There is a large amount of anecdotal evidence that points to significant times during a soccer match when goals are scored, both for and against a team.
Goals tend to be scored at a greater rate during certain, approximately, five-minute segments of games. These are:
- The first five minutes of the match.
- After a goal has been scored.
- The five minutes before halftime, including added time.
- The first five minutes of the start of the second half.
- The last five minutes of the match, including added time.
It is extremely important for coaches and players to recognize this phenomenon and to take advantage of it, or guard against it, accordingly.
The reasons for this phenomenon tend to come from team and player psychology:
- The start of the match and the start of the second half are inherently exciting.
- As a team, players may simply not be ready or mentally prepared (“up”) to start the match or the second half.
- There can be an excitement that leads the team that just scored to storm ahead to get another goal.
- There can be a belief by the team that just scored that everything is fine and a complacency occurs that allows the opponent to score.
- The team that was just scored upon gets upset and fails to properly defend, allowing the opponent to charge into their end and score again.
- The team that was just scored upon gets mad and takes advantage of the euphoria felt by the scoring team to get revenge.
- Teams tend to ramp-up their rate of play knowing that only a few minutes remain before halftime or the end of the match.
- Time is running out, the team has to score immediately.
- Time is running out, all the team needs to do is defend a little while longer.
The most important of these reasons seems to be the let-down, on the part of either team, after a goal has been scored. Coaches must work to ensure that their teams neither suffer from over-confidence, when they score a goal, nor depression, when they are scored upon.
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John Harves, All Rights Reserved