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Psychologist Chris 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:

1.Savouring

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

Tips:

  • 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.

 

2.Gratitude

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.

Tips:

  • 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?

 

3.Mindfulness

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.

Tips:

  • 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: www.christophershen.com.au

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How Postecoglou’s overseas success can propel more Australian coaches forward

He’s one of the biggest names in Australian football right now. Ange Postecoglou is continuing to put the land down under on the footballing map internationally.

Fresh off guiding Celtic to the Scottish Premiership title, there are now recent talks of where Australia’s coaching darling will be headed next. Some are suggesting he should set his sights to the English Premier League.

This includes former Celtic striker Chris Sutton, who spoke on Optus Sport’s GegenPod Football Podcast.

“I don’t get the argument that he can’t manage in the Premier League,” he said.

“Look at his track record, it speaks for itself. I think people would have sat up and noticed the job he’s done at Celtic.”

Postecoglou has won over Scottish fans just as he did in Australia at club level, with South Melbourne and Brisbane Roar.

Closer to home, it’s not just fans he’s won over though. Very few involved in football have anything bad to say about the newly-crowned Celtic champion manager.

But much like the initial reception that Postecoglou found in Scotland, it wasn’t always this way, as outlined by Football Coaches Australia President, Phil Moss.

“I had a few friends, particularly Rangers fans, who were let’s just say encouraging me to reach out to Ange and warn him against taking the job, it was that strong a feeling from certain sections,” he told Soccerscene.

“I just smiled and waved really. As anyone who knows Ange – and I’m not professing to know him very closely – but I’ve had some dealings with him over the years, and it was always going to be successful.

“Ange eats that sort of pressure for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If he decided that was the job for him, then you knew he was going to turn into a success.”

Hail, hail Ange Postecoglou - the anti-Howe who transformed Celtic in a season

Moss is optimistic that Postecoglou is paving the way for Australian coaches overseas. Having previously coached at the J-League’s Yokohama F. Marinos, the Celtic move was one of the biggest in the history of Australian coaching.

But alongside the likes of Kevin Muscat (Sint-Truiden and Yokohama), Harry Kewell in England, and Alen Stajcic (Philippines women’s national team), he’s overcoming the obstacles that get in the way of Australian coaches.

“The main obstacle is our lack of profile down here when it comes to European circles and competitions,” Moss continued.

“If you look at a Steven Gerrard for instance, Ange’s CV leaves his in coaching terms a long way behind. But Ange obviously doesn’t have the profile from his playing career.

“He’s formally in the A-League and NSL as well, but let’s not forget the success he had with South Melbourne in the National Soccer League.

“What its done is a couple of things. Initially when players first started going overseas from Australia it opens doors, and it sparks interest of people in positions of power over in Europe that Aussies know how to play.

“This will now certainly let people understand that we know how to coach.

“It opens doors and gives coaches in Australia the confidence to know that they can aspire to rise to a higher level, despite maybe not having a high profile European playing career.”

Despite Postecoglou and other international coaches’ successes, the FCA still faces challenges at home when it comes to their own coaches.

“Our role at FCA is to go on the journey with the coaches,” Moss said.

“A key part of our work at the moment is working towards aligning our AFC/FA coaching badges with UEFA. At the moment, if you go through the AFC/FA coaching licenses, that doesn’t align to Europe.

“For coaches like Ange and Kevin Muscat, they’ve all had to go through or are going through a process of aligning their qualifications.

“It’s a big issue because it basically means any coach going through the AFC coaching pathway at the moment is reassessing if that’s the right pathway for them at the moment.”

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And although many Australian coaches are still facing issues reaching their potential in a position in a European league, Postecoglou is well and truly a trailblazer.

“We’ve got to put this into context, he took over what local pundits were saying was the worst Celtic squad in 30 years where they lost the last league title by 25 points,” Moss said.

“That is a massive turnaround, just to get even with Rangers, let alone beat them to the title this season. As Ange said the other night, to fit two seasons into one – with a rebuilding season and a season for the title – is a phenomenal effort.”

UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 announces TikTok as Official Entertainment Platform

EURO 2022

Social media platform TikTok has been announced as an official partner of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

This year’s tournament will see TikTok utilised to amplify women’s football and to showcase some of the world’s best talents to the global football fanbase.

TikTok’s European General Manager, Rich Waterworth, had the following to say about the announcement:

“The move builds on the success of our partnership with UEFA for EURO 2020 and the incredible growth of women’s sport on TikTok,” he said.

“Alongside our landmark Title Sponsorship of the Women’s Six Nations rugby competition and unique partnership with Burnley FC Women who stream all their home games live on TikTok, we’ve seen everything from England’s Lionesses taking us behind-the-scenes, to Spain’s women’s Primera División sponsor Iberdrola showcasing the pride and passion of women’s football through #JueganComoChicas (#PlayLikeGirls), and football freestylers like Lia Lewis inspiring young women to get into the beautiful game.

“All this has led TikTok to become a cultural home for all sports fandom across Europe, with the hashtag #womeninsports racking up almost a billion views.

“With the tournament kicking off on 6 July across England, our community can get involved in a variety of creative ways, from using our innovative special effects and sounds in their videos, to joining in with TikTok LIVEs and EUROs-inspired hashtag challenges. Look out for an official UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 TikTok account ahead of the tournament, which aims to inspire and entertain the global football community with exclusive behind-the-scenes content, plus current and archival footage.”

Guy-Laurent Epstein, marketing director of UEFA, added to the statement:

“We are thrilled to once again partner with TikTok, this time for the biggest UEFA Women’s EURO ever,” he said.

“With the TikTok football community ever-growing with teams, fans, creators and associations, we are looking forward to showcasing this summer’s premiere sporting event featuring some of the greatest women’s footballers in the world through unique, creative and engaging content. It’s an exciting time to be a football fan.

“Since our partnership with UEFA for EURO 2020, we have seen TikTok become the home of football fandom; with creators, players and nations alike coming together to share their passion for the beautiful game, in a uniquely TikTok way. We are delighted to continue this partnership as the Official Entertainment Platform of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, and to build on our joint efforts to promote equality and inclusion in football through TikTok’s #SwipeOutHate campaign and UEFA’s #EqualGame.

“We cannot wait to see our community show their support for the women’s game, as we make this year’s championship even more accessible to our global community.”

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