On Wednesday we were joined by former Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City player, Paul McVeigh. After his career in the Premier League, Paul moved onto the psychology side of the game and earned a Master's in Sports Psychology. He also wrote 'The Stupid Footballer is Dead' (below) which details his own experiences as a player and takes the reader into the future in terms of how demanding the game is now becoming on the mental side. A couple of years ago, he visited me in California and did a presentation with our team there and it had a huge impact, so I'm a big fan of his work.
When I spoke to Paul about coming on as a guest, he was keen to point out that he feels coaches as a whole are still overlooking the mental side of the game. I was interested to take this a little further because I feel that as a community, we are much more aware of the importance of the psychological side. Today, most coaches want to be player centered and understand the possibly the biggest separator at the highest level is in their ability to commit and handle the pressure. So if coaches understand the importance of it, why is it not being implemented in our everyday work? I really enjoyed hearing Paul's experience and insight on this and looking a little deeper into why we are not doing enough at the moment. When he compares it with the rise of sport science since his playing days, it does put it into perspective and definitely makes you reflect as a coach if you really are prioritizing that side of the game, as well as understanding how many elements you can potentially impact with players.
At the heart of Paul's message, he also challenges coaches to lead the way. You can tell by his journey in the game that the ability to be open minded, set high goals, and commit to both at a very high level allowed and enabled him to have the career that he did. You get the impression very quickly that this goes beyond playing the game and can continue to business, relationships and lifestyle. At a time when we are all struggling with not having control of the outcomes, Paul's message comes at the right time to inspire and energize us to do a little more and take more responsibility for our thoughts and our daily actions.
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