There is a Change Happening in Football
Right now I’m starting to see a huge shift in footballers approach to the game.
This shift is happening at all levels, but it’s most recognisable with the players at the very elite level..
The change is how seriously football players are taking the mental side of their game. Whether you refer to it as your mentality, your psychology, your resilience or something else, there is certainly a bigger awareness now of how this can improve players of all abilities.
I have 2 sides to my own practice. As a Mental Performance Consultant I would love to be able to work with footballers of all levels. I would also love to be able to work with every player who wanted to work on their mental game.
However, I simply cannot. I just do not have the time or the resources to do this.
There just is not enough time in the day.
Resources for all Football Player of All Levels
My 1-2-1 work as a Mental Performance Consultant for Premier Lea
gue players and Championship players has grown massively. I even
have a waiting list now for new players.
As many players know I also have a mindset app for footballers to work on their mental performance. This football mindset app has seen an increase of about 800% in the past 6 months.
Finally I’m seeing a massive increase across the board of players at EVERY level, treating their brain, their soccer psychology with increased focus and awareness.
However…. is hasn’t always been like this.
Footballers Didn’t Take Their Mental Game Seriously
The focus on the mindset or the psychology of a football player and the importance of it has been within football for well over a decade.
However, why is it only now that most players are realising how MASSIVELY important this is for their game, their life and their careers?
Is it the fault of the Football Players Themselves?
I certainly don’t think it’s the fault of the players.
if you don’t realise the importance of something why would you give it the time of day? Players have not been made aware of just how vital mental performance is to their game.
They see that they could be working on their skills, their technique, and other areas that they absolutely know are going to make a difference to their game.
If they realised that their brain was their most important tool, they’d have been spending so much more time working on it.
Subsequently they would have then seen the brillinat results that this would have had on their game.
However, that awareness of their mental game and what the change in their mindset could have brought to them just simply has not been there. So it is not their fault for not taking this part of their football seriously.hey haven’t been aware of this.
Is it the Fault of the Football Clubs?
What about the clubs? Is it their fault that there has not been the emphasis on the brain and psychology in football?
Again, I don’t think its the fault of the clubs either. Yes, they should have been more open minded and not so stuck in their old ways of doing things.
They should also have invested more time into exploring the potential of this area, rather than just paying lip service to it.
However, when you’re led to believe it’s just a very small part of the game and everything else is more important, why would you invest this time.
This is Who Should Have Made Sure a Players Psychology Was Foremost in the Eyes of Players & Clubs
For me, the issue lies squarely on the shoulders of those that have brought this into football and vastly undersold the importance of it.
Not because they didn’t talk about how important it is. It’s because they didn’t get their messages across how they should have.
I do want to be clear that I’m not calling everyone out over this.
There are some great practitioners out there, but even the English FA have fallen down here… and I’ll come on to that in just a moment.
A Big Problem is the Words We Use to Describe the Brain in Football
What is this part of your game? Is it your mindset? Is it your psychology? Is it your mental resilience?
All of these words and how we use them within football point to it being a minor point in your game.
If I said to you what percentage of importance to your game and your training would you attribute to mindset? What would you say?
What if I said the same about psychology? Or Mental resilience?
If you’re into this area and believe its helpful to your game, you are likely going to give it a fairly high number.
Likewise if you are not, you are going to score this low.
However, here is the thing. Even these terms are confusing. Mindset… Resiliance… psychology… What are they? What do we mean by them?
… and this is one of the big reasons why I believe that my work has become so successful.
Everything I do comes back to a simplified model of how your brain works. How to get the very best out of your brain…
Not your resiliance, not your mindset…. not your psychology….. your brain….
Now, whether you are into this side of the game or not.
Let me ask you same question as I asked for resiliance, mindset and psychology.
What % of importance to your game and your training would you attribute to your brain?
Not your THINKING…. your actual Brain.
Now most people, no matter how serious they take the mental side of their game, are going to know that this brain of ours is everything… it controls EVERYTHING.
And what I do gets the best parts of the brain in control…. it takes you away from the parts of the brain that cause poor performances, poor confidence, slow development and practically everything else…. because after all it’s your brain… and your brain controls EVERYTHING. All of your life and all of your football.
Which brings me on to the English FA…. and more importantly the 4 corners model brought to us by the English FA.
This is the 4 corners model that the FA use as player development.
Technical… Psychological… Physical… and social…
And I’ve spoken with a LOT of coaches that are expected to implement this to assist their players getting better.
And practically all of them say that they get very little support with the psychological side. They aren’t given the same training and they certainly don’t have the same tools in the locker for this as they do for the other 3.
They point to the model and say that despite it being the same size on the model, its actually minuscule in the focus its given in comparison…
But I’d go even further with the issues with that.
Even if it was given the same emphasis, we are still focusing on ‘psychological’… and we are still focusing on it being a part… of development… when actually its everything here.
Take Technical… The brain is responsible for all of this. If you have the right parts of the brain in control what you’ve learnt is going to come out as best as it possibly can. You’ll play to your absolute best ability. You’ll also learn faster and more effectively. If you have the wrong parts of your brain in control it’s going to bring all of this technical ability crashing down and you won’t play anywhere near to your ability… and likewise you’ll be slowing your progress and your development…
And then onto Physical…. your co-ordination… your conditioning…. all of this is a shadow of your capabilities if you have the wrong parts of your brain in control. However, have the right parts in control and not only are you maximising your abilities here, but you are also maximising your progress and your improvement.
And even the social side. The advanced human brain is all about teamwork and communication when its thriving with the best parts in control. It’s full of self confidence and full of self belief when it’s in control.
… and likewise… once again… when the wrong part is on control… we lose self esteem… our communication is angry, irritable or sometimes non existent.
So once again… even the official models that are used by the English FA are not only not giving the brain, the EMPHASIS it deserves, but it is also disguising just how important it is to EVERYTHING that a player does.
How when we get this right we fly! When we get it wrong it pulls EVERYTHING down.
For me… what I do was a battle at the beginning. Not only did I need to educate players that – with absolutely no exception – that this is THE most important thing for their life as a footballer and their life as a whole…. I also have had to battle against what has come before this. How we’ve made this side of the game a tiny, tiny thing… we’ve made it into a branch of the tree…. when in fact this IS the tree and everything else are the branches coming off of it.
As I’ve maintained from the very beginning. This will be the next big thing in football… and right now I can see more progress than ever before.