Psychologist Christopher Shen: Tips to bolster and improve your mental health

The current COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the mental health of the soccer community. Players, coaches, decision-makers, administrators, and supporters have all been impacted by the coronavirus, which can cause anxiety, distress, fatigue, a diminished ability to perform, and burnout. Scientific research has revealed several evidence-based techniques which can help Soccerscene readers bolster our mental health, during this challenging time.

Here are some tips for readers to help improve and master our mental health:


Please identify ways to create savouring experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Savouring refers to strategies we can use to create, maintain, and share positive experiences.


  • Please use mannerisms and gestures, such as smiling, and greeting each other.
  • Please celebrate and acknowledge positive events and moments with others.
  • Please write and read affirmations, and positive words and quotes.
  • Please create and listen to playlists of music and sounds which are uplifting and inspiring.
  • Each night with a beloved person, please identify three positive events that transpired during the day, as well as the causes of these events.



Please adopt a positive attitude of gratitude and appreciation towards yourself and others.

When we are grateful and express gratitude to others, we create positive thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and decrease negativity. A helpful practice is to show gratitude towards our family members, teammates, coaches, staff, and loved ones. When we show gratitude and compassion towards ourselves, we can often withstand challenges and frustrations.


  • Please write a positive message to someone important in your life, expressing gratitude. Send this message, or deliver this message directly to the important person.
  • Please identify a regret in your life. Please write a reassuring message to yourself, expressing compassion and understanding towards yourself about this regret.
  • Please identify an opportunity to offer kindness and assistance to someone in need. What can you do to help someone else – especially during this Covid-19 pandemic?



Mindfulness refers to a psychological state in which individuals experience an awareness of objects in their immediate environment, as well as their current thoughts and feelings.

Individuals who demonstrate mindfulness direct their attention to their present surroundings and their psychological state, but engage in experiential rather than analytical processing. That is, mindfulness refers to sustained or frequent awareness and attention to current and ongoing experiences. People who practice mindfulness develop greater self-esteem, concentration, emotional intelligence, and resilience.


  • Every hour or so, please sit quietly for a few minutes with your eyes closed and focus your attention on your breath.
  • Then, direct your attention towards your surroundings – What you hear, what you smell, what you can taste, and how your body feels.
  • Then focus on your emotions, and thoughts.
  • Mindfulness practice can be used by Soccerscene readers in your pre-game preparations to develop focus, reduce anxiety, and build resilience.

Christopher Shen is a Psychologist, based in Melbourne, Australia. He can be contacted at:

Google Books



Google Books

The Matildas recognised for World Cup efforts with Don Award

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame presented the Matildas with The Don Award, one of the highest Australian sport honours awarded to an athlete or team.

The Don Award, named in recognition of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s inaugural Inductee, Sir Donald Bradman AC, and introduced in 1998, honours an athlete or a team for providing the most inspiration to the nation through performance and example in the past year. The Matildas earned The Don Award after they became the first Australian team to make a senior FIFA World Cup – men’s or women’s – semi-final. The Matildas changed the landscape for women’s football by bringing the country together and inspiring the next generation of hopefuls, encouraging junior players to reach the national stage like Sam Kerr, Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Mackenzie Arnold, Mary Fowler or Cortnee Vine who all became instantly recognisable.

The latter a household name as she stepped up to convert the decisive penalty against France to book the Matildas a semi-final match against England. That was also the longest shoot-out in FIFA World Cup history, men’s or women’s.

The Matildas’ FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 tournament saw extraordinary crowds to their games with nearly two million spectators at stadiums and hundreds of thousands at live sites across the country. Their semi-final against England achieved the highest TV ratings in Australia since the current television ratings system began in 2001.

Despite losing 3-1 in the semi-final and then going down 2-0 to Sweden in the bronze medal match, the Matildas did Australia proud with many memorable moments created.

The Matildas are proud to create a legacy from the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which they now want to continue for future generations.

Ange Postecoglou’s journey has laid a path for future Australian coaches to succeed in Europe

At Football Victoria’s Community in Business Full Time Luncheon event, special guests discussed Ange Postecoglou’s brilliant start at Tottenham Hotspur and explained his journey through the coaching ranks.

Postecoglou’s incredible 27-year coaching resume started at South Melbourne FC, the team he played 10 years with in the old NSL. Ange’s stint at the Roar was memorable, most notably his record-breaking 36-game unbeaten run which saw them win multiple titles during his reign.

After spending time managing the national team and Japanese club Yokohama F. Marinos, it wasn’t until his Celtic managerial move that contributed to the positive reputation spike of Australian managers in the world game.

The Celtic appointment was faced with lots of criticism from the Scottish media and Celtic supporters, but his success made sure that simmered down quickly. It was a huge milestone in Australian football as it was the first time an Aussie manager not only managed a major team in Europe but also won a league title in Europe.

Former South Melbourne FC player Paul Trimboli and Melbourne Victory legend Archie Thompson were on the panel that told their personal anecdotes about how he was on and off the field. This has opened up a wider discussion about Australian coaches in general and how there is quite a lack of success in that area.

Archie Thompson, who played under Postecoglou for his short stint at Melbourne Victory, spoke about his coaching style at the Community in Business event recently.

“He is a little bit difficult to read at first for sure but what I admire is how he was able to evolve. He came into Victory and changed the way he played the game from his Roar days, and it worked. We scored heaps of goals and had success,” Thompson said.

“Ange was solely focused on the team first over any individuals. It was never Thompson 1 or 2-0; it was Victory 2-0 and that’s why he has been so great. He has a knack of appreciating individuals but always keeping the team-first mentality.”

Ange’s incredible journey does paint a picture however of the struggles that Australian coaches have breaking into European football, which is increasingly becoming an issue as more Aussie coaches succeed in both the men’s and women’s game domestically and in Asia.

Gary Cole, President of Football Coaches Australia (FCA) has previously discussed in length about the significant hurdle that these coaches face, which is acquiring the UEFA pro license.

Despite Postecoglou’s deep football coaching resume, his move to Celtic could have been derailed because of the system and rules set in place in order to attain the license, which review the coach’s ability to manage a professional football team.

However, there is no doubt that Ange’s incredible journey and early Manager of the Month success at Tottenham Hotspur will open doors for fellow Aussie managers to be firstly given a chance but to also succeed in Europe.

Kevin Muscat had a small stint at Belgian club Sint-Truiden in 2020, whilst Patrick Kisnorbo managed ESTAC Troyes and became the first ever Australian manager of a team in a ‘top five’ European men’s league. Kisnorbo’s move to fellow City group club  Troyes, thanks to his success at Melbourne City, also presents as a future opportunity for A-League managers who impress.

Whilst the results from both weren’t or haven’t been fantastic, the opportunity was granted to them due to recent success and the foundation potentially laid for the future of Australian coaches in Europe. These moves only increase the validity of the A-League and Australian coaches, especially because of the long journey a lot of these managers go through just to reach that sort of level.

The future is brighter for the reputation and validity of Australian football, a country that is quickly latching on to the sport especially after Men’s and Women’s World cup successes.

Ange Postecoglou continues to shine in the Premier League and his impressive story has no doubt created its own pathway for more Australian coaches to follow with hopefully less obstacles and difficulties.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend