In the last 20 years, mental coaching has had a huge impact in the sport world. The sport psychologist or mental coach became an important part of the coaching process.
We heard many stories in the newspapers and on TV about athletes going over their limits and achieving great results using mental coaching tools like -psychology, hypnosis, mental rehearsal also called visualization or imagery.
In the football/soccer world, the word psychology, psychologist, mental coaching or mental health was a TABU subject and it has been associated with mental-health issues. Most of the football clubs are not making public details about their work with the sport psychologists because they are afraid that the fans and society will think that their players have mental health issues. The footballers are not talking about their problems with the mental coach or psychologist because they are afraid to be dropped out of the team, affect their future and public image.
In the last 10 years, football industry started to embrace psychology when nothing else is left to be used. The managers, coaches, club officials and fans can’t understand what mental training has to do with scoring goals or winning games. Managers, coaches, club officials and fans believe that money is the best motivation. Before important games, bonuses are promised to motivate the players, but in 50% of the situations this kind of motivation do not always work. Most of the coaches are good psychologists, even if they are not aware of this aspect.
From my own experience, I can tell you, after discussing with a lot of players, coaches and people involved in football that the mental coaching is still an unknown and ignored subject. The modern football has become a very complicated game. These days the football means business and money is not a simple game any more. The players are training 5-6 hours a day and play very often two games a week in different competitions. The pressure on the players it is very high. Let’s not forget that they have also families and private life. Another problem the footballers are facing is to accommodate with the new club, division or country.
Moving from a small club to a big one or from one country to another is a lifetime change. The player must change almost everything in a very short time, from lifestyle to even the position they play. The pressure is huge, the expectations are big and a half of them can’t cope with the stress very easily and struggle months or years to accommodate. We hear every season about clubs paying large amount of money for top class players that are not able to accommodate with the playing system, the weather, the country and many other factors that are stopping them perform to the best of their abilities. We may think that the player is too good to sit on the bench and we can’t understand how he scored 20 goals for his last club and now he is not even in the first 11.
What is wrong?
Why the players are not meeting the expectations?
The players receive proper training, have the best training facilities, good wages, the best medical treatment and accommodation. All these factors enumerated before should help them to perform better but they don’t.
Something is missing?
Yes, the mental strength and toughness or mind management.
Mental strength and toughness can be achieved through mental coaching with the help of a psychologist or a mental coach .The psychologist or mental coach can work with the footballers in order to find out the mental factors that are influencing their inability to perform better. You can’t achieve these skills over night .You need a lot of practice until became imprinted in your subconscious mind.
The footballers need confidence, concentration, control and commitment to perform at their best. When one of these mental skills is missing or not managed well the performance is affected .The vast majority of coaches, managers and players are focusing only on physical development and don’t give much attention to mental coaching aspect which is actually the most important factor.
Conclusion: Physical training, skill and genetics are very important, but the most important is our mind witch is coordinating all actions in our body.