John O’Brien insisted in an interview ELF Football Magazine The importance of psychologists in the world of football. The American was under contract with Ajax between 1999 and 2005, during which time the use of psychologists in the football world was certainly not.
In the United States national team where O’Brien played in 32 international tournaments, the use of a psychologist was already normal. Before the 2002 and 2006 World Cups we were already working with a psychologist. During my last time in Ajax, I was very injured and I talked to a psychologist too. I especially enjoyed talking to him when I was injured, “said O’Brien, who holds a doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology after his football career and is now a physician.
“Psychologists are trained to make you feel comfortable,” the American continues. “They want to understand you, don’t judge. The psychologists I spoke to were open and intelligent. I didn’t feel any stress. The football world would be stressed,” O’Brien said.
‘As an Ajax 1 player I do not feel safe or trusted’
In Ajax, he says, the left foot does not feel itself. ‘Looking back now at the time I was a player on Ajax 1, from my role as a psychologist, I did not feel safe or confident. It has to do with me and my environment. It was hard to show my different pages. ‘
O’Brien notes that the football world is very competitive. For example, footballers are constantly evaluated and as a footballer you will always be involved in a match. You soon learn not to talk about setbacks or certain emotions. I had friends outside of football in Amsterdam who did not understand what to do with them. I am a young American abroad. If you surround yourself with so many feelings and thoughts in your body, you will lose yourself. When you face high stress, it is difficult to know about yourself. In Ajax, before a psychologist came along, I remember the team doctor was first appointed as someone you could talk to.
And the latter, according to O’Brien, did not work. “It’s not a safe environment,” he said. ‘A doctor has a medical background and often talks to staff about all sorts of things. Back then, I remember talking to Marco van Boston, who was coaching the second team. He also said he spoke to a psychologist during his time in Milan. He finished it at one point. I was curious to know more about myself. ‘
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