Importance of Sport Psychology & Mental Skills Training:

The ‘untapped area’ of football performance

Ralf Rangnick wasted no time at all influencing the club with his philosophy. Making a sport or football psychology expert the first member of his backroom staff, Rangnick highlighted the modern methods involved in an elite football setting.

“If you have special coaches for goalkeeping, physical education, even for strikers, fitness, whatever, you should also have an expert for the brain. It’s not so much putting them on the red sofa and holding hands for the players because most of them won’t do that anyway. It is about helping the players: that their brain should assist the body, not work against it.”

Ralf Rangnick
Manchester United FC, Head Coach

youth soccer USA

Sport psychology and cognitive skill development has been discussed as the last untapped or limited applied area of sporting development & understanding. Applied research & studies in this performance area have largely included individual psychological factors and their influence on performance encompassing confidence, motivation and attention to name but a few!

Find out more with our Soccer Psychology Course:


  • Sport or soccer psychology is the use of psychological knowledge & skills to optimize performance and well-being of athletes
  • maximising the developmental aspects of sports participation & understanding the systemic issues associated with sports settings and organizations



  • Mental skills training is the process involving methods & techniques to improve performance
  • Techniques involve such things like:
    • Developing self-confidence & creating a positive mind-set through goal setting, positive self-talk, visualization, imagery & self-efficacy

Key areas of sport psychology

For some sporting individuals, coaches and management or performance staff the concept of self-confidence is not as important as it is for others as they know what it is, how much is needed and how to deal with situations. However, self-confidence is so palpable in some players, staff or athletes you can almost reach out and touch it. Their confidence is reflected in everything they say and do, in what they wear and how they look.

According to literature in this area, performance success & accomplishment is known to be the strongest contributor to sport confidence, progression and development.

‘When you perform any skill or task successfully, individuals generate and gain more confidence, and in general will be willing to attempt something slightly more difficult or challenging’

nutrition for footballers

Personal success breeds confidence, while repeated personal failure diminishes it….how as a coach or individual involved with the development of athletes or players can you provide an environments to succeed and gain confidence from a sport specific context. Here at ISSPF we aim to give you the tools to progress yourself and your athletes, players or teams.

Self-confidence is described as being at its highest when you believe in your own ability and feel that you have properly prepared for a competition.

Motivation is the foundation of all athletic effort and accomplishment. … To become the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to do what it takes to maximize your ability and achieve your goals. Motivation, simply defined, is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. From a coaching perspective – how you maximise your players, athletes or staff’s motivation levels? What makes them tick? What is their main motivation to perform and how can you as a leader draw that out of them! Understanding what gets your players prepared to perform is key as a coach, manager or leader of a department and ISSPF have the experts ready to deliver some key interventions and modules to help you progress within team sport environments.


What now?

Our ISSPF Certificate in Soccer Psychology & Mental Skills Training is the perfect online sport psychology course to not only learn from world leaders in the area, understand the development & application within team sports, but also to be able to enhance your role & guidance as a coach, practitioner, performance or medical staff member.  

All of these questions, skills & components are needed to be able to compete & progress to the next level irrespective of the job or role you perform!

The fact elite players are not only describing the importance of ‘sport science’ support staff within the International team set up at major tournaments, but really utilising them shows the need for the continued education in this area to promote development in football or soccer science.

The demand for sport psychologists & mental skills training specialists with a focus on football science is growing year upon year. Thousands of coaches, students & independent learners with qualifications, coaching badges & sport science degrees, are asking the key question – How do I get a job in football? What’s the next step? Which area of sport science do I want to specialise in? What is the role of sport psychologist?

The bespoke courses developed by ISSPF Faculty members are a way of further exposing sport science students, individuals working within the game & other football science enthusiasts with a thirst to develop further in this area.

The link below will take you to the hugely popular & expertly designed ISSPF expertly endorsed, & accredited Online Football Psychology & Mental Skills Training course, where you will be exposed to football science research and practical examples used within varying levels of team sports. 

long term athletic development

Why is this course important?

  • Understanding the key components of what drives coaches, players, & athletes to succeed is of paramount importance
  • Developing strategies in order to prepare individuals for both training & competitive games from a psychological perspective is of great benefit to coaches & practitioners
  • Coaches & performance practitioners can make huge advances in this under-applied area of coaching & sport science
  • This course is developed specifically to enhance the coaching & performance process
  • All practitioners & coaches can only benefit themselves & their players even further by having a more in-depth knowledge of applied psychology & mental skills training development
  • May help us to maximise our decision making through a better understanding & appreciation of psychological & mental skill principles

Who is this course for?

  • Individuals tasked with the responsibility for the training & coaching aspects of both individual athletes or team sports
  • Individuals with an interest in developing their knowledge in the preparation, training & development of individual athletes or team sports
  • Sport psychologists keen to understand more about football science & football training.

Outline of the Online Sport Psychology & Mental Skills course:

Module 1: An introduction to sport psychology & its role within soccer: Increasing awareness
Lecturer: Dr. Alonya Grushko (Russia) Dynamo Moscow

Module 2: Energy management in the game
Lecturer: Ricardo Pires (Portugal) SL Benfica

Module 3: Improving focus, attention & concentration in a soccer environment
Lecturer: Omer Ates (Turkey) Besiktas

Module 4: Motivating the Individual
Lecturer: Sarah Murray (England) Brighton & Hove Albion

Module 5: Team cohesion & key lines of communication within soccer
Lecturer: Ricardo Pires (Portugal) SL Benfica

Module 6: Developing self-confidence
Lecturer: Dr. Sion Rowlands (Wales ) Leicester City FC

Module 7: Imagery as a mental skills intervention
Lecturer: Omer Ates (Turkey) Besiktas

Module 8: Coach & Player Self-Reflection
Lecturer: Thomas Pratl (Austria) FC Admira Wacker

long term athletic development


·         How can I improve myself mentally in soccer?

·         How do you get a good mentality in soccer?

·         How much of soccer is mental or psychological?

·         How do you stay calm/relaxed during a soccer game?

·         What does psychological mean in soccer?

·         What are the top 3 tips for developing confidence in soccer?

·         How can I improve my concentration in soccer?

·         What percentage of soccer is mental?

·         What does a sport psychologist do?

·         Sport psychology qualifications?

·         Psychology in soccer?

·         Football psychology


All these frequently asked questions will be answered & further information provided within our ISSPF online sport psychology courses – we look forward to seeing you there!