How to deal with Isolation with Football/Soccer





As a very busy football coach coaching 4 times a week along with my full time job dealing with being stuck inside is very difficult. It’s hard being cooped up inside for people used to being active and having to be focused, enthusiastic, positive, energetic a lot of the time. It’s even harder for children who are used to running around the football field, tearing after a ball to be confined to their homes. It can infect you with the lax, lazy, demotivating, draining aura that comes with this inability to live that normal active lifestyle. It is important for both your own positive physical and mental wellbeing and any children you have if you are a parent that you don't let it. Being used to the rush of endorphins that comes with activity and the lack of that outlet can put you or your children into a very bad state of mind. This is an issue I would like to talk about to hopefully help parents, players and coaches deal with this a little better and try to deal with this horrible situation as well as possible.

I'm going to address this from a football perspective as that is my background. I understand that this is a multi-layered issue and there are many other things that are very important considerations but I do feel getting a way to bring back some kind of normality will hopefully help fill the football void and lead to a more positive time for everyone. Here are my steps to getting through this:

1) Wake up early every day - Firstly we need to keep ourselves active, physically active everyday not allowing bad habits to slip in. Wake up early every morning as if you were going to work. I wake up between 3-4 everyday; obviously you don't need to wake up at the same time as me, this allows me to get stuff done before anyone wakes up and focus on completing tasks I need to or setting out the day ahead. Waking up early and having that routine is the first very important step to making this lock down a productive time.

2) Have a mini football session every day - For a coach, player or parent this is great not only to keep healthy, keep active and to keep football skills sharp but also if done properly it can be really enjoyable as well. Plan to practise different things every day to give you focus and something to work towards. For example me and my son have sessions every day with a goal to practise things like shooting, dribbling, passing or control. Today is our dribbling skill day; we post new videos of our daily sessions on YouTube as an example of what you could do (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMRWLSYuxbQMjJc8nLCbgrCZRd1KWM1Mp). It helps them or you improve and gives a focus of something to achieve. Without the structure of school, training and it can be hard to maintain motivation to work towards anything which is a very dangerous habit that we must not allow to fester and develop.

It doesn't have to be an intensive session you could just play a 10 minute game every day. Conditioning the game saying you can only score with your weak foot, or you have to do a certain skill every time you get the ball is a goal to improvement every day in itself. Just have a focus and a goal and make it something you do almost every day.

3) Have fun with a ball - Mess around and just play games often and every day with a ball. Kick the ball into a bucket, nutmegs, you make some targets for them to knock down anything fun and different. If you have kids let them come up with games, if you are a coach set little challenges for your team, or if you are a player set yourself a challenge to really push yourself.

4) Watch football videos on Youtube - There are many quality football youtubers who are just about having fun. Some of them like the F2 (https://www.youtube.com/user/F2Freestylers) are actually quite good as well. Watch what they do to keep inspiring practise and keeping football fun and accessible.

5) Test yourself - Test yourself, your kids or your players and have a target to work towards. Trying to double your kick up score for example. Again set goals and targets to give them something to strive or aim towards. I can use the example of what I am doing with my son to illustrate what you could do. We run through tests on all technical aspects from dribbling speed to whipped shooting technique. Every week we go back over them and see how he has progressed and reflect upon what we can do next week to push further. I also have these tests on YouTube (https://youtu.be/jpi5gLGvyEA) but any tests would be good. How many consecutive passes against the wall, how many kick ups, or any of the many challenges you find online; I have some on this site too (https://www.soccertraininganddevelopment.co.uk/football-challenges). Again make them fun and something that will motivate you or them to achieve it, there are plenty to be found on youtube here is one I found where the challenges can be done at home (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG-kFMMU2i8).

6) Get in the garden - Sit outside in the garden and just enjoy the fresh air without your phone or any technology just use this time in isolation to take time to relax and enjoy the simple things in life. More time at home with the family, time to relax and unwind. It feels good to be able to let go from the constant charging around associated with everyday life. You will probably never get it again so try to relax and enjoy it.

If you don't have a garden look at my indoor training sessions (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMRWLSYuxbQMEhCLBCbl0NY-pRMAtqLA6) to keep you busy and just spend time gazing out your window for at least half an hour a day to unwind and enjoy whatever slice of nature you have around you.

7) Develop yourself - Lastly develop yourself in whatever capacity you can. If you are a player work on developing your skills in all this free time you have, no excuses there is always a way. If you don't know what to do please contact me (mrleeredmond@hotmail.co.uk) and I will be happy to help.

Parents build your knowledge of what to do to help keep your child engaged with the game and not to pile too much pressure if they start showing real promise. Look up football skills, tactics and technique to become a more informed supporter. For coaches this is a perfect time to go around watch and read as much as you can to have hundreds of drills and tactical innovations to implement when we come back to football.

Lastly stay active, stay positive, keep working towards becoming the best version of yourself. Use this time to connect with your family and find a happy balance with your football where you keep and develop your love for the game that really can help bring us all together.

Please everyone stay home, stay safe and if you want any advice don't hesitate to contact me.


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