When I was a younger, maybe 13-14 years old, I was a very sensitive and shy player. I lacked determination and passion on the pitch, which ultimately led to many poor performances early in my career. I was constantly afraid I would mess up in games although my technique on the ball was always very good as a center back.
My goal ever since I was a kid was to become a professional football player. That’s all I ever wanted to do, that’s all that I ever wanted to be. When your dream is to kick a ball around a grass field for 90 minutes and you’re struggling to complete a single pass and perform a quality touch, you realize something needs to change.
My physical qualities as a footballer allowed me to standout amongst my competition, but my mindset was that of a child. I got out of my comfort zone and found the courage to admit I had a problem. Along the way I also found a mentor, who was a former coach, to help me master my mind.
As my mental strength grew, so did my self confidence. I become more determined as a player to not let my emotions get the better of me and to always focus on positivity and what I was doing well, over negative thoughts that once crippled me as a footballer.
Once you start understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a player and person, and you create a plan to try and balance the scales, you’ll eventually become unstoppable. You’re not going to achieve a balanced mind or body without a lot of help from the friends and family around you though. Make sure you always ask for advice, ask for help, admit you a problem. You’re going to need a lot of guidance and direction from somebody who’s been in your shoes. That goes with football and also for your life outside of the game.
In order to become a standout footballer and human being, you have to ask a lot of questions and the greatest question you can ask is, ”what can I do for you?” “How can I help you?” Put yourself second behind the people you respect, trust and believe in and I guarantee you’re going to have an amazing career and also an incredible life.