Predator vs. Prey Mindset in Soccer


You have a choice each moment on the field, in school and in life. Are you going to be the Predator or the Prey?

When you think about the Animal Kingdom there are two types of animals: Predator animals and their Prey. There are key differences between these two types of animals.

Prey animals have evolved to have eyes on the sides of their head or further apart than predators. This is to improve peripheral vision so that they can see everything that is going on around them. It is a way to protect themselves.

Predator animals have eyes much closer together. They don’t need to be as concerned with the world around them. They need to have tunnel vision to attack their prey. 

We can use this analogy in soccer to see that we have a choice.  Are we a predator or a prey athlete?

The Prey is concerned with everything around them. How good is the team that we are competing against? What are my friends going to say if I lose? What do I look like when I am out there? If I lose this game, what will happen next? If we lose this game, will we be out of playoffs? Your teammate passes you the ball, do you receive it and react? Or do you receive the ball aggressively, have a plan, and attack?

The Prey is worried about all of these external factors. Things they have no control over, things that won’t help them and most importantly things that don’t matter. 

Predator athletes don’t look around at these external factors. They make decisions based on what he or she believes is best regardless of others. He or she focuses on the things they can control. Predator athletes put forth a full effort and are aggressive regardless of who they are playing or what defender may be coming at them!  They don’t look ahead, look around, or look back. 

Different predators have different strengths and use them to their advantage.  A hawk sees his prey from above, and is able to swoop down and catch a mouse. A cheetah is able to outrun his opponent.  A polar bear uses his size and strength. In order to be the most fierce predator, understand your strengths. Maybe you are not the biggest girl or guy on the field, but you can PLAY big by being fast and being all over the ball.  Perhaps you are not very fast, but you are able to see plays developing and have great anticipation skills. There are different ways to being a great predator athlete!


They focus solely on the task at hand, the athletes ahead of them, and what they need to do. Soccer legend Ronaldinho put it this way, “my only concern is playing. Everything else, my family looks after. In our house, everyone has a job, and my job in our house is to play soccer.”

There’s a 50/50 ball on the field and you are sprinting to the ball against a defender.  Keep your predator mindset, stay laser focused, and in attack mode. You will end up with the ball!  

During the postseason you have the same choice. Are you predator or prey? Do you have tunnel vision on your goals?  Are you watching what others are doing in the off season, or are you sticking to your plan?

Predators are ferocious, strong, and laser focused on their goal.  Focus on what you have to do to be successful. Tune out your opponents results, ranking, predictions and all the hype. Use tunnel vision, stop caring about what is going on around you and focus all your energy on competing aggressively from start to finish. Even if you are the goalie, you might think you are on defense.  Change your mentality and attack the ball being kicked at you! Do everything you can to be that player with the predator mindset.