THE REAL REASON WHY PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYERS SUFFER FROM NEGATIVE MENTAL HEALTH

Lack of honest communication between some managers and players

Dishonest communication between clubs and players

Poor management

Distractions off the field (You know what I’m talking about!)

Social Media attacks

Racism

A feeling of low self-esteem

Not enough praise

Too much criticism

Inability to express thoughts

Fear

Guilt

Lack of integrity…

I could go on but I’ve made my point.

Although this list isn’t exhausted, this is what I’ve found when speaking to former and some current players.

So why do players tolerate this negativity?

Let me tell you

Playing professional football is their livelihood. It’s their identity, in some cases it’s all they know.

So the thought of losing their livelihood, identity and only way of knowing how to live, would be more devastating than tolerating the list above.

Tolerating the above can seem the easier option and sometimes there’s a sense of “I’m a professional football player and these things should be tolerated”

Yet so many players do suffer from negative mental health because the choice to walk away is almost impossible for them so they tolerate up to a point before the cracks begin to show.

And when a player is showing cracks, rather than the club spending money and time into helping them, they put them to one side and look to replace that player as quick as possible.

They are now damaged.

The asset turns into a liability and in the quest to win, they dispense of the liability as quick as possible.

This is the state of football today.

This is what actually happens in some cases.

The thing is I understand why this happens.

Clubs want to win, they want the best players and there’s such a diverse market of players out there, any player can be replaced should they not be performing.

But I have a question.

When a player is struggling, rather than cast him aside and spend millions on a transfer or even selling the player as a liability, losing money and time in that quest to be a winner, what if there was a way to improve that player quickly and at least retain their value?


Einstein once said

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”.

All players have the potential to be genius’s with the right surroundings and support yet I believe many players are fish in a tree, put there, under false pretences.

I’m sure you can think of at least one player that’s played well for one club, yet as soon as they move to another club, they have played crap?

An article by Jamie Spencer that you can find here lists the worse 27 signings in the last few years.

Here are three that really interest me:-

Andy Carroll (Liverpool) – Liverpool had already broken their transfer record on winter deadline day in 2011 to buy £23m Luis Suarez from Ajax, but smashed it to pieces mere hours later to land Newcastle striker Andy Carroll for £35m.

The Geordie target man had only 18 months of regular first-team football under his belt at that time and represented a huge panic buy for the Reds. Carroll scored four Premier League during his only full season and was eventually sold to West Ham in 2013 for a £20m loss.


Angel Di Maria (Man Utd) – Angel Di Maria wasn’t the only one at fault for his dismal season at Manchester United in 2014/15. He was played out of position and often restricted by manager Louis van Gaal, while an attempted break-in at his house irreparably unsettled the Argentine and his family.

United fans thought they were getting a superstar when the £59.7m deal was completed as Di Maria had been named Man of the Match in the Champions League final for Real Madrid only a few months early. But after a strong start, he never looked prepared to put any effort in.


Winston Bogarde (Chelsea) – Winston Bogarde’s four-year spell at Chelsea is infamous because the Dutchman, who had previously won the Champions League with Ajax and played for Barcelona, spent most of his time at the club simply training and collecting lucrative wages, without actually playing.

Claudio Ranieri had been hired shortly after Bogarde’s arrival and didn’t want him. But the defender had signed a contract worth €15m over four years and didn’t believe he could earn as good a salary anywhere else. So he stuck around until 2004 to take every penny he was owed.


Let’s look at some contributing factors to these failures:-

  • Panic buying
  • £20 million loss
  • Played out of position
  • Restricted playing time
  • Previous man of the match in the champions league final but never looked prepared to put effort in
  • Never played a game

These decisions are not only stupid, but a waste of resources, money, time, and human effort.

In the quest to win, the people who make these decisions are blinded from making purposeful decisions and end up making stupid ones!


Winning clearly isn’t about panic buying, playing someone out of position or limiting someone’s minutes.

Winning is about having a clear vision and sticking to it.

So how about this for a radical idea –

Firstly establish your culture

Secondly find players that match your culture and support them through thick and thin to build trust and familiarity which in turn breeds a winning attitude

Thirdly don’t have your hand forced by others you want to please

The simple rule is this

“Treat your players well and good things will happen”

Players are not robots

They are not gambling chips to be used on a whim

Players will be at their best when they feel valued and understood

Players need support in tough times

The manager that understands this will do well

The players that play within this culture will perform well

The club will begin to win

If you are a #premierleague #footballer or a #championship player and you feel like a fish out of water, I need to speak with you.

I can help

If you are a manager with a player that isn’t performing as expected, I need to speak with you.

I can help

Now at this point, I’m sure you are creating excuses in your thoughts not to get in touch and if you are having those thoughts, let me ask you one simple question

If the solution to your problems exists, but you can’t accept the solution because you’re stuck in your ways, would you be willing to spend ten minutes listening to a new perspective that will help you believe the solution is right for you?


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