In recent years there has been a growing appreciation for the role of sports psychologist in elite soccer. The majority of soccer clubs now have a full time sports psychologist working with the players as they have identified that soccer requires players to have a positive mindset and have the skill to focus on the processes on what could help them perform to the best of their ability.
Soccer especially requires players to be mentally tough. However, this is an often used term (mostly inaccurately) and means different things to different people. Steve Bull who is a researcher on this domain has written extensively on MT and suggests that MT consists of 12 items (such as having total belief in yourself and not being affected by off field problems). But for some coaches MT is something about responding to a difficult situation (like a telling off) and not getting disheartened, which is, of course a total miscomprehension of what MT is.
It appears that the culture of soccer is inhibiting the quality of quality players as only the players who can negotiate their way around the culture survive, not those who are necessarily the most talented. At present becoming a professional and any type of selection requires the player to be accepted by those around him. You have to be able to fit into the group. In soccer, as with a lot of professional sports, the ability to take a scolding is one of the requisites of gaining acceptance. In fact if you give a bit back this can endear you to the group! Interestingly, there was recently an interview with an academy director at one of the most renowned academies in England. He stated that the underlying factor he looks for in potential professionals is an ability to bounce back from disappointment.
Premier UK would like the culture to change. Our aim is to allow the players to explore rather than being told what to do all the time. We want our players to play without fear as we are aware that this can have a detrimental affect on a players decision making. Furthermore, as coaches we recognise the need to treat players as people. Although culture change is slow things are looking positive as there is a new breed of coaches with fresh ideas to move the game forward. Premier UK coaches are a prime example of this.