New Year, New You

Post-Christmas blues? Talent coach Richard Nugent explains how to get that enthusiasm back

Reset your goals

I always get the players to think of January as a grading point: “How have you performed in the first part of the season?” Somebody may have set themselves high goals in pre-season to stretch themselves, but then they get to Christmas and realise those goals may be unachievable. Of course, that demotivates players, so making more realistic, shorter-term targets will get players refocused for the coming months.

Treat yourself

Getting new equipment is a great way to keep yourself motivated and renew your enthusiasm for the game. Get some new baselayer and gloves to battle the cold – maybe even new boots. I still see players in their mid-thirties get excited when they get new kit. You will be more motivated in training, enjoy your football and you won’t even notice the weather.

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Keep yourself active

It’s important, especially for amateur players, who will face bigger gaps between games in the winter, to keep active. Whether that’s going for a run or a bit of five-a-side with your friends, it’s very important to keep ticking over and get out and about to counter the effects of an indulgent festive period. Even something as simple as going for a walk will help.

Spend free time together as a team

January will see games getting called off because of frozen pitches; as a result, you’ll go through long periods without playing or training. The key here is to get the team together – whether that’s for training sessions or in a social context. This will strengthen team spirit, which is invaluable when games are rescheduled and the fixture list becomes congested.

Don’t let the cold weather put you off

At the most testing time of the season, your team will need you now more than ever. If you suddenly decide you don’t fancy a long away trip to play in the cold, then you are letting your team-mates down. Worse still, the player taking your place may have the game of his life, and suddenly you’re fighting to get back in the side.

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