Sports psychology should be available to up-and-coming teenage footballers, according to former Celtic striker Cillian Sheridan.
Sheridan was speaking to Thursday’s OTB AM about his football career and the many countries around the world that it has taken him to, but also what he should have done when he was younger.
"I don’t know if I’d say it’s a regret but I wish I’d [tried sports psychology] earlier on in my career."
Although Sheridan believes that being introduced to sports psychology could be of huge benefit to many young footballers, they won’t necessarily be convinced of its importance.
"If you push it on someone they’re not really going to buy into it. They’ll just go to it because they have to. I think it needs to be something where players want to go and do it.
"If they’re doing it the other way, they’re not being honest with themselves and they’re not being honest with whoever they’re working with, I don’t think it really works.
"But definitely to introduce them to it or put the idea into their heads then obviously is a start to it, I think."
If they’re not being honest with themselves and they’re not being honest with whoever they’re working with, I don’t think it really works...
When Sheridan moved from Cyprus to Poland to play with Jagiellonia Białystok, he started off strong but had to learn to deal with the negativity coming from the fans and the press after experiencing a slight dip in form.
"I probably started too good if anything and after that the expectations were that I had to score nearly every game. Then if I went a few games without scoring I was the worst player they’d ever had."
Sheridan has recently moved to New Zealand to play with Wellington Phoenix, where he again started brightly for his new club, with the New Zealand Herald labelling him an ‘instant hero.’
The Cavn-born striker certainly made a good impression with Phoenix manager Mark Rudan, who was shown a yellow card due to expletives after Sheridan helped set up a goal for the Wellington-based side.
"I missed it all obviously, I was celebrating, but one of the lads afterwards was saying it was quite funny."
Words: Eoin Harte