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How to feel better playing football

5 things we learned in The School of New Football's first masterclass

How to feel better playing football 5 things we learned in The School of New Football's first masterclass

The School of New Football is here, a free-to-access academy with a series of masterclasses that talk about the things in football that no one else will: awareness, beating pressure, making comebacks and how to build healthy leadership. In the first masterclass, Filippo D'Asaro interviewed Fabio QuagliarellaDavide Coppo (Rivista Undici) and Daniele Manusia (Ultimo Uomo) who talked about the emotional personal experience linked to football and how to feel better playing football.

At any level you play, you can smile for a win or cry for a defeat. Football is a physical activity, yes, but with a very strong impact on a person's emotionality: likewise to those who play for leisure, even pros feel the joy of a goal scored on the pitch with friends, the weight of a penalty and the pressure from a deafening audience. Team spirit is one of the fundamental elements in football and these define our mental well-being that comes from sport. Talking about mental well-being, especially after the pandemic, means worrying about a real and tangible aspect of everyone's daily life.

Together with Nike we want to build a future for football where the game is a safe and judgment-free space. We want everyone to be comfortable and confident in who they are when they are on the football pitch. We talked about this and much more in the first TSONF session and, for those who were unable to register and participate, here is a brief recap of the responses of our guests.

  • How to reset and manage mental well-being

"Mental stress is at its highest level already in the final part of the season, when there are goals to be achieved. Being part of a competition means a lot but increases the stress and the players - who are people like everyone and live emotionally like the others - don't rest. In that off month for the fans, the players train trying not to think about their next match. Personally, in a key moments, I tried to isolate myself to find the balance that leads me to mental well-being: I try to read the newspapers less, I use social networks less, I relax to be ready for right moment. Off-pitch moments with your teammates are essential and help you feel good".
Fabio Quagliarella

  • How emotion has changed in football

 "At whatever level you play, football drags you emotionally. This makes a difference on an empathic level, just as I think it makes a difference as the story of the players has changed. The Western social and cultural context is courageously turning the page, detoxifying itself from a narrative that was always ready to blame and question the desire of a player. "
Daniele Manusia

  • How to find mental balance and manage stress

"It's a process that is internalized with experience. Throughout my career, I have seen so many players bow to the weight of responsibility and pressure. I believe that balance is needed and this balance passes through essential moments, both in football and in life. There will be times when you score more frequently and it will be important to keep your feet on the ground and not get too carried away by enthusiasm. There will be more difficult times, where the results are not positive and it will be important not to be crushed and not given up. It takes balance and the veterans are very useful in the management of a dressing room".
Fabio Quagliarella

  • The evolution of the cultural approach to the problem of mental well-being

"We are all football players, some professionals like Fabio and some amateurs like those who play with friends. And everyone feels the pressure and performance anxiety, at any level. What may seem like such a bad thing is now taking on different forms thanks to the change of a society more open to dialogue on these issues. In the UK, for example, the media have lost that need to have the scoop and are moving in a more humane and sensitive direction. There is talk of football as a cultural central movement and it is a very important change to improve the mental well-being of the players".
Davide Coppo

  • What it means to feel good playing football

"Beyond everything, I believe that football is a tool to feel good. As soon as I have the chance, I play. Whether it's with friends or even when I'm on vacation, I need to play. I do it because football makes me feel good and it allows you to achieve that physical and mental well-being that is essential for me. I can't find that feeling that football gives me to feel good all the way through".
Fabio Quagliarella


Take part in one of the free masterclasses of The School of New Football: every day until Friday 9th there will be a meeting with players, former champions and football communities to listen to the experiences of those who live football directly. Discover the calendar and sign up for the session you prefer by clicking here.