It's that time of the year when football players are gearing up to move clubs.
There is an almost universal expectation that players need time to transition, and the likelihood is that they will not play well immediately.
However, contrary to popular belief, this is not inevitable, and there is a real reason behind this phenomenon.
The brain of a footballer, like anyone else, does not like change. Numerous studies have shown this, including one published in the Journal of Neuroscience & Behavioural Reviews.
The research revealed that changes in a person's environment can cause stress, leading to increased activity in the amygdala, a brain region associated with fear and anxiety. This part of the brain is referred to as the "red brain," and it is detrimental to performance and achieving optimal levels of play.
The more control the red brain has, the worse a player is likely to perform. This is one of the significant reasons why players take time to settle into a new club.
New physical environments, tactics, managers, teammates, and even relocating to a new area can potentially give the red brain control, negatively impacting a player's performance.
This revelation might not be great news for players on the move and the clubs investing in them. The idea that a player's brain is preparing for poor performances and not enjoying the first few weeks or months can be disheartening. In extreme cases, this situation may never improve.
However, it is essential to understand that this response is not inevitable. Our brains may naturally do many things that can derail performance, but we need to identify which parts of these natural responses are fueling our red brain.
We then need to take control of them because, ultimately, we have control over what we think, what we focus on, and our actions. We must make our brains work for us rather than against us.
Last year, I had the opportunity to work with numerous players who were moving clubs. I helped them hit the ground running, with no settling-in period, poor performances, or challenges in quickly integrating with their new teammates.
They were able to implement the manager's plans and play to their full potential.
I expect to be doing the same with players on the move this summer. If you're a Championship or Premier League player looking to make a smooth transition to a new club, consider booking a call with me through this website.
Together, we can discuss whether we are a good fit to work together. Then we can get to work by getting your brain working for you, not against you, no matter the circumstances. This way, you can have your best season yet.
In conclusion, the key to overcoming the challenges of transitioning to a new football club lies in understanding the psychological factors at play. By recognising the role of the red brain and taking control of our thoughts and actions, we can make our brains work for us, ensuring a smooth transition and better performance on the field.