This time of year is incredibly important for young professional football players. Around this time decisions are being made on youth team players up and down the country on who will be receiving professional contracts and join the professional ranks.  Young players must realise that playing football is a very difficult and demanding Journey.  For the majority this is a very difficult time as some will receive a NO, however, for others the answer will be a yes and a contract will be given.  If this is the case then this is where the hard work really starts and the transition from youth team player full-time professional footballer begins (more on this in another blog!).  For the former and those not given a contract it can be very testing and difficult time as they have not achieved their objective and their beliefs around success and failure will be tested.  They need to be aware that failure at one club does not mean that their football dream is over.  Humans learn through failure and setbacks and become stronger as a result of these so the players must reassess their strengths and their weaknesses whilst becoming aware of what they now need to secure a contract elsewhere.  They must come back stronger and more dedicated; examples of this include Ian Wright and Charlie Austin who both entered professional football later in their careers.  The young players must recognise their fear and feelings towards failure.  Failure is not final so the most important thing during this time is ‘Don’t give up’! 

Players need to reestablish balance quickly.  The decision will severely rock their boat and so they must get balance back quickly to move forward.  They can do this by having a strong social support network and also by having strong reference points towards negative experiences especially that failure is just feedback to then use and become stronger.

The players must maintain control of the controllables.  The decision that has been made they could only influence and the only thing they can really control is their reaction to the decision.  So in the aftermath of the decision they must focus on their controllables and remain positive.  The experience will certainly extend the comfort zone of the player and they will learn from the experience.  This is where we learn the most so if the player can take this learning and improve this could be difference when another opportunity arises.  This whole process is hard work and the young football player must recognise this and bite the bullet and knockdown to working hard, first to recover from the decision as quickly as possible then to learn from the experience and move forward to improve ready for the next opportunity when it presents itself.