How to Become More Disciplined as a Footballer : Your 5-Step Guide:
(Make sure you read the whole article and don’t skip around. You may find a Free 1 Month Gym Program somewhere ($600 Value for Free))
Homie! Hope you’re having a great week and a great day so far!
I know you’re smashing your training because you seem to be following your boy Ricky…
Quick question for you:
What’s the biggest compliment people typically give you?
I hope they tell you that you’re hard working, consistent, and disciplined…
That’s always the goal!
Personally, I’ve consistently been told that I’m the most disciplined person that people have ever met…
And to be honest with you, there’s no other compliment that I’d rather get than that.
If you know your boy Ricky, you know 😉
I’ve been playing football in Europe for a few years now. I fully believe that the number one quality that has brought me and kept me at this top level is my discipline.
What is discipline and why is it so important?
Self-Discipline is an individual’s ability to have self-control and behave according to daily “rules” (set by themselves) which will allow them to reach their long-term goals.
To sum it up, discipline requires you to make small sacrifices in the present to enjoy a better future. If you can delay gratification and not give into quick dopamine, I will consider you disciplined!
The Key Difference Between Motivation & Discipline:
Let’s talk about the difference between motivation & discipline, because it’s essential for your long-term success.
Motivation is a state of mind that drives individuals to act towards achieving their goals. BUT most importantly, it’s characterized as a a TEM-PO-RARY state (obviously, the key word is: temporary).
Obviously motivation helps, but motivation comes and goes and is dependent on your mood and other external factors that you (sometimes) can’t control. You’re not always going to feel great. You’re not always going to feel like doing what you need to do…
But, when you’re disciplined, you get what you need to get done, no matter what!
You’re in Chicago for you winter break and you’re looking to get fitter for your upcoming preseason.
It’s night time and you have a goal of getting a 45 minute interval run done first thing in the morning.
You look at the forecast the night before and you see that it’s supposed to be sunny but a bit cold in the morning..
You set out your clothes and shoes because you’re motivated to train that night!
You wake up, the temperature has lowered drastically and it’s snowing outside…
Your motivation to train slowly goes down…
You tell yourself, “oh, I’ll go outside in about 30 minutes after I watch this YouTube video”
30 minutes passes..
You’re on the couch slouched watching YouTube videos..
You’re comfortable, relaxed and in the ‘comfy’ warmth..
The last thing you want to do is get off that couch, out of the warmth and step into the discomfort (the cold, snowy outdoors).
I promise you, if you were disciplined, you would get outside and complete your run, no matter the circumstance!
If you were just motivated, you wouldn’t do it. You were motivated last night because the forecast didn’t look too bad, but once that snow came down, you “changed your mind.”
If motivation is low, that’s exactly when you need discipline to overcome that challenge in front of you and do whatever it takes to still get the work in.
Discipline is a Lifestyle!
Discipline is NOT temporary, it’s a lifestyle that you need to adopt and commit to!
And let me tell you, rent is due every single day!
Discipline is one of the common traits of high-performers in every sport : think of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lebron James, Michael Phelps…
What brought them to the top of their game?
You guessed it…
Their discipline & level of dedication.
Obviously they are all extremely talented athletes, but you can’t just say that they got to where they are and achieved what they have based on natural talent alone.
Here’s what one of the game’s top managers has to say about discipline :
“Once you bid farewell to discipline, you say goodbye to success”
-Sir Alex Ferguson
This says a lot coming from a man who’s won 13 Premier League titles and 2 UEFA Champions League’s, doesn’t it?!
So, with that being said, let’s get into how you can specifically improve your own discipline as a footballer.
You already know I have a banger ready for you … so lets get straight into it !
As promised, before reading further, you can check out my Free 1 Month Gym Program and Free “How to Become a Pro Masterclass”.
If you want to become more confident on the ball, become faster and stronger on the pitch, and eventually play in the top leagues in the world, this is exactly what you’re looking for and it’s FREE! ($1500 Value for FREE). Just enter your email below:
(Key Point: If you’re disciplined, you will read the rest of the article. If you’re lazy, you’ll just read these key points and be done ;))
1- Set Clear Goals
2- Have a Routine
3- Do Something Hard Every Day
4- Learn Something New for 15 minutes Per Day
5- Find Accountability and Support
Step 1: Set Clear Goals:
I repeatedly say that the journey is more important than the destination…
But, you obviously need somewhat of roadmap if you’re going to try and reach a professional contract.
Now, of course, in football, everything rarely goes to plan…
But building a clear path for yourself is a great step to take your development into your own hands!
One thing that I do and I have my one-on-one online clients do is: they write down their goals in a journal or on a piece of paper which they can regularly see and come back to.
Write down your 1, 3, 6 and 12 month goals and find a way to come back to it regularly to make sure you’re staying on track.
The first step towards achieving a goal and building that discipline is self-belief, so this is a key step.
The framework I use for goals is SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely).
Basically, saying “I want to become a pro football player” isn’t a SMART goal, it’s just a dream….
Now of course, I don’t want to sit here and tell you to stop dreaming! But I want to tell you how to become more disciplined as a footballer.
Discipline comes with structure and clarity!
With a dream, you’re most likely going to rely on bursts of motivation to get closer to achieving your goal rather than being consistent, disciplined, working hard and working smart.
So, to illustrate my point, let me give you an example to envision..
Let’s say you have 2 players.
Player A has a dream of becoming a footballer. He’s had the dream since he was 4 years old.
He is now 18 years old, and just starting out in men’s football…
Though, he doesn’t really have a clear path that he’s going down. He’s more or less “going through the motions with the hope of becoming a pro..”
He just goes through the motions and trains and eats well when he feels like it. He tries to work out in the gym a couple of times a week. Typically, after a big loss, he only goes to the gym once per week and follows his diet 50% of the time. When he wins and plays well, he might go to the gym 3 times and follows his diet 80% of the time.
On the other hand, player B is a 22-year-old semi-pro who wants to sign a pro contract within the next 4 years.
He sits down, creates a road map and “reverse engineers” the step-by-step (by day, week, month and year) his plan to his success.
His goal is to progress by one division every year..
He updates his highlight video every week to contact clubs.
No matter his mood: he has at least 3 gym sessions a week and at least 2 individual training sessions on top of team training.
He follows his diet 90% according to his goals and eats 10% according to what he loves no matter his results on the field.
Who do you think has a better chance of reaching their goal?
It’s pretty clear, right?
This simple story shows 2 things:
1-Setting goals and writing them down will make you more disciplined because you don’t want to disappoint yourself. As humans, we fear failure, especially when there is a clear and measurable goal.
2-Being disciplined gives you a better chance of signing that pro contract.
Now we’ve seen the importance of setting goals to build discipline: I’d like to go even further…
You have a clear destination, yes..
But you need to break that down into yearly, monthly, weekly and DAILY goals!
I call it “reverse-engineering.”
You take the goal you have and you break it down into small, manageable steps in order to reach your “destination.”
Think about it : it’s much easier to build discipline if you know what you’re fighting for in the short-term.
That’s why I say your major goal should be specific and broken down into yearly, monthly, weekly and daily steps.
As a bonus, when you are disciplined and manage your time in the right way, you’ll be able to have more fun and enjoy quality time with your family and friends.
Discipline = Freedom!
If you get done what you need to get done, you’ll have time to do what you want to do!
Step 2: Create a Routine:
Routine is your best friend when it comes to reaching your goals and being disciplined.
As humans, our bodies love routine and familiarity.
That’s how you maximize your energy levels and overall health.
The first thing you need to implement NOW if you haven’t done so already is: to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
Now, of course, I can already hear you guys and girls saying “But what about holidays? What about if I have an early flight?”.
Of course, this is a general rule….
There are always exceptions to anything you do! And most importantly, we are in this health and fitness thing for a lifetime. You need to understand that you don’t have to be overly strict with anything you do! The goal is to be consistent homie 🙂
But, try your best to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day, as it will set your internal clock (circadian rhythm) and really help your energy levels because it will align your body with the sun.
If you feel better and you have more energy and your recovery is optimized, you’ll be more likely to stay dialed with your daily tasks and become a more disciplined footballer, which will lead to more success on the pitch.
Secondly, follow the 80/20 rule in terms of nutrition….
80% of the time, eat foods that align with your goals, and 20% of the time eat the food you love.
This is a huge part of building self-discipline, because it will allow you to be consistent.
Most importantly, we are not robots, so, you don’t need to eat 100% according to your goals all the time.
The goal is to enjoy food and have fun while eating. It’s NOT sustainable to cut out the foods you love all together. It’ll just make you frustrated.
That’s why all those fad diets never work and can lead to a bad relationship with food and binges..
People eventually develop cravings, which can lead to a poor relationship with food.
However, if you’re serious about your goals, it means that you need to eat according to your goals.
Here’s a link to a sample meal plan for you as a footballer that I built if you’re interested !
Third, PLANNING is Key!
Every single night, plan the following day with 2-3 clear goals.
This could be something along the lines of:
1.Complete a gym session
2.Complete an individual technical session
3.Read 15 pages of a book
When you crush one day at a time, you’ll crush the week, the month, the year … And eventually, you’ll smash your ultimate goal!
It’s much less overwhelming to break everything down to small daily achievable goals.
It helps you to become more disciplined because it’ll allow you to have multiple small wins every single day.
“Your life is essentially made up of the 15-20 most common habits that you do on a daily basis”
Step 3 : Do Something Hard Every Day:
Every day, you need to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone; whether that’s physically or mentally (preferably both).
I recommend you choose a habit that you can be consistent with (and measure how you and your life progresses as you stay consistent with it over time).
A simple one that I do and all my 1-on-1 clients do is: finishing your shower on cold for at least 2 minutes.
This is one of the best habits to start because it sets your foundation for discipline for the day.
It’s one of those habits that sucks and one of those that you don’t want to do!
And, as Nike says…
“Just Do It!”
Don’t think, just do it!
You may have some screams (I definitely do) and a lot of resistance to do it, but once you’re done, you will feel that much better!
After you smash that, you can start to stack harder habits on top of it!
Pushing out of your comfort zone means embracing the initial pain or discomfort and pushing past it anyways despite the physical and mental resistance that may come as a result.
Once you pass that initial phase, you have everything to gain.
From a mental perspective: this can look different depending on the individual.
If you’re searching for a girlfriend, set a goal of speaking to one new girl every single day (I mean I try to do that ;))
That’ll push you out of your comfort zone, but it’ll definitely make you more confident as a person and of course, more disciplined as a result.
Anyways, set the standard by doing the hardest thing you have to do that day the first thing in the morning..
Whether it be a cold shower, a 45 minute run or a fasted workout..
These things will set the path for a great day!
This way when you have to cold call a coach from a new team you want to join, or have a hard school or work day, you’ll be that much more confident because you’ve already smashed the hardest thing for the day, and the proceeding things will feel that much easier!
No matter what the thing is: that positive snowball effect & momentum from doing something hard will enable you to have more discipline as a footballer and give you a better chance of reaching your goals!
Step 4 : Learn Something New for 15 Minutes Per Day:
Something I’ve applied to build discipline as a footballer is learning something new for just 15 minutes every day.
Believe it or not, it can make a huge difference in your football journey…
The beautiful game is special, of course, but there’s a big world out there with tons of exciting things to learn.
If you spend a short, but consistent amount of time each day exploring new skills: you’ll broaden your horizons and work on your creative ability, which will also help you on the pitch.
It could be anything you’re interested in—just spend time becoming smarter in something you want to become better at and something you enjoy learning!
The key is to pick something you enjoy and let your curiosity do the rest!
One of the most important traits to develop as a footballer and human is a curious mindset…
A growth mindset as a footballer and committing to learning something new every day will attract the right people and the right clubs to you.
Others will see you as more knowledgeable and a more well-rounded person.
Think about it….
That disciplined daily curiosity could then bring opportunities with new clubs…
I can tell you firsthand (as a player and technical director in Latvia), we don’t just look for players based on their ability and where they’ve played.
We talk to at least 3 people that have worked with them in the past..
We want to see how they’ve treated others (teammates, coaches, kitman, their barber ;)).
Are they ambitious?
Are they disciplined?
Are they open minded?
Are they respectful?
Are they kind?
After talking and becoming friends with many “big sporting directors,” clubs don’t just look for technical skills in a player.
They want someone who’s intelligent, a good person all around and one that has a growth-mindset. At the end of the day, players will need to adapt to a new culture and environment when signing with a new team, so those character traits are very important!
See how everything ties together?
Committing to learning something new every day can help you build discipline, which will have a positive impact on your performance on the pitch.
Learning something new is a win-win and a no brainer if you’re looking to level up as a footballer!
Plus, having a hobby/”side hustle” next to football is instrumental to your mental development as a human and athlete.
By stimulating your brain with different things, you’ll come back to the pitch refreshed and more motivated (even though discipline > motivation as you’ve gathered from this article ;))
5- Find Accountability and Support:
Building discipline isn’t an easy journey!
It will come with hardships, struggles and challenges. It’s not easy to become a disciplined individual.
Naturally, most people are lazy..
Because it’s the easy path.
But, we’re not here for the easy path! We only have one life, so, we have to make the most of it!
It’s all about embracing the pain and doing what you need to do even if you don’t want to do it!
The goal is to start to enjoy pain and suffering (as crazy as it may sound), because that what causes you to adapt and become better!
According to research, building a habit takes 21 days, but losing a habit can happen in as quick as 3 days of not doing it!
It’s all about patience and being resilient: if you become disciplined mentally, you will change your life on and off the pitch (from a physical and spiritual perspective).
Building discipline will take a lot of time and effort. It won’t happen over night. It’s a progressive process!
You want to progressively build, and if you slip up, you just get back on track without “overjudging yourself!”
If you have a cheat meal which wasn’t planned, don’t stress about it, there’s no point!
The goal is to enjoy it & get back on track the next day. Don’t make a big deal about it!
Of course that is easier said than done for a lot of people…
Which is why I recommend investing in a mentor or coach who has experience and went through the struggles you are currently facing.
They can keep you accountable regarding your major goal: keeping you on track with your daily training sessions and meal plans.
Like I always say, if you crush one day at a time, you’ll crush the week and eventually the month and year!
Which will get you closer to your ultimate goal!
If you feel like you need support and guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out and apply to my 1-on-1 program by booking a call with me below:
I’ll do all the thinking and planning for your individual training sessions, gym work, meal plans and recovery. All you have to do is execute, and I’ll make sure to keep you accountable and disciplined along the way.
I hold my clients to a very high standard – the same standard that I hold myself to- so you’ll definitely build some long-lasting discipline and permanent routines from working with me :).
Also, if you want to improve yourself on the ball and become more confident, calm and comfortable on the field, the RicFit Academy App is definitely for you. Every single week is planned for you. You just need to get on the pitch and execute!
All you have to do is stay disciplined, follow along with the plan and you’ll get the results you want!
Join now for 7 days free:
To conclude, I hope you guys have really harnessed the power and importance of discipline within this article.
Remember: discipline brings results, and results brings on more motivation.
Now, if you combine discipline with consistent motivation, you’ll become a real threat in this world, no matter what you do!
Because, like I said, most people are inherently lazy!
And no matter what, like I always say : it’s not about reaching the destination, it’s about enjoying the journey along the way!
There’s no better self improvement journey than chasing a pro football contract because it will help you build discipline and develop skills like pushing outside your comfort zone, improving relationships with people and becoming open-minded.
As much as we love it, at the end of the day: there is much more to life than just football…
Building discipline will help you in every aspect of your life : relationships, health, family… You name it!
With all that being said, I just want to finish this article off differently than usual…
With a quote, that you can answer and think about on your own…
I want you to deeply question yourself in an honest way after reading it, and wonder if your actions are actually matching your ambition….
If not, you better apply the tips from this article and let me know how you feel !
“If you think the price of winning is high, wait until you get the bill from regret”.
(Michael Jordan/ Kobe Bryant’s individual coach)
Are you as disciplined as you say you are or are you lying to yourself?
If not, you know who to reach out to 🙂
Your Big Brother,