5 ways football can improve your mental health

As we all know regularly playing football is a fantastic way of keeping physically fit but this article looks at five ways our mental health can be improved when playing the sport.

Sep 10th 2021

Written by The Coaching Manual

1. Improved Physical Fitness -> Improved Mental Fitness

Regular physical exercise has been proven to show marked improvements to many different aspects of people’s mental health. Staying active releases chemicals in your brain called endorphins which then helps to make you feel good, release stress, increase concentration and even help you to sleep better.

Being active outdoors is also shown to have a further impact on our mental health as research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier. So playing football outside is the perfect way to ensure you have this regular fix each week in order to improve your mood.

To see why Mental Health is such an important issue in football check out this webinar.

2. Making new friends and being comfortable in social situations

Playing football and joining a new team is a great place for young players to make more friends outside of their usual social circles. It can also provide the opportunity for more introverted and shy children to begin to feel more comfortable in social situations.

Being part of a team means that players have to learn to work together and care for one another on and off the pitch. This can increase players’ empathy towards one another, whilst improving their own self-esteem knowing that they can depend and rely on their teammates, which again is important in life off the pitch.

3. Motivation and encouragement from coaches

Good coaches will provide a positive and inclusive environment for their players so they can enjoy the sport and express themselves on and off the pitch. Coaches can do this by providing motivation and encouragement to their players which will help them to focus on becoming better soccer players. It can also trickle into general life and help them to want to become better versions of themselves.

Seeing the physical rewards in soccer like goals, assists and winning games as a result of this motivation will lead to the belief that they can achieve other things away from soccer which in turn is great for mental wellbeing.

4. Increased confidence

Having confidence as a young player is so important for their mental well-being, and playing football in a team environment is a great way to build that self-confidence.

Seeing improvements in their game can help to build confidence, even if it’s something as small as learning/improving a new skill, it can help players to feel better about themselves.

To further help your player increase their self-confidence check out this guide.

5. Controlling Emotions

Football matches and sometimes even in training sessions can be a rollercoaster of emotions and as time goes on and players experience more things on the pitch they will begin to better control certain emotions. 

For instance, when players experience bad performances or losses they should learn how to bounce back from defeat and not dwell on it and this can be carried into general life as players will learn how to better deal with more negative emotions to a certain extent.

All of this helps to build resilience within a player as they know not to fear failure and setbacks but instead to understand that they can learn from them.

To help your players to control their emotions and become more self-aware check out this handy article.

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