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7 reasons why professional footballers should consider investing in an independent coach

Professional football or Soccer if you’re a player from the USA, is much more than kicking a ball into a goal and you’ll know as a player reading this, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The reasons I’ll be mentioning are born from conversations I’ve had with former professional football players, articles I’ve read, experience and knowledge from the training and investment I’ve made in my self-development and some of the client experiences clients have shared with me, without mentioning any names.

Let’s consider 7 reasons why you should consider an independent coach

7. Uncertainty about your future

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Uncertainty in any situation can leave you feeling lost and this scenario is one that a client of mine found himself in and was doubting whether he should continue to play the beautiful game or not. His self-belief was at a low and didn’t know what to do or what to say.

We formed a strategy that allowed him to address what the uncertainty looked and felt like then created a plan to remove the uncertainty. Once it was dealt with, he moved forward with confidence and purpose. His self-belief was back again!

6. You’re in a slump

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You reached the professional level after dedication, commitment and hard work but something has changed and you find yourself in a slump and you’re being judged and criticised which isn’t fair because you have no idea why you’re in a slump. Here’s the thing; you haven’t suddenly lost your technical or physical ability, so what’s the problem?

When you communicate with others, you interpret body language and words in a way that makes sense to you at that moment in time and somewhere just before the slump, you’ve misinterpreted some words, tone of voice or body language that led you to think differently. When you think differently you behave differently so when you’re in a slump it’s because your thinking has changed, meaning your performance drops but this all happens subconsciously.

Some people will go out of their way to try to get in your head while others, may have good intentions but really don’t help at all. It’s important you understand, to get out of your slump you have the ability to change your thinking, to improve your performance.

Let’s say you’re a striker and haven’t hit the target for a while. The media will be on your back, your manager will be getting anxious, you’ll be getting anxious, tactics will change and you’ll practice shooting more than ever in training. All this can help but you must work with your thoughts before any of the above can have the impact needed to break out of the slump.

One professional sports person was in a slump. He didn’t know why but together we uncovered the source. He had misinterpreted a comment from his coach. In his head, he assumed the coach said something that contradicted his ability, which confused him, but because he respected his coach, he believed the instruction to be true and so changed his thinking. But because his new thinking was in conflict with his ability his emotions were all over the place so his performance took a dip.

This demonstrates how easily and quickly you can take a comment and interpret it in a way that’s detrimental to your performance. Let’s not let that happen to you.

5. Your livelihood depends on your performance

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Your ability to play football at a high level has attracted rewards such as a great salary and perhaps sponsorship deals. You have money! With money you can buy houses, cars, go on holidays, invest or do whatever you like with the money YOU’VE EARNED by kicking a ball about.

Imagine for a moment the ability to play football was taken away from you. Imagine you were no longer needed. What would you do? How would you make a living? Are you even thinking of what you’re going to do after football because the truth is, your time as a paid football player will come to an end and you must be prepared for when that day comes or you’ll end up scrimping and begging others for money just to pay the bills.

If your performance doesn’t improve, what’s the worse that can happen?

If you want to read how to motivate yourself take a read of this blog on how Michael Jordan motivates himself

4. Others will replace you in the blink of an eye

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Now you’ve had a thought about your livelihood, it’s also important you know, you can be replaced in the blink of an eye. You rarely know what deals are being talked about, how your manager perceives you as a piece in the jigsaw or which players they are looking at to replace you.

The relationship between player and manager is a strange one, considering the player and manager want to win yet communication is limited at best, with the odd exception (Klopp) but you can take control of that relationship by asking specific questions.

As a professional player, you have the ability to adapt and improve quickly, when you have a desire or need to improve, but how do you know what you need to adapt or improve? You can ask your manager a simple yet powerful question that will get you the answers

“What can I do differently to help the team?”

This is a powerful question for the following reasons

  • It let’s your manager know you care about the team and therefore him
  • It lets your manager know you have a commitment to helping the team improve and you’re not just looking out for yourself which can be perceived as selfish
  • Through asking this question, you’ll quickly build a new level of respect and trust with your manager, meaning he will look at you more favourably
  • You have a new purpose to strive towards meaning you’ll be energised and motivated in new ways
  • Your value will increase with an improved performance

3. You get the truth

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Sometimes the truth hurts, but would you rather have a moment of hurt or continue to live a lie?

Some people around you will speak highly of you, telling you how great you are in an attempt to not hurt your feelings, yet when you aren’t performing and you hear these positive comments, a false sense of security is created, meaning you’re prone and susceptible to being let down badly.

Only you know the truth but when the truth is masked by false comments, you can become lackadaisical and without a dose of truth, your performance will be in question and when performance is in question, so is your value and use for the team.

Independent coaching has no other agenda than to help you know it’s OK to accept your reality and remove the masks and false beliefs.

Some say it’s smart to hide the truth from you. I say it takes courage to accept your truth.

2. You can speak freely without being judged

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Many clubs have sports psychologists, player liaison officers and other support staff which is good on some levels, but there’s one big problem this environment creates.

One former premier league player I spoke to told me a horrific story of one player opening up to the psychologist in confidence. It was only when the manager mentioned the confidential topic in a meeting, did the player realise his trust had been broken. The other players lost their confidence in their manager and the team went into free fall. Can you imagine the pain, the frustrations and uncertainty within that club and within the players?

When you open up and share their deepest thoughts, there has to be confidentiality between you and the coach. An independent coach doesn’t have to report back to the manager or anyone else. A great independent coach, knows that trust and integrity are two of the most powerful acts a person can show another. This instils growth and improved performance.

1. When the person thrives, the player thrives

You are first and foremost a human and as a human your performance is driven by your thoughts.

Let me share a formula that you’ve probably never seen or heard yet is one you need to understand.

A thought leads to an emotion that ultimately affects your behaviour or performance. Remember earlier when you learned a slump is the effect of misinterpreting communication. You created a new thought, that led to an emotion, possibly confusion at the time, that led to a new behaviour, the slump.

For you to thrive, understanding this formula gives you a deep understanding of why you do what you do, why you say what you say and how you navigate the world of professional football and when professional football is great, you’ll be aligned in all aspects of your life.

But when there’s struggles, uncertainties and anxiety, you must learn to change things quickly before the worse happens.

A great independent coach will listen to you, understand you, create new thoughts with you and help you through challenging times while you reap the rewards on and off the field.

Bonus

If you’re thriving, then I congratulate you! You’ve got it figured out and I’m sure you feel balanced and able to navigate the world you live in with extreme confidence.

But if there’s at least one part of your life that you’re not happy with and want to improve, then talking with an independent coach could be the right move for you.

You can contact me in confidence by clicking here


Mike Nichols is an independent Master Coach specialising in discreet one-to-one coaching and is the owner of Elite Sports Minds 23, a high level, confidential coaching service for professional athletes

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#mental health

Comparing mental health with physical health – solutions

The Similarities

When comparing mental health and physical health its important to you that you understand the reality for many people in this world so you know what to do and what to say because this hard hitting blog will open your perspectives in new ways.

I’ll put to one side clinical mental and physical health because those issues deserve much more attention so this blog focuses on general mental and physical health.

Let’s look at the similarities

  • Everyone experiences physical and mental health
  • Both fluctuate depending on life choices
  • Both can improve
  • Both can decline
  • Both have support organisations offering help
  • Not everyone will experience negative mental and physical health
  • Some take both very seriously
  • Some live a life where both aren’t an issue
  • Some live a life where both are an issue
  • Both are the results of experiences and life choices

The Differences

  • You can see the results of one

We are quick to judge when we see others. It’s how we are programmed in our unconscious minds to keep the human race alive and so we judge people by their looks to help us connect and realise if that person is worthy of our time and attention.

We are social animals so we have to create judgements so we create a social circle that meets our beliefs and values so we fit in and have a support mechanism around us.

Looks Aren’t Everything

The world is full of people of all shapes and sizes and we are quick to judge their physical health based on what they look like.

We see all different types of body types, colours, shapes, heights and we create a judgment based on our expectations and beliefs of the world that allow us to understand what we see and we make judgements on the type of person they may be without actually speaking with them.

Is it fair we judge others without getting to know them?

We form opinions of them just as they form opinions of us.

Let’s say you see someone across the room at a party and they are overweight. It would be easy to say their health is at risk and assume they struggle with phsycial activity. But once a conversation starts, you learn more about their situation and the initial judgment melts away as you create a new understanding and appreciation for them as a human being.

Hiding Behind The Mask

Physical health is obvious and when we consider sports, we know when an athlete is out of shape.

Their data is poor, their times are poor and by looking at how they move, you can tell where they are at through comparing their data and movement with others. There is no hiding from having poor physical health as an athlete.

But mental health can be hidden behind a select few words “I’m OK coach, I’m just tired”, “I’ll get over it. I only missed a penalty”, “it’s another loss but I’ll put more work in”.

Hiding behind this mask not only sends the wrong message to others, but it questions your self-worth, creating a dangerous mix of incongruence and hiding the truth, meaning others and yourself will continue to behave as though nothing is wrong.

Making Choices

As I mentioned earlier there are many similarities between physical and mental health and deciding to do something about it when things are going wrong is a choice.

There are people out there who don’t value their physical health. They will continue to eat junk food, take no exercise, drink too much and live a life that’s over endulgant, even though they know their health is at risk and accept they will work it out for themselves and they will be ok

In the same breath, there are people who don’t value their mental health. They are overwhelmed, feeling stuck but feel they should work it out for themselves and they will be ok.

There’s a lesson I’ve learned over the years that I want to share with you because as much as we don’t like to think of people suffering on their own and there has to be more done to help, we have to accept some people don’t want help.

A New Perspective

But knowing not everyone wants help, we can provide help for those that need help. We have to push harder to provide cultures and environments where admitting you’re struggling, admitting you’re finding it hard, admitting you’re in a challenging place and you need help, is seen as courageous and normal.

These environments and cultures need to be implemented in professional sports and within organisations and anywhere where there’s human interaction and responsibility.

Empowerment And Self-Worth

We have to encourage individuals to appreciate, the choices they make will impact on their health.

We have to encourage individuals to understand what you do doesn’t define you but rather who you are defines you. A person shouldn’t be defined as a footballer that’s made a mistake. A person shouldn’t be defined as a player who’s no longer good enough. A person should be defined through how they approach a problem or challenge and if needed, offered the right support.

What Next?

If this blog has allowed you to understand mental health a little better, please comment and share with your network because as you know, you can’t see mental health issues but you can put information in front of a person, allow them to digest it and make a choice.

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Uncategorized

Professional footballers, don’t suffer, learn to thrive!

Making change when things aren’t working out sounds simple right?

But when you find yourself in a dark place or a place of confusion and doubt, making change should be the first thing you do.

Yet many people struggle to make that change, even when the situation demands it to happen.

This exact moment is where mental health issues are born.

They are born then reside in this place of uncertainty, and begin to grow when procrastination and an inability to make a new choice, fail to materialise.

People think they can handle it or think things will work themselves out yet this is often not the case.

I’m sure you can think of one case where a professional football player struggled to make change when things weren’t working outa and things didn’t go well for them?

Trying to deal with counter-productive situations, when you don’t have the right perspective and mental tools, lead to a change in behaviour and an inability to see what needs to be done, as the darkness envelopes and clouds the mind, leaving that person confused, unsure and a sense of lost self-worth and drive.

Let’s put this into context with professional football players.

Uncertainty, confusion and a loss of drive and self-worth will lead to their careers being cut short. Then what?

REAL FOOTBALLER PROBLEMS

Over the last few months, I’ve connected with and spoken in depth with former professional players that all had a story to tell me, and one player in particular hadn’t shared his story with anyone else and his situation happened five years ago.

If only at the time of his decision did he have someone to help him and think clearly, his playing career would have turned out a lot more fruitful.

His story is just one of many hundreds that are the reality for many former players and it’s this pain and frustration that, to me, doesn’t need to happen which is why I’m asking current professional players to talk to me so they don’t have a horrific story to tell in a few years.

My speciality is helping people see their situation from a new perspective, overcome procrastination quickly and make new choices that create opportunity.

YOU CAN HELP…

Do you know a premier league footballer?

Perhaps they are struggling, perhaps not, but it’s not your job to decide, but you can point them in the right direction.

Either way, by reading this blog or watching the video, may spark an interest in learning how they can help their career, help their family and friends and ultimately, themselves.

Let’s help and support them before it’s too late for them.

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Uncategorized

WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’

Here’s a quick challenge for you.

Next time you’re alone say the word ‘no’ out loud.

You’ll find even the thought of saying it out loud with no-one around feels simple and easy.

Why?

Because there’s no potential consequence.

But what happens when you think there’s a consequence?

Saying this little word, becomes a challenge or even impossible!

I worked with an actress a few years ago who had a friend she’d pick up and attend auditions together but it was always her friend that got the part!

She felt she wanted to start going alone so she could practice on her own but was fearful of telling her friend she couldn’t pick her up.

On this particular day during our session, she told me she was due to pick her friend up but she wanted to say no to her.

I listened to her concerns and like anyone she was worried her friend would fall out with her, she would despise her, they would fall out and where would that leave their friendship…

We sat down and worked out a couple of sentences she would use in the phone call to her friend. The call was to plan a time to pick her up.

But this time, it was a call to say she couldn’t pick her up.

My client was nervous and clearly had the weight of the world on her shoulders, but we made a plan.

I can see her now, picking the phone up, dialling and waiting.

When her friend picked up the phone, she exchanged pleasantries before uttering the sentence we had planned.

Guess what happened?

As soon as my client hung up the phone, the relief was clear to see. Her body language was relaxed and she was smiling. She’d made a huge step forward in her personal development and gained back control of her life.

She got a part not too long afterwards.

Saying ‘no’ isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage and self-compassion.

Is there someone you want to say ‘no’ to?

Is there a part of your life your want to get back?

Comment below or contact me and let’s create a plan for you

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Become who you want to be

How do you remove those feelings of doubt to get what you want?

What is doubt?

One winters day, in a secluded village, an old lady looked out of the window. Through the blizzard, she could just make out a shape in the distance. She strained her eyes and smiled. Yes. It was still there, a little blurred but it was there.

She took one more sip of her warm beverage, took her sheepskin coat off the peg along with her scarf and wrapped up warm, knowing she had to keep the cold out.

she slowly put on her hat and was ready.

Hearing the wind blowing around the wooden hut, she stopped for a moment.

Then she ventured out into the cold.

A few minutes later, she returned.

Happy and content, she sat down in front of the crackling fire and smiled.

Doubt is just a fleeting thought.

But it is often our immediate actions that prevent us from achieving and getting what we want.

Any time you have doubt, remind yourself that without that thought, you won’t be human and to be human is to connect with our fears.

Our fears are there to be conquered.

Our fears are there to be overcome!

What is it you want to overcome and what are you going to do about it?