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ZamFoot Blockbuster: Mental strength, Discipline and Nutrition the missing link in Zambian football

Mental strength in football and importance.

It is the individual resilience and confidence that predict success or a positive result at the end of the match. If an individual cant endures, success may not be attained as it is a pillar from which it stem and the driving force is the confidence which is the feeling or belief that desired results will be reaped despite challenges.

Every good thing comes at a cost, there’s no sweet without sweat. Hard work must always be there. If someone is not strong mentally he will easily get derailed and fail to continue working hard to attain the goals. Every success is founded on the ability to endure and confidence that the desired results will be achieved no matter what.

If a football team has no mental strength, they can easily get frustrated if they see things not going as planned. A team can’t turn a game into a draw or win if it is trailing when no mental strength is there as they will lose focus and confidence. For a team to keep fighting despite trailing, the mind must believe and the body language must show confidence.

A team needs to use obstacles of being down as a motivation, believing if they can allow they can also score because they are all using the same ball, field, and have the same numbers of players on the field.

A team if it is leading, if it has mental strength it will keep the lead till the final whistle. It will know that only being focused is the solution to keep fighting and protecting the lead hence it will endure the pressure from the opponents.

Nimbleness or Agility and importance in football

It is the ability to change the body’s position efficiently through the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, and endurance.

For talent to be unearthed and get the best out of it, the body must be willing to adapt to any sort of change. The body must stand firm and grip to its goals.

Agility inculcates all important aspects of football required to get positive results as it combines skill, coordination, speed, and endurance the four most important factors in football.

If a team is down, players’ bodies must not lose skill through frustration but use it in a better way through upping energy levels to unearth hidden skill. A team should also work with time, football is played with time and if a team is not playing to time it might not get a positive result as it will always think it has time on its side and fails to up its game.

So once a team is down, it must know that time is ticking and not on its side hence it must increase the speed by covering a lot of ground to overturn a scoreline.

If a team can’t coordinate and it’s trailing then a loss is the only fate for them, football is teamwork and everyone involved in it must play to the instruction. It must know how to unlock the opposition team by knowing how to play together and how to coordinate each skill.

If a team is leading, it must coordinate and continue playing as a unit to keep the lead. Without coordination, errors will arise and in football, a team is punished through errors that arise from poor coordination. Despite leading, a team should continue playing together and not feel that since they are leading they can do anything. Football is a game of seconds not minutes, every second count.

At the end of it, it is endurance that determines the kind of results a team will reap at the end of a match. A team that is down, if it endures by continuing pushing forward and not tire with hope in its mind, it can overturn any misfortune.

If a team is leading but fails to endure pressure from its opponents, it will be scored and a lead was taken away from it. It needs to continue soaking pressure, continue playing together, and getting past any frustration.

Discipline and it’s importance in football

It is the practice to obey rules and a code of behavior set. Football is a game that is centered on discipline. Without discipline, a team or player can’t go far in the sport. Discipline in football encompasses on-field and off-field behavior.

When on the field, a team should play to the instruction of the coach and referee. A player should never disobey the set rules as he will cost himself and the team. They need to put into practice what they have been practicing in training, they need to play to the tactics of the coach and play to the whistle of the referee. Not at any point should a player get frustrated and do what is not required. The most important aspect here is not getting frustrated.

Off the field, a player should watch his steps and not do anything unstipulated since he is alone and away from the team should he think he can do anything which is prohibited because he is hidden. Nothing is hidden on this earth, what is done out of the field of play will be shown on the field of play.

Football doesn’t allow womanizing, excessive drinking, and binge eating. Womanizing depletes energy levels has it has been found that sex depletes energy like a hard labor job and football needs a lot of energy to play for 90 minutes. Excessive drinking depletes energy levels because all the energies in the body will be channeled to the liver to detoxify alcohol. After all, the liver is a vital organ and needs lots of energy.

It is easier to lose energy than to gain. Binge eating or eating anyhow distorts energy efficiency, certain food doesn’t give much energy and if a player doesn’t choose what to eat, he will end with low energy levels and will not play well. Clubbing also depletes energy levels.

A player will waste the energy, instead of resting to reserve energy, he will go out and have unnecessary fun which will waste his energy levels, and in the morning the time he decides to go home, training or play a match, he won’t have enough energy stores to carry out the task at full strength. These are players we see who fail to play even for an hour in a match.

Womanizing, excessive drinking, binge eating, and clubbing all contribute to poor energy levels and since football is an energy-requiring adventure, a player will fail to perform.

Zambian case of the above

Our players lack consistency during matches, a team or player would come in all guns blazing in the 30 minutes or so but after that, they fade away and fail to sustain the pressure and if a team is not capable of maintaining the good play of pressing opponents high up the pitch and making good passes covering every bit of grass and allowing opponents much space to work with then nothing good it will come out after regulation time.

Our players in most Zambian clubs are lacking full fitness to run even for 45 minutes, only a few can be singled out as exceptions like Jack Chirwa of Green Buffaloes, Kondwani Chiboni, Collins Sikombe, and The exceptional James Chamanga among other serious Professionals.

Indiscipline is one of the few things playing a role cause some of the players live an unpleasant lifestyle of parties and playing a lot besides soccer. All that is lacking in our players is energy levels that is why even the clubs representing the country struggle a lot in CAF competitions a problem which has even crossed over to the national team.

How to solve these problems

Zambian teams need to employ counselors, Nutritionists, and psychologists to counsels the players on how to avoid bad behaviors, the effects of bad vices, the importance of refraining from bad behaviors, and having a good diet. Players need to be taught what good and bad behaviors areas some don’t know and think they can live like any other ordinary human being despite being professional football players.

The above specialists are needed to educate players on the dangers of involving themselves in bad vices. Psychologists are needed to psych the players on how to stay focused, cope up with pressure and frustration especially in CAF competitions where ill-treatment mostly from home teams in the order of the day.

They need to be taught how to refrain from tempting bad vices. The players will burst to the scene and after a few years, they are nowhere to be seen because of bad vices and lack of education on fundamentals like nutrition and discipline.

Body energy requirements are different depending on weight. A player weighing 50 Kg can not be served the same quantity of the food as a player weighing 70 Kg. So a player needs to be given and eat the right quantity of food and for example, when they are in camp they should not be given the same quantity of food. So teams need to employ nutritionists for better advice and monitoring. Not all food gives much energy and it’s not always when a player will need food with much energy, sometimes a player will need food rich in proteins for the production of new cells in the case of injury for quick recovery and all this is a role of a nutritionist.

A footballer should also not eat anyhow and should be selective on what to eat no wonder a nutritionist is needed. Most players have succumbed to this problem as they tire early due early depletion of energy stores.

Teams need to employ physical trainers, some of the players don’t indulge in bad vices and eat the right food to give them enough energy but they fail to maintain the same energy levels the whole 90 minutes. They can’t run past an hour and this is the problem some Zambian teams face when they are playing CAF games which have got teams with better strength and energy levels. Physical trainers are needed to keep the players fit, they need to run the players through the paces of how to keep fit and teach players how to keep fit away from the team.

A lot of players only train when they are with the team when away from the team they stop and this is bad because football is about continued practicing.

Despite employing physical trainers some teams need to give physical trainers the right equipment for them to carry the job effectively. For example, teams need to buy GPS vests that track players when in training alluding to distance covered and time. This gives the physical trainer a clue as to which player is lacking in terms of fitness and how best to improve the player. It also gives them how far a player can go in the match. A thing which some Zambian clubs are lacking and need to invest in.

If teams think this is expensive to carry out then they must know that participating is more expensive than this. Competing reduces the cost. The teams need to start competing not participating to reduce the cost of doing football business. Participating brings honors which comes with more money than participating.

The players also need to have personal managers to manage them outside football. Managers monitor players’ behavior, they tell players how to keep themselves on right track, how to make decisions, what is good for players in terms of transfer moves, what effects certain off-field behaviors have on them.

They are the best advisors to players. So club needs to make their players have managers by developing a policy that prohibits a player not to have a manager and if he doesn’t have one, the club should hire one and deduct money from the players’ salary to pay the manager.

A lot of teams and players worldwide are doing well because of what has been mentioned above. All clubs which have won CAF competitions have all the equipment and people mentioned above no wonder their players don’t tire easily, don’t get frustrated easily and remain focused always.

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One Comment to ZamFoot Blockbuster: Mental strength, Discipline and Nutrition the missing link in Zambian football

  1. Kojak says:

    Ba editor, namipapata, find people to write better and informed articles for you. This one sounded like a young man being told what goes on in football while eating ifisale under a tree! The title and what the writer brings out is so shallow and really a case of “hearsay” kind of stuff. Yet the title provided for what could have been a very well researched and informative piece. You can do better ba Zamfoot. E.g. what data do you have regarding the average Zambian players’ fitness profiles, dietary/nutritional adherence at local clubs, levels of player conditioning, tactical discipline I specific player roles, sports psychology presence etc. rated against other leagues on the continent and the more advanced leagues. Noti amalyashi yamu chitechi. We can do better kwena bane.

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