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Sport Psychology

Overrating and young football talents

Sport PsychologyPosted by Giani Boldeanu Thu, February 08, 2018 10:20:09


By Giani Boldeanu

The newspapers, radio, and TV make young talented players superstars overnight by overrating and comparing them with well-known players that have a similar playing style or position in the field. How many times you saw at the start of a new season, clubs presenting the new transferred young players with phrases like “ the next Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney, Messi etc, and after the first part of the season, you don’t hear anything about them, they are not even in the reserve squad.

How is this happening?

The mass media makes money based on what kind of subject they approach. The sports journalists need subjects in special during the week when are fewer competitions, also during the season's brakes, they need interesting subjects every day, they will follow every new talent in order to have subjects for the next edition of their newspaper. The football fans are always hungry for news regarding young stars that are raised or are transferred to the clubs. Is this good or bad for the young football stars?

The good part

The player will start to feel motivated. His confidence will grow. He will feel praised by the club, fans, and media. He will be selected to represent his country in international competitions. He will be in the first eleven of his club. His wage will go up some time from some thousands to million pounds in a very short time.

His lifestyle will change 360% in most of the cases. He will buy expensive cars, clothes, houses and other expensive goods to show their financial wealth. His market value will increase and other clubs will be interested in him. He will sign endorsement contracts that will bring more money to his account and his club accounts and the benefits list can continue.Other parts that will benefit from his fame will be his football agent that has an important role in his career.

The bad part

From the moment he will be seen like a new club star, the journalist and fans will start to follow him nonstop. His privacy will be affected. His private life and public life will be under the eyes of journalist and fans. The fans, journalist the club owners and officials will expect from him to improve and any mistake will be penalized. Big wages come with big expectations also.

Clubs transfer related competition is another factor that can affect the career of a young footballer. The top clubs tend to buy young talents only to don’t be taken by a rival club. The young players are bough even if they are not needed and loaned to another club or kept on the second team for 4 or 5 years. Most of them will have millions of Euros in their accounts but their football career will stop probably at that level. Most of them will be luxury reserves for most of their career.

The player is overrated intentionally by the club with the help of the journalists, sometimes called to write about new talents in order to increase their market price, fan base and to increase the clubs selling of promotional goods like t-shirts, books, calendars, match tickets etc. In most of the cases, everything is happening so quickly and the young football stars can’t manage well the status of VIP.

Why is this happening?

Just remember how your first day was or month when you started the secondary school, how long took you to accommodate with the school life, started a new job, when you got married or when you left your parents house to live on your own. The footballers are not superhumans. They will face the same problems like anyone else but the difference is that their mistakes or achievements will be public; Everyone will be able to see and comment about. Going from living with your parents' money as an academy player to hundreds of thousands a week is a very dangerous change. They will not be focused on improving their performance because of their self-believes. They will start to think that are already very good and is nothing to improve. It is difficult to become a top footballer but also you have to be able to stay at the top.

After each game depends on the results the football fans and journalist will make public their opinions in newspapers, TV, radio and on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. He will be praised by the fans and journalist if he will play better if not they will criticise him, he can go from fame to shame in a very short time.

The stress will start to appear. The stress is good if it is in the right amount and not for a long period of time. The stress helps all of as to survive, be motivated, focus and win the game with life. The level of stress that can be handled by a player it ranges from one individual to another.The young players are not used with high levels of stress like the old and experienced players. The overeating now starts to pay back its bills. They came to the first team with a good level of motivation and hunger to play and prove that they deserve to be there. After a period of intense stress, they can't face the pressure and they start to fail. From playing in a small club to playing in a top club can be very difficult time.

The team manager will offer the several chances to prove they deserve a place in the first team. In some cases when the club officials decided that a young talent has not the right skills and mentality to be a future asset for the club they will try to sell the player until is not too late, in order to recover the money invested in the player. The manager it is forced by the club to find a way to promote this kind of young players and to play them in a way to show their skills and abilities in order to be sold in the next transfer window.

The depression starts to show signs, the young player is not motivated, he can’t focus, and he starts to isolate himself. Stress also can cause injuries that will increase the level of stress more. He will start to focus on things that will stop the depression quick like alcohol, heavy smoking, nightlife and sometimes drugs. This is not the solutions to treat depression. In this kind of situation counselling it is very important but in most of the cases, this will be avoided by players and clubs.

If the player is still living with his family or in a relationship, he will get help and support from the family that will spot probably the depression or changes in lifestyle and behaviour and will convince the young player to sick help and advice from professionals. In some cases, the player can hide very well the depression signs until is too late to intervene. Sometimes the players will start to develop addictions, became bankrupt and even convicted for unsocial behaviour.

Probably you will think that the club psychologist, team manager, coaches or player welfare officer should be able to spot the signs of depression and help the player. Yes, this is the way that it should be only if the player is happy to admit that he has problems and needs help. Here is a big problem. If you are a football player and you go to see a psychologist not necessary because you are depressed sometimes because you want to improve your performance it is seen as a real problem.

If a player is admitting that he suffers from depressions or any other mental issues will cause a rupture between club and player, the player will have no future in that club anymore. The player will be seen as a club asset, he will become a liability.He will be removed from the first team and put on the transfer list asap, the club will try everything to recover their investment in the player. The fans will not be happy to find out that their favourite hero is suffering from depression; In the eyes of the fans, the footballer's world is a tuff world with very strong characters. The club image can be affected also if its players are suffering from depression. Depression is very contagious in special in team sports and the club will remove the player from the team in order to keep the team safe and motivated.
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