Let me first welcome you all to the second instalment of my weekly column, Ryan’s Corner, and today I will focus on the basics and the importance of self-care as an athlete. Today I want to place special emphasis on young and aspiring footballers back home in Namibia, just to share some tips and insights on how one starts and makes to the top leagues.
In any football setup, you have to start with the basics and I remember starting off at Blackburn Rovers under 23 side and the individual meetings I had with the coaches, they would often ask; “what do you want to achieve this season?”
I constantly responded by saying I want to play for the first team! But the coaches told me “no you can’t get there without mastering the basics first!” because I was naive to think that if I just keep playing eventually I will end up in the first team.
So the coaches taught me basics and other little things that can turn any player into a good footballer. It takes a lot of patience because the basics can be repetitive but unfortunately in order master the basics you have to humble yourself and grind on.
During those many training sessions, we did ball basic ball control techniques, basic long and short ball passing, heading the ball and other others. What I am trying to say to my younger fellow footballers is that before you fully embark on the chase for the stars, it is important that you master the basics and get the little things right. The little steps are what gets you close to your dream.
Now in order to get to the top leagues and remain relevant for your dream team for a reasonable period of time, it is important for one to take good care of him or herself as it is the most important aspect of them all.
Being physically and mentally in top shape is important for any footballer, especially at the early stage of your career – hence the importance of looking after your most prized asset, your body.
Personally, I don’t drink alcohol and to be honest, it [alcohol] has no long or short term benefits to the health of a footballer. I don’t let my friends influence me either. Mentally you have you to feed yourself with positive thoughts, I know it’s hard to remain disciplined but you have to do it for the benefit of your career. You can’t have a flourishing career without a healthy you, therefore it is important to put your wellbeing first.
Be great, love yourself and take care of yourself. We leave it here for this week and until next week, see you on the other side of the corner!