are some times in the game where you don’t touch the ball for a while and then you realise that the crowd is there, or they’re not reacting, or you notice something specific going on and focus on it.

“After that you have to come back into the game quick, because this is how you lose your attention and sometimes you can mis-control when the ball comes to you suddenly, or miss an opportunity.” Didier Drogba, speaking openly to the Chelsea FC newsletter, about his ability to lose focus during games.

So what can a striker do, to maintain critical concentration during matches? Well, in the first instance, it’s useful to be able to note, when and how you lose concentration. So, for example, Drogba mentions that lost focus occurs, when he has not touched the balll for a while.

So the player can ask colleagues, or coaching staff to give him verbal reminders, at this point during matches. Or he can create mental triggers of his own. Key words or phrases, that get activated, when he is away from the ball, for any period of time. Even self-affirmations, can work to keep the player mentally upbeat, and ready for the next phase of play.

He could also practise commentating, quietly in his mind, on the action, down the other end of the pitch. This will keep him focused and prevent day-dreaming. It is a good idea, to practise this work in training.

Visualisation work can also be done, in time spent away from the ball. Drogba mentions this in his interview. So the striker can visualise a range of mental images, from scoring a goal, to winning headers from the keepers goal kicks or throws. He can visualise the next play, or a run on goal, and so on.

The key point is that he keeps mentally busy, in a productive way. Another thing to do, would be to follow the rhythm of the game; speeds of passes; movement of players. This will help with staying in tune with the game.

Also he could be quietly, mentally encouraging his team-mates. Again, this will maintain focus and involvement in the action.

It’s no surprise that Didier Drogba should admit to losing focus. He is probably speaking for many strikers and goal-keepers. But. its a sign of the new positive regime at Chelsea, that he can be so open about it. After all, admittance is the first step to overcoming the problem!

Posted in Football Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.