La Liga Returns to Play With New Procedures
Returning to play soccer after a layoff comes with many concerns and questions.
You are not the only player who has experienced the uncertainty and accompanying anxiety about soccer and the new normal.
Every soccer player on every team and in every country in the world is faced with similar concerns about getting back into the swing of things.
Of course, all players are wondering when soccer will resume. Eventually, most players will be back on the pitch playing competitive soccer matches. The bigger issue facing soccer players is “What will soccer look like when I return?”
- Will I need to wear a mask?
- How can we practice if social distancing is still in effect?
- Will the season be extended to make up games?
- When the soccer ball is touched by a goalie, will the ball need to be wiped down?
- Can the coronavirus be spread through sweat?
- Will there be any rule changes to the game due to the coronavirus?
- What if a player on my team tests positive for the coronavirus?
- Will the soccer season have mandated phases and requirements that need to be met before games can be played?
Some of these questions will not be answered until circumstances arise, adding to the uncertainty of the situation.
The phrase “new normal” is being thrown which is also shrouded in mystery. What exactly does “new normal” even mean? Not knowing what to expect adds to the anxiety among players.
As soccer in Spain is recommencing, striker for La Liga club Sevilla and the Netherlands national team, Luuk de Jong, commented on how strange it was to return to practices with all the safety precautions.
DE JONG: “Everything was arranged with the masks and the gloves, and everybody is walking like this and they’re cleaning everything, controlling everything, and it was all strange.”
Real Betis forward Borja Iglesia highlighted his odd experience returning to soccer after the coronavirus.
IGLESIA: “The difference between the day you left and the day you return is big, the protocols, analysis, controls, the whole process makes a real impact… The first few days, there’s so much information, so many instructions in the protocol, that it’s impossible to take it all in. You have loads of questions: What can I do? What can’t I do? The club had staff there to explain it and guide us through, too. It’s getting better, but the first few days were odd.”
The mental challenges of the unknown will outweigh the physical challenges of conditioning your body.
What can you do to minimize your anxiety?
You can help minimize anxiety by focusing on what is normal or the aspects of the game that are the same… your coach, your teammates, the field, the ball, etc. You can also focus on what you have done in the past… conditioning, drills, ball skills, etc.
When you focus on the positive components of the game, your anxiety will subside to manageable levels.
Staying Positive when Returning to Soccer
Write a list of things you are looking forward to when soccer resumes.
These things could be seeing your teammates, the excitement of being on the field, putting on your uniform, kicking the ball around, getting back into shape, feeling a part of something that is bigger than yourself.
Stay focused on these positives instead of allowing your mind to be inundated with negativity and uncertainty.
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