Psychology in Football: Working with Elite and Professional Players / Edition 1

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  • How can the skills of the sport psychologist be put to best use within a football club?
  • How can a sport psychologist help elite footballers perform at their maximum level?

In this groundbreaking guide to the role of the sport psychologist within elite and professional football, leading sport psychologist Mark Nesti argues that working closely with coaches and players to create a receptive environment is vital if psychologists are to add maximum value to team and individual performances.

Drawing on a decade's professional experience working at the top level of English football, Nesti offers a detailed guide to delivering sport psychology in an elite team sport environment, from practical drills on the training field to shaping organizational behaviour at club level. The book explores the full range of issues and themes that define the role of the professional sport psychologist working in football today, including:

  • mental skills training
  • group cohesion and team dynamics
  • counselling, trust and confidentiality
  • transitions in football
  • managerial and coaching philosophies
  • structure, communication and organizational psychology.

The book is illustrated throughout with real-world case studies, drawing on research into sixteen professional clubs across five European countries, and concludes by suggesting how other elite team sports can learn from the experiences of professional football. This is the only book to outline a holistic approach to psychology in football and the to offer such a rich combination of theory and practice. It is therefore essential reading for all students of sport psychology and all psychologists and coaches working in elite team sport.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Psychology In Football is a fantastic book for helping those who want to work in football understand the reality of the job. The text outlines the variety of areas a sport psychologist can impact within this unique high pressure environment. It highlights the importance of appreciating a range of psychological approaches, such as organisational, counselling and mental skills training", Clive Reeves, performance coach, Fulham Football Club

"This is a most refreshing book, clear in content and applied focus. It is also a rare opportunity for sport psychologists, students, trainees or applied consultants to have an insight into the workings of elite professional football, but viewed from perspectives they might not ordinarily find in sport psychology literature or ‘applied’ textbooks ... There should not be a university teaching sport science or sport psychology without a copy, nor should there be a Premiership or Championship manager that hasn’t flicked through its pages at some time", Phil Johnson, chartered sport and exercise psychologist and UEFA coach.

"Dr. Nesti has done a remarkable job of capturing the real world of an applied sport psychologist working with professional athletes. Full of insights and observations only available at the front lines of applied work. A must read for any sport psychologist or student aspiring to work in this world", Dr Sean McCann, senior sport psychologist, United States Olympic Committee

"Mark Nesti is outstanding in the field of sport psychology, and illustrates all the key points to achieve good results as a performance coach. Psychology in football has been extremely important and still has a high value for me working with both staff and players in team sports. I would highly recomend the book", Cecilie Ystenes, performance coach, Vålerenga FC, Norway

"This is a thought provoking and important book about the ‘mental world’ within football, but also about how sport psychologists need to be reflective and mindful about their own position and approach in order to make a difference within the world of performance", Anne Marte Pensgaard, professor in sport psychology at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, head of sport psychology services at the Norwegian Olympic Training Center, and sport psychologist for Norwegian Premier League football club Tromsø IL.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415549998
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/12/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,182,642
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Nesti is Reader in Sport Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University. He has worked as a consultant sport psychologist with four English Premier League football clubs, and is currently working with players and staff at three Premiership clubs.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Acknowledgements xi

Introduction 1

1 Knowing professional football 9

Understanding the culture 9

Setting the scene 11

Previous encounters with sport psychologists 12

Evidence of worth 14

Are you worth it" 15

Being one of the guys! 16

We are the sport psychologists! 17

Psychobabble 18

Physician, heal thyself! 20

Time famine 21

Privacy 21

Important but unwelcome 23

Conclusions 24

2 One-to-one sport psychology counselling 27

Mental skills training 30

Philosophical grounding 31

Putting it into practice 33

Performance or personal agenda" 39

Living encounters 43

3 Supporting the coaching team and developing the staff 51

The sport psychologist as an organizational psychologist/human resource manager 51

Encouraging 'buy in' from coaches and staff 56

Job descriptions 57

CPD 60

Codes of conduct 62

Away day rationale 65

Away day activities 66

Away day culture change 70

4 Supporting the manager 73

Developing the manager 74

Professional and personal goals and ambitions 81

Appraisal mechanisms 86

Humility 87

Identity 89

Leadership 91

Dealing with stress and anxiety 98

5 Creating and managing the environment 101

Developing human spirit 103

Team building 106

Providing a club chaplain 108

Human spirit and religious spirituality 115

When the banter stops 120

6 The liaison officer 123

Introduction 123

Supporting the sport psychologist 123

Doing the job 126

Caring or performance focused 128

Education and welfare officers 135

7 Trust, values, confidentiality and identity 137

Trust 137

Trusting yourself 138

Identity and trust 142

Creating identity 143

Inculcating the values of excellence 146

Threat to values 148

The importance of living your values 151

Equality and values 152

Meeting the person not the player! 154

Values and identity 159

8 Football lessons 165

Implications for other professional team sports 165

Making friends: the players 167

Making friends: the staff 170

Youthful energy 172

The public 174

X factor specialists 175

Being a boffin 176

Getting paid 181

The big ten 182

References 191

Index 199

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