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The importance of psychology in developmental football

Good evening Mr. Achilleas, tell us a few words about you and your field of psychology.

Good Evening! I was born in 1974 in Naoussa, Imathia , Greece. I work as a psychologist and as a communication specialist. In the simplest possible terms, the object of my work is to help the athlete to improve to the ideal for himself or herself the same level of efficiency in the sport in which he / she is engaged but at the same time to guide him / her to discover ways to improve his / her personality. Because sport is not just about performance. They are also character, they are also social relations, they are also goals for the future of our life.

How did you involve in football?

I was enchanted by the voice of the great Giannis Diakogiannis as he described the big football events, I cried with the disqualifation of the great Brazil, which I supported, from Italy in the 1982 World Cup, I was obsessed with the emblematic celebration of Marco Tardelli in the second goal of Italy in Germany in the final of that unforgettable World Cup for me. The first one I have memories of as a child and the best so far in my opinion along with that of 1986 in Mexico.

Did you want to follow the field of psychology from a young age or did it emerge along the way?

It emerged along the way. From a young age, however, I enjoyed paying attention to and analyzing the details of people's thinking and behavior. Through study, which I have always liked, I learned to see the way thoughts of book heroes and writers. I was learning without understanding the meaning of empathy. To "get in the other's shoes". Growing up I realized that psychology can help people achieve balance in life. And this is what I try to do, with patience, constant updating of knowledge and dedication.

How important role does psychology play in a child's soul?

An important role in the child's soul is played by love, acceptance, inspiration, balance, harmony, joy, smile, motivation, the right and healthy standards, the sense of belonging. Psychology is a field that can deepen the child's soul, understand its needs, identify its hierarchies, explore ways of optimal learning, decode its fears and suggest ways of better communication, interaction and cooperation with parents. their children as well as the coaches with their children - athletes.

This was a good "pass" to tell us a few words about your new book "Pass to the soul" that has already been published. What is its content?

The book is an attempt to see football in the developmental ages from a different perspective. Firstly in the book is not the coaching methods and analysis techniques but the psychological and communicative interactions between children - athletes, parents and coaches. The first plea in the book is not the football we see but the football we feel. Learning, motivation, mentality, talent, leadership, self-confidence, goal setting, criticism and punishment, reward, inspiration, teamwork, stress management, are the sections that are analyzed.

How does psychology affect an adult footballer and how does a child?

The key word is the word "Management". An adult theoretically has more psychological tools at his disposal to manage and overcome obstacles while a child does not yet. Beyond that, the opportunities, the obstacles, the levels of difficulty, the joys, the sorrows, the fears, the shame, the guilt, the remorse, are experienced proportionally and the same at every age.

We are going through a difficult and unprecedented period for everyone, how much does this situation affect players and coaches?

Uncertainty, insecurity, mental fatigue, fear for the future, financial problems, inability to adapt to new data, frustration, anger at the loss of self-control of our lives are the negative consequences of this unprecedented period. On the other hand, this difficult period gives us the opportunity to "train" in new, demanding and chaotic conditions that as athletes and coaches we will often encounter in our lives. Crisis management and stress management that requires adaptability, composure, clear mind, patience, good goal setting, proper communication with our social environment, in order to come out stronger and wiser from this difficult time.

Can a developmental age coach greatly positively or negatively affect a child's psychology?

A developmental age coach ALWAYS influences a child's psychology with every behavior and action. There is no neutrality. And it is the responsibility of every coach to be a healthy role model for the child who coaches. A model who not only tries to do the right thing by working hard for it but also a model who is not afraid to admit the mistake, is not afraid to demystify the mistake, does not hesitate to encourage children to consider the mistake as another learning step in the way. A good coach is a divine gift for a child-athlete. He is the one who will show him the way but will teach the child to go where he wants alone, based on his own special skills and his own special way of perception, learning and awareness. Let's not forget that today's great coaches like Guardiola or Mourinho, were lucky enough to learn a lot in their youth alongside emblematic coaching personalities like Johan Cruyff or Bobby Robson.

Finally, I would like you to give us a phrase from your book that can positively affect the coach's attitude towards the child, and why not, redefine his approach and style.

I will share with you two:

"Talent is like a compass needle. "Wherever you direct it, in the end it will always turn where it is magnetized."


"Sports in developmental age should not focus on one child who will become a 'star' but on the thousands who will not become one."

Thank you Mr. Achilleas for the interview and your time

We wish you all the best in your important work.



Let's face it! Realism is an element that should not be missed in any training session.

Nowadays, training tends to be repetitive without giving the necessary emphasis to detail. And to some basic football habits, every coach should emphasize not only the quality of the energy but also the way it is achieved.

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