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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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THE REAL HIDDEN REASON MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVES IN FOOTBALL FAIL

Let’s first acknowledge that mental health issues are growing in professional football. We have to acknowledge this, because that’s the reality.

The Duke of Cambridge has an initiative, the FA have an initiative, just to name two and there are countless other sporting bodies trying to tackle the issue.

I’ve spoken to many football players in depth about their own issues and issues others have faced and there is a common theme as to why players are struggling more.

Let’s get straight into what I’ve heard from players…

A player is less likely to open up to their club, or someone associated with the club through fear of being ridiculed, exposed or tainted.

A player is less likely to open up to the FA because of the alleged incident with Mike Phenix (This came from a player that knew what happened)

Some Managers exploit players and manipulate their situation. Trust is lost in a moment!

Some players take the word of some people, but these people only have £ signs in their eyes and use the players as pawns

“I FOUND OUT THEY HAD TOLD THE TEAM NOT TO PLAY ME SO MY VALUE WOULD DECREASE!”

With all this bullshit going on, is it a surprise players are struggling?

So why do the initiatives largely fail?

The initiatives tick a box. They promote talking about the issues, yet when it comes to addressing the reasons, the real reasons are largely avoided.

Perhaps these organisations don’t know how to listen in the right way, perhaps they don’t want to rock the boat or perhaps, launching an initiative encouraging players to talk is enough for them?

Remember, I’ve spoken with players that have opened up their thoughts to me.

They have told me stories that would make a great story line for a Hollywood film!

The solution is simple, in my eyes at least.

Firstly understand each player is unique.

There is no one size fits all approach

Any player that’s struggling needs to encouraged to talk without the fear of being judged, criticised or made to feel useless. They need to be allowed to just….talk

The listener must be trained to actively listen, to listen without presuppositions and expectations. The listener must UNDERSTAND the tone of the voice, the unique way the player puts the sentence together and the specific words and phrases the player uses to verbalise their issues.

The listener must know how to help the player reframe their thinking; to look at the situation from a new perspective and allow the player to uncover their own solutions for when a player uncovers their own solution, the path to leaving issues behind suddenly feels easier.

The listener must ask questions that may seem strange, yet at the same time, creates a new thought process for the player.

The listener must be fully engaged without distraction, both internally and externally.

The listener must be discreet, demonstrate confidentiality and not be shared with any media outlet or social media outlet.

There must be an exchange of value for when there is an exchange of value, there is a sense of responsibility. Just as you pay a sports physio to sort out your body, you must pay a coach, to sort out your mental health.

This exchange promotes a sense of ownership and a duty to make change for the better.

There must be an acceptance of their current reality for when this is accepted, you have the truth and only when you have the truth can you begin to explore real solutions

You have to identify your vision with clarity. There has to be an end goal, a purpose of leaving negative mental health behind.

Then you explore solutions. You pick, prod and probe all possible options including the option that many feel are out of bounds, because they are only out for themselves. One such option would be to walk away from the game.

And finally you implement action.

This is how a mental health initiative should work if you want to get real results.

If this resonates with you, then please comment, like and share with someone you feel may help.

I’m leading this initiative and I need your help. If you really want to make a difference in football and create something unique for the players and those up and coming players, I want to hear from you.

There is so much more to this in my bigger plans and I want to share with people who can help create change and disrupt the norm

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Kobe Bryant – The loss of a champion

“who’s this cocky kid who wants to be like Jordan?”

This was my first thought when I first saw kobe play.

Jordan was my idol. He was the one that set the standard. Now this kid comes along copying his every move.

Put him in his place MJ!

But kobe was tenacious!

He wasn’t backing down!

If anything he was getting better and he was seemingly doing anything possible to be the best!

He teamed up with Shaq and won three NBA titles before their relationship turned sour.

Kobe went on to win two more without the big fella.

Just before I carry on I have to remind myself to be mindful…

Being mindful, this blog could easily turn into an MJ / Kobe comparison, I remind myself to focus on the purpose of this post which is to celebrate kobe after learning of his tragic death just yesterday. There have been plenty of comparisons and now isn’t the time.

I never met kobe but at the 2012 Olympics in London I was privileged to be sitting courtside as a Games Maker, absorbing his aura and watching his every move in the final versus Spain.

I analysed and watched intently as he weaved, cut, jumped and shot and helped his team to the gold medal.

There were moments, I appreciated like his uncanny ability to know what to do just at the right time.

He knew when he had to control that moment and give his team the best chance of winning.

It was this emotional intelligence that set him aside from others. It was this I came to respect.

I watched his final game on TV, the kobe show, and saw how much love he had from within the basketball community.

His competitive nature was on full view as he willed his team to victory with 60 points.

In retirement he won a Oscar for his animated short film, Dear Basketball, showing he was much more than a player.

He was engaging in the community and giving back to the game. 
He was embracing retirement from playing.

Then it happened

Not only has the game lost an ambassador for the game of basketball, but the world has a lost a decent human being. His 13 year old daughter was with him at the time and I can only hope they embraced with a deep love and understanding at the moment.

What now?

I’m still trying to come to terms with this loss and how it affects me as a person, as a player, a coach, a father…

The world still moves, basketball will still be played and there will be much love poured from the souls of those who knew of kobe.

His legacy firmly established in the basketball community, we all have our memories of this amazing player and person.

He was a true champion in the strongest sense of the word.

My head is full of swirling images and mini movies of his past. My inner voice is asking lots of questions I can’t possibly answer and my stomach has a knot that aches and this, about 24 hours after the event, is how I deal with the loss.

I can’t bring myself to watch highlights of his stellar career yet because it feels too soon, yet I do know the time will come when I allow myself to enjoy the moments this champion brought to us all.

Rest In Peace Black Mamba. 

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Struggling professional football players need to remove this phrase from their thoughts…

When was the last time you heard the phrase “What if…?”

It’s a phrase I use very selectively and only when I’m coaching and for very good reason.

If you’re a struggling professional football player and you find yourself asking the question “what if?” it’s time to reframe your thinking for your own benefit.

Why do I use this term selectively?

The term suggests there is another alternative to what actually happened.

Almost offering a get out clause from the reality by imagining how different things would have been…

“What if I had made that decision instead of the one I made?”

“What if the manager had just given me a chance?”

“What if I hadn’t been send off for that stupid foul?”

“What if my mind was clear, rather than clouded when I made that decision?”

“What if I had a better agent?”

“What if I had scored that goal?”

“What if…?

Many people get hung up on What If and get stuck in the past and blame themselves for those silly decision made in the past and allow the past to affect their decisions in the moment.

They struggle to move on from the past and that affects their mental state, performance and life off the pitch.

Here’s the thing…

We can’t change the past

The future has yet to happen

Yet so many people choose to live in the past or think too much about what may happen.

So our reality and the thing we can control and influence is what’s happening right now in the moment.

Some people call it being mindful, some call it living in the moment, I say it’s keeping it real.

Reality is our only way to improve quickly when things go wrong. Reality is our only way to adjust and choose to make different choices next time. Reality is our lives as we live right now. It’s how we feel, see and hear.

“Reality is where we live”

Allow me to coach and ask this question…

What if there was a way for a struggling football player to reach out in total confidence, to a neutral person, and find the right solutions in their times of need?

What if there was a way to quickly turn your fortunes around, whether it be to get out of a scoring drought, to be a better defender or even improve your life off the pitch?

Would you access that service?

The good news is this – it does exist. I’ve created it.

I created it because mental health issues are on the rise in professional football and 40% of footballers go broke after five years of retiring!

But I’m also aware because this is a new service, there is apprehension, uncertainty and doubt in people’s minds.

So what if there was a way to remove that apprehension, uncertainty and doubt because as much as you want things to change, you don’t want to be made a fool.

What if you could contact me, find out more and discover how to make those changes quickly?

There’s one way to find out….

Get in touch and let’s talk.

07946279135

Take it easy

Mike

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The hard truth about the business of football

Players and coaches are assets

When a team is losing, the assets lose value

The assets are then considered for a trade, replaced or let go

The marketplace is saturated with players so its a case of survival of the fittest

So what happens to those ‘losers’

We know 40% of players go bankrupt five years after leaving the game

We know mental health issues are on the increase

Relegation

Loss of kudos
Loss of income
Loss of identity

Over the couple years or so I’ve spoken with people in the industry including players and leaders and realised something isn’t right, so I created a service for players and coaches that improves performance which in turn improves value.

But the service also tackles the issues I mentioned above from a new, fresh perspective.

I’m open to conversations with team owners, players and coaches around improving value and performance.

If you don’t like losing
If you want to remove frustrations
If you want your fortunes to change there is one thing you have to do…

Get in touch and let’s chat.

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What is Mental Health and what can I do about it?

Embrace Mental Health!

Learn you can do something if you are suffering from low mental health

And you can help someone easily

#tellmewhatsgoingoninyourhead

Just watch this video now

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Take these three steps towards a healthier mind and body

Mental health issues are rising!

Physical health issues are rising!

Resilience and ability to overcome challenges are falling!

What’s going on?

Why are people struggling more with life than they were a few years ago?

Is the introduction of social media a cause?

Are poor eating habits to blame?

Is lack of exercise a problem?

I could share statistics and graphs to show you an increase in issues but instead I want you to look around you and listen to conversations around you, in work, in your social circles and in public.

Just today, I overheard people talking about leaving their jobs due to added stress coming from senior management.

I saw a mother stressed out with her young child in the supermarket and have had open conversations with people who openly spoke about their anxiety.

The NHS is struggling, creaking under the pressure of people being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, waiting times are on the increase and just a few weeks ago, targets were not being met.

“Something different needs to be done!”

I believe us humans have an inner strength many of us don’t realise we have.

But rather than focus on drawing out and nurturing that inner strength, that self-compassion and ability to look after our bodies and minds, we allow other insignificant people and situations drag us down.

We fail to give ourselves permission to say no!

We fail to give ourselves permission to say enough is enough!

Let me ask you this – Whatever is bothering you right now, are you willing to do something about it or are you tolerating it to keep the peace?

Has something been bothering you for that long, you know you’ve changed as a person but you believe a sign of strength is to get through adversity?

Fuck that!

You only have one life!

Doing something about it is a sign of strength and courage.

You only get one go at this life so if something is bothering you or you’ve been tolerating something for so long, it’s time to do things differently.

I was speaking with a friend earlier who suffers from nerves during her driving lessons. She’s had many lessons with the same instructor and feels she’s hit a wall. She felt stuck and thinks her nerves are stopping her from feeling ready to be put in for her test.

But here’s the weird thing.

When she consciously gave herself permission to think about changing instructors, she suddenly relaxed and had the best lesson ever!

Even her instructor said so!

Allowing herself to consider a new perspective, changed her mindset and therefore thinking which led to an improved behaviour.

Imagine you’re working in a job you tolerate, perhaps hate, and you’re tolerating it. You’re frustrated but you need to pay the bills. So you crack on but look for jobs.

Then you get offered a job!

That sense of relief can be an amazing feeling and can relax the mind in an instance, just be hearing the words “We’d like to offer you the job”

We have the power within us to change the internal dialogue that allows us to move forward and change for the better.

But very few people know how.

Professional sports men and women feel they have to tolerate situations because getting paid to play sports is all they know; especially footballers and because it’s so competitive, those who are suffering are fearful of opening up or talking about it in case they lose their place in the team or are ridiculed.

So they find themselves in a downward spiral, gambling, staying in their rooms during the day with the curtains closed and even worse…

I want to share with you three tips that can help you improve your situation right now…

  • Ask yourself “What do I want my ideal situation to be?”
  • Then ask “What can I let go of, or introduce to my life to take one step towards that ideal situation?”
  • And finally “When will I let go or introduce that thing to allow myself to take one step towards my ideal situation?”

One step…

One step…

One step…

Please comment with your thoughts and share this blog with your network as you may just help one person out today.

If you want help and advice #tellmewhatsgoingoninyourhead

Take it easy

Mike

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#tellmewhatsgoingoninyourhead

How Do you Tackle Mental Health?

What Is Mental Health?

The thing is, we all experience mental health, just as we do physical health

We need to embrace Mental Health

Learn to do things differently when you are low

Celebrate the good times

Appreciate when you’re balanced

When Mental Health is low in others

Offer to listen and ask the question

“Tell me what’s going on in your head”

You don’t need to be qualified to help, just listen without judgement

When you have low mental health

Be Accountable

Know you have a choice…

To speak to someone who will listen without judgement

Please share, comment and use the Hashtag below

#tellmewhatsgoingoninyourhead

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What is it I do and how can this add value to you?

What is it I do and how can this add value to you?

I learned, to be great at something, it helps to be passionate about it.

In your line of work, you’ll be passionate or at least have a vested interest in what you do. If you don’t, I’d suggest thinking about changing your career!

It is this change that I’m at now.  My day job no longer inspires me nor does it satisfy my passions so I’m rebranding myself and allowing my passions and skills and training to be available for others for one to one discreet coaching and workshops on a more consistent basis.

In the evenings and weekends I put my energy into my passions.  Talking and sharing ideas around improving sports performance for individuals and teams.

The mind has fascinated me for some years now and in the last 9 years I’ve helped athletes and regular people overcome anxiety, improve performance quickly and reframe their perceptions for improved outcomes.

With that in mind, please allow me to share three very powerful lessons that can help you, if you are an individual or team in sports

Distractions come in various guises.  These distractions affect performance.

Your reality is only your perception of information of what you think is important at that specific moment in time.

When you shift your perception, performance and outcomes can quickly improve

I see many people struggling about their reality but not taking action.  I know why they don’t take action.  People don’t take action for various reasons including:-
* Lack of confidence
* Lack of understanding
* Enjoying the comforts too much
* Failing to realise their potential
* Fear of failure
* Fear of letting others down
* Uncertainty around change
* Limited beliefs…
If what I’ve written above intrigues you and you’ve thought about improving your reality, know I am actively looking to offer my skills to you.

Get in touch by messeging me and let’s have a chat.

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A MUST READ FOR FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND COACHES BEFORE THE JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW CLOSES

When a team is looking for improvements, either financially or on the field, logic says transfer for a better player is the right move to go.

And in most cases this works out OK but there are some that went horribly wrong

Sol Campbell on his move to Notts County in 2009 and making only one appearance said “The only thing I’m guilty of is taking people at their word” even though he had big dreams

Manchester United paid £10 million to Crystal Palace for Wilfried Zaha with an extra £5 million to be paid if the move was successful! It wasn’t!

These players were good, if not great at their former clubs but that doesn’t always equate to success in another place so I’d like to suggest the following, before a decision is made.

When anyone moves to a new situation, there is a period of figuring things out. Each player has their personalities, beliefs, values and expectations and if any of these aren’t being met in the new environment, their performance on the pitch is going to suffer.

Imagine an introverted player coming to a new team. A quiet player but with plenty of skill and ability. Should this player be exposed to situations against his personality, there is a strong likelihood his performance will drop and the transfer be a bust.

The value of the transfer will only be judged on the performance on the field, which is influenced by the player’s life off the field.

Think about it – 90 minutes a game, perhaps two games per week and up to five hours training a day over three days – that’s around 18 hours playing football a week. What will they be doing for the other 150 hours?

There’s a lot of time to fill and if that time isn’t filled with supportive, nurturing and relaxing times, the player can be distracted by negativity and thoughts that are detrimental to their performance and mental health. The player may think the worse.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote by Einstein that goes

“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish in its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing it is stupid”

Some players get put in the wrong environment for them to thrive.

Perhaps clubs and players can spend more time forming a strategy to figure out the player’s expectations, beliefs and values, rather than just focus on the business side of the game?

Do you know a player that was a bust?

I welcome your thoughts and ideas and invite coaches to get in touch