Our Greatest Strength and Vulnerability Are Closely Aligned

Marc Forrest is considered one of England’s most exciting coaches. With an impressive Futsal background in addition to working within Football and Para Football providing a modern, forward-thinking outlook and approach to player development. With first-hand experience of managing international players, student-athletes and young people, Marc has a comprehensive understanding of the modern-day pressures young men and women face and how their thoughts can influence their feelings and behaviours on and off-court.

“At times the daily pressures associated with life can become overwhelming for everyone whether these are linked to education, employment, relationships, or more likely a combination of a number of factors. Often young people may feel that no one will understand them potentially due to generational differences or their specific personal circumstances. Maybe it is the anguish of feeling that they are not coping as they should.

 Our lives are all unique and rather than that being the reason why no one will understand, in reality it forms the perfect basis for conversation in which we can relate to one another through personal experiences and gain support. We are bonded by our emotions but the context in which they manifest may differ, that doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

I am a believer that our greatest strength and vulnerability are closely aligned and in moments of adversity, difficulty or upset, the origin of our feelings come from an admirable and positive place. For example, personally I like to be attentive but it can lead me to overthink. Likewise players who feel frustration are often incredibly passionate and committed. In negative moments trying to identify the positive origin can allow you to help rationalise your feelings or behaviours, convey them to another person or re-adjust and utilise in a more productive or positive way”

We live in a world where many of our current generations only know an ‘instant culture’ where more often than not success is linked to the ability to achieve a goal via a shortcut offering ease and convenience.. You can buy something at the click of a button or with the tap of a card. Social media platforms, dating apps, gaming consoles, and messaging apps are all forms of convenience and enable instant communication to and from anywhere in the world as well as instant short-term gratification through likes, shares, and interaction. 

Bearing this in mind, the fulfillment of long-term goals should not be underestimated despite the apprehension of setbacks and unpredictability. Setbacks are not something for us to evade as they are just an inevitable part of healthy learning and growth.

Sport and the game itself are full of highs and lows with no fast track route to an end goal. Players do not need to put themselves under pressure to achieve overnight success. Instead, embrace the process of playing and developing with the gratification of the small wins along the way that no doubt will lead to long-term success. Ultimately, surround yourself with people that want what is the best for you, focus on what you are capable of controlling.

With regards to the aspects, you cannot control, talk and manage them with the input of your support network as best you can. As coaches, we have a duty of care and responsibility to support the welfare and development of every individual encompassing an understanding of the importance of mental health and the challenges faced by the modern player.

Additionally, social media can also act somewhat as a parallel universe in which people present the highlights of their life and at times it could seem that you may be the only person struggling but in truth everyone faces different challenges every day and there is always someone that can relate to how you are feeling. It is important to view social media with a pinch of salt and to avoid drawing false comparisons but instead to use it as a valuable tool for connecting and spreading positivity.”

From my experience, I believe one of the biggest pitfalls for a young person is determining your own ‘success’ based on comparisons to others or relating to where you think you ‘should’ be at a certain age linked to traditional timelines,  preconceived ideas, and dated ideologies. Even within a team setting, every player has his own qualities that contribute to the diversity and characteristics of the collective group, with variations in differing maturation and long-term development needs. As coaches, we want players to express their personality through their play and not create robots. Ideally, we want them to be creative, intuitive, and ambitious.

 It can be easy not to follow ambitions or be knocked off course by the fear of judgement from others leading to insecurities and self-doubt. In life and as a player, for me it is about committing to your decisions with the intention of giving your best and in the end either you will achieve your best or your best will become better based on the knowledge and experience you acquire.

 Everyone has a different story to tell, each as valid as the next and it is important to remember sometimes the best moments in life are the result of circumstances we could not have foreseen or in ways, we could not have imagined.

If you’d like to reach out Marc Forrest or learn more about his career, he’s available on Instagram @marcdforrest

Photo credit – Ana Mihajlovic

*All articles written on fcnotalone.com express the views of our writers. Whilst these are mostly aligned with our beliefs, they remain the independent opinions of our contributors.*