Full-time football academies and high-level teams that train every day are not very flexible with time, so if you’re not in one, you have the freedom to decide when and where you want to train.

It’s cool to have this freedom, however, if you’re serious about getting better that means that whatever you do in your time requires a certain skill which is not easy to master.

This is not about a fancy trick or move and it has absolutely nothing to do with your physical ability however, this one skill is absolutely vital to your success on and off the field. It will either make or break you.

This skill is called discipline and it’s possessed by every good football player and athlete.

Great players need discipline to learn skills. They require discipline to put in the time and preparation to get the best performance. By being disciplined, they understand what it takes to excel and they see the improvement in their performance. Great players understand that without discipline, they will not experience the joy of victory.

Discipline for soccer begins when you make the commitment to training and improving yourself. That means that when you create a soccer training schedule, no matter if you feel tired, lazy or it’s raining or cold outside, you have to make the personal choice that you will DO IT.

When I decided to train 20 hours a week, I would start every Monday by making a promise to myself. I wrote on a note that I would promise to complete all of my training hours and hung the paper on the wall. If I didn’t complete it, that meant none of my favourite chilling activities (FIFA and TV) the next week OR, I would have to train even more hours the following week.

Example 1: ’Agreement With Myself’

Example 2: ‘Agreement With Myself’


So if I missed two hours of training in the week, I’d add on an additional six hours the next week. Hence, there was a couple of times I missed so many hours that I grudged out 40 hours in the week that followed.

What I did might sound stupid or ridiculous, but it’s the small things which make the greatest players. If you have the will and desire to never break your promises, you can achieve things greater than you ever thought possible. Without an ‘agreement to myself’, I probably would never have trained more than 5-6 hours a week. But with one, I get completely focused to train and am hell bent on never letting myself down. Just this one small thing is what I owe to improving so quickly and ultimately how I got good enough to play professionally.

Signing promises to yourself like this is super easy, but it’s hard to follow. One thing is clear – having a self discipline system like this in your life will dramatically change how much you achieve in your life. So what will be your next agreement with yourself?

Nick Humphries, 25, is a footballer who played in England (Wimbledon), Scotland (Montrose), Holland (Volendam), Hungary (Vasas) as well as with the Australian U20 national team. At 16 years of age, he was just an average amateur player with limited skills. Only one year later he was offered $120k+ in scholarships. Two years later he received a contract to play professionally in Europe. How did he get better? He trained in his own way! Learn more about the training program he’s creating to help players improve on their own terms.