Valencia CF24 June 2024

Baraja analyses psychology in football

The Valencia CF coach looks at the role of psychology in football and the impact of social networks in the video podcast 'LALIGA VS' by LALIGA and PRISA

 Valencia CF took part in the latest episode of 'LALIGA VS', the LALIGA and PRISA video podcast, in which coach Rubén Baraja analysed the importance of psychology in elite football and addresses, together with the president of the Federation Spanish Sports Psychology, David Peris, how to banish hate from social networks and sport.

Baraja highlighted that the use of psychology in football is “very important” and that it helps, among other aspects, to give players a better response to failure.

“It involves routines and habits, and you have to generate your own mechanisms. You can make several mistakes in a row and a player must have the mentality to overcome this and improve their performance. This is part of the day-to-day work we do, and we insist a lot on that. I always tell players not to think about the previous action, but rather about the next one. Keeping a clear mind is not easy. There are almost 50,000 people at Mestalla and the players have to know how to manage these types of moments.”

His message to a player in this type of situation is clear: Focus on the next action and do it well.

“I insist that they focus on the task at hand, and not on the one before, nor on the consequences, nor on what it means to win or lose. That sometimes leads to anxiety or worry. It can affect other results as well. I tell them to focus on playing time and repeating things we have been doing during the week. And if you do many things well, you will be closer to winning and have fewer things affecting your performance,” explained Baraja.

After the 2022/23 season, Valencia CF introduced a psychologist to Baraja's coaching staff.

“We must not forget that we are all people first and we have good days, bad days... And we have a very young group. There are emotions, experiences and situations that we have to manage, and in this sense it is positive to have a person who tells you what the script is and helps you manage the emotional aspects within the game."

“Each person is affected in a different way by each situation. You have to know them well. You have to know them well, know how they respond to emotions and be aware. We always hold initial meetings each season, we set objectives, state what we want from each player, what they should improve on, what they should keep up. That helps them find close and concrete objectives and I think that in this way the player grows at an adequate pace."

The coach also referred to unpleasant situations, such as the one experienced on social networks with Peter Federico this season. The winger suffered so many insults on his Instagram profile from a rival fanbase that he was forced to close comments.

“The excessive use of social networks can have an impact, especially on young players and those whose character is still not completely formed. People may think that comments do not influence a player, but that is not the case. Sometimes they talk about the colour of their skin, their physical appearance or the way they dress. We don't have to put up with this. Why does a player have to endure being picked on on social media because of the colour of their skin or because they are right- or left-handed? We can accept people saying whether he has played well or played badly, but the feeling that this leaves you with is that there are few professions in the world in which, for doing your job and trying to do it well, people criticise you.”

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