Mario Gómez is the latest guest welcomed onto the Mind Set Win podcast and the theme of the episode hosted by Kate Courtney is a relatable one – self-efficacy.
Defined as an individual's belief in their ability to achieve a goal, self-efficacy is a crucial aspect of our mental approach to daily situations, such as facing new challenges, dealing with failures, meeting new people or applying for new opportunities.
For Gómez, it was trying to score goals in front of packed football stadiums and his personal insight is enlightening. That's due to the fact that despite finding the net more than 200 times and winning multiple trophies during his playing career for club and country, he experienced many “up and down” periods where his mental strength was put to the test.
Now the technical director at Red Bull Soccer after retiring from playing in 2020, the German is still challenging himself daily at the forefront of the game.
Listen to the podcast in full and discover Courtney's practical exercise aimed at helping everyone develop and maintain their self-efficacy.
Read on to learn some of the highlights from Gómez’s appearance on Mind Set Win.
Mistakes are a part of life
Gómez recounts vividly the very moment he first experienced doubts on the football pitch. After being “everyone’s darling” during the early part of his career, it all changed during a crucial Euro 2008 match against Austria when the then-22-year-old missed an open goal from a metre away.
“The ball went up to the sky. I was just shocked," he remembers. "I could not move anymore. I was like, ‘what's happening here’? I could not handle this situation. Then if I had a national team game, the whole stadium was against me.”
In just one second, Gómez had suffered a setback that would take all his levels of self-belief to recover from.
My sport life showed me that after rain, there's always sunshine
Focus on yourself, not public opinion
Over the next 12 months, Gómez tried to change his style of play because he wanted to win back the love of the fans. However, in the process, he moved away from one of the talents that had made him so successful - finding space inside the penalty box.
It was only when he returned to his own path that he had one of the best seasons of his career for Bayern Munich, scoring 28 goals to finish as the top striker in the 2010/11 Bundesliga.
Gómez said: “I just told myself, ‘I don’t care about what people are thinking anymore,’ and it was not a moment, it took weeks or months to realise this, and I just started following my own way.”
The next chance will always come
“My sport life showed me that after rain, there's always sunshine," Gómez tells Courtney on Mind Set Win. "So if you believe in this, and I believe in this, I could always manage the situation because I knew the next chance will be there.”
Over the course of his career Gómez developed the self-efficacy to know that even if he missed a big chance during a match, he would always be ready for when the next one materialised.
It was this positive mindset that propelled him to be one of the most respected forwards in European football.
Don’t fear big goals
In a moment that Gómez reveals changed his career, he was left out of the squad for Germany’s World Cup triumph in 2014 after suffering persistent knee injuries. Instead of being despondent and giving up on representing his country again, he had the self-belief to take action.
Gómez moved to Besiktas in Turkey and his 26 league goals fired them to a first Süper Lig title in seven years. A phone call from his national team manager soon followed.
“At the end, I played nearly 80 games for Germany, and had many years and tournaments. The comeback was one of the biggest successes in my career.”
Find out more – including simple exercises to do at home – in Mind Set Win.