Good Mental Strength and Resilience Are Keys to Being A Succesful Soccer Player
Guest columnist Geoff Wilson on the importance of mental strength. In fact, physical health and mental strength go hand in hand.
Soccer players need to be able to perform at tiptop shape on the field and focus their energies on the game.
Mental strength is required for success on and off the field.
Poor mental strength can lead to poor physical health and vice versa. Having good mental fitness means feeling positive about yourself, being able to cope with everyday pressures and being able to form and maintain friendships and relationships.
In fact, one in four of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lives. So look out for signs of any problems and tackle them right away!
How to Recognize a Problem
We can all feel on top of the world one minute and in the depths of despair the next. So how do you recognize a real problem with your mental health?
Basically, it’s when these feelings become extreme, happen more often than not or when they really start to affect your life.
It is always best to seek medical advice but here is some basic information.
Soccer Players – Feeling Down? Get Family and Friends on Your Side:
Just because you’re a soccer player and part of a team doesn’t mean to say there are times when you won’t feel all alone.
Sometimes our problems can seem so overwhelming that we can’t see a way past them and start to lose hope in the future.
If you or someone you know is so down that they can’t cope with everyday life, help is needed – and more importantly available. Talk to someone you trust as soon as you can – family, friends, maybe a coach or someone on your team. Ignoring the problem can make it worse and can have serious consequences.
Soccer Players – Spot The Signs of a Mental Strength Problem:
Signs of a potential mental strength problem include:
- Change in mood
- Disturbed sleep or eating patterns
- Lack of care for personal appearance or personal responsibilities
- Unusual behavior
- Recurrent physical symptoms
- Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
Soccer Players – Stressed Out?
Everyone gets stressed. Everyone needs some time out for themselves to do something they enjoy. This is nothing new but sometimes soccer players do not realize this happens to everyone else too.
Just think of the kick you get out of a game of football!
But when things get stressful it’s easy to forget to make time for yourself. Reduce stress and blow off some steam by:
- Getting active and playing football or any other sport
- Indoors? Try playing a game of pool
- Or going for a coffee
- Reading a book
- Listening to music
- Going for a walk or whatever works for you!
Chilling out with mates is good, but adults should be careful with alcohol and other drugs if they’re feeling stressed. It may seem like these things are helping, but they just mask the symptoms. They can’t help deal with the problem and will just make things harder in the long run.
Soccer Players – Five Steps to Good Mental Strength
There are five steps we can all take to improve our mental strength. If you approach them with an open mind and try them, you can judge the results yourself.
- Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
- Be active – doesn’t have to be the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play soccer. Find the activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.
- Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a newly found confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?
- Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
- Take notice – be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”, and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
The Irish FA is dedicated to the players’ whole health and success.