Performance on the field does not matter as much as it should. Informal performance appraisal by the team's owners and influencers detract from focusing on playing better as a team.
I believe that the interventions which I initiated should be persisted with, and that the team management should be counseled to isolate the players from non-football aspects of each other's lives, and from the financial fortunes of the club as well.
The recent misfortunes and desultory match performances of Hull United should not detract from the sterling achievements of reaching the Premier League of football. No team can aspire for this distinction without large measures of skills and talents. I have a decade of experience in sports psychology, though I am more accustomed to on-going assignments with younger people.
I must confess to some trepidation at the prospect of a mere 2 months to effect dramatic changes in a team of professionals. This does not sit well with theories and best practices in sports psychology. ...
both Hull United and I commit to an assignment without thorough discussions on realistic and feasible performance goals for myself as a sports psychologist.
A Basic Approach
I began preparations for the Hull United assignment by careful reflection on my past successes and failures in the profession over the past 10 years. It is easy for sports psychology to intrude in to fields of technical training for specific sports, and to attempt some general psychology, and even amateur psychiatry as well. There are situations in which such tangential efforts can pay dividends. Most contact sports, and even ones that are contests of wit and other mental skills, are seamless in terms of physical techniques and mental attributes. Football at the Premier League stage in particular, involves strategies which are combinations of techniques and mental strategies. All team games involve high degrees of inter-personal communication, which is both intense and largely non-verbal. Hence, separation of sports training and sports psychology is never easy, and may not even be desirable.
The media, fans, and club management, exert such pressures on team members that a majority of professional sports people require psychiatric help in any case! There are social stigma attached to seeking this kind of professional help, and it can affect the stereotyped public image if it becomes known that a player is under psychiatric treatment. Therefore, sports psychologists and even coaches are forced in to situations which force them to perform some of the tasks of a psychiatrist.
I decided to stay away from these traditional meanderings of sports psychology, at least for this Hull United assignment. A 50-day period would never be enough to build bridges with the coach and the players, to an extent