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The season is under way and you've got the feeling that your coach doesn't have much faith in you. You've been on the bench more often than not and when you have come on it's been late in the game. The situation is far from ideal for you. Here's some advice on how to nail down that starting place you want so badly.
Before getting to the heart of things, we want to emphasize that this advice applies to every player, no matter their position. When performing at a higher level, many players find out that a starting position isn't permanent. Blaise Matuidi during the 2018 World Cup, Olivier Giroud since he quit Montpellier and even Claude Puel who occasionally started during his season with Monaco are a few good examples. This applies to everyone, from professional players to amateurs.
If you start the season on the bench, the first thing to do is to keep your hopes up. A championship is long and your coach will surely need everyone's help. Keep this in mind and rest assured that you will have an opportunity to show your worth. Try not to let your frustration get the best of you so that you have a better chance of being called up. Blaming your coach and complaining that they made a mistake won't get you anywhere. In most cases, they make decisions for the good of the team and feel no ill will towards you.
So it's your job to figure out why you're not starting. It's important to be self-aware in the most neutral, objective way. If necessary, try having a discussion with your coach so that they can help identify any shortcomings that you have to overcome. Once you know which areas you need to improve, there's only one thing to do: get to work.
You have to focus on yourself, without obsessing over your competition. Have fun during training and try to improve your performance without analysing every move the starting player in your position makes. This is the basis of healthy competition in which you can work peacefully and feel excited to train.
If you want to make an impact, you have to work hard and persevere. Playing time isn't just going to fall into your lap! Set all emotions aside and give 100% during training to become the absolute best. You can even focus on the areas that will earn you a replacement position, without neglecting your best skills of course. One thing is for sure: you need to be in your best shape! When you go into the game, you need to be in excellent physical shape. That's how you start toppling the hierarchy. You may be the best technically, but if you can't keep up, your contribution will be limited.
To get a starting position, you will have to seize every opportunity presented to you during matches. Even if it's only for a few minutes, make sure you make the most out of the time you spend on the field. You don't necessarily have to make a huge impact or bring home the victory for your team, but let your coach see how much you want it. Your confidence in your position and your drive should be beyond reproach. The rest will come naturally: with a bit of luck, your fresh outlook and technical skills will help your team get the upper hand at the end of the match!
This is when you'll start getting more and more playing time and become essential in the eyes of your team and, most importantly, your coach! So now it's up to you to show your chops and take on the hardest position: a starting position.