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The essence of Football Psychology: “Prevention is better than cure"​

The end of a football season always creates extra psychological demand. This period is also known as 'the run-in'.

Here, teams are chasing trophies, fighting promotion or trying to avoid relegation. These situations cause huge levels of stress and strain on everyone concerned. In this context, my role is to help people understand the impact of the run-in on the choices they make. In most cases, the presenting issue is never the real issue. Giving people time and space to process what is happening is key. Even better is helping teams to be more open and share their thoughts with each other.

Open conversations lead to a significant reduction in stress and indifference between people. Creating more daily opportunities to talk enables managers and players to feel happier. Players and staff should take more care on how they interact with each other. They should focus on aligning their standards and values. This will ensure greater cohesion and preparation for the run-in. If the conversations start when a problem arises it may be too late.

I would like to invite Clubs to pay extra attention to building mindset capability. A player's mindset development should be like their technical and physical work. The technical and physical conditioning of a player is overseen by full-time staff.

Unfortunately, the mindset development of players doesn’t get the same level support. Mindset training is a neglected area in football. Fear and conflict need understanding before they become destabilising issues within the team.

Getting all players and staff on-the-same-page prevents issues festering across the season. Such synergy increases a player’s freedom. This results in greater speed of decision making. It also promotes greater togetherness. Processing quicker decisions along with higher unity generates excellent on-pitch solutions. So, a greater emphasis on preventing poor ways of thinking is vital. As a result, the essence of football psychology should be prevention is better than cure”.

Imagine a world where the mindset training occurred on a day-to-day basis? How much more alignmentwould there be between the manager, players, coaches and staff? There would be less conflict and more harmony across the squad and with the manager. Airing difficult issues between players and staff will ensure greater clarity. Such a process embraces respect and all perspectives and opinions. This will build more accountability, resilience and better results across the Club. It will also create a healthier environment for players to thrive and grow as people.

Please find a recent interview that took place on Thursday 5th May 2022 live on TalkSport – Hawksbee and Jacobs Show. Let me know what you think?


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