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New Bundesliga protocol for sanitized football?

With the resumption of football in Germany, no more hugs and claps in the hands between players, now framed by strict health guidelines. But “the emotion is not dead,” analyze specialists in mental preparation, even if it will be necessary to find new benchmarks.

With the resumption of football in Germany, no more hugs and claps in the hands between players, now framed by strict health guidelines. But “the emotion is not dead,” analyze specialists in mental preparation, even if it will be necessary to find new benchmarks.

(AFP) – “They are like actors who need a person to blow their aftershocks because they have remained in the old text which has evolved since. They have to learn a new scenario, ”says sports psychologist Makis Chamalidis. Faced with the coronavirus pandemic, the German League (DFB) has redesigned the entire architecture of the season, via a draconian 51-page health protocol which has marked the return to the field.

But on Saturday, the players will not find the stage as they left it. Pregnant behind closed doors, ban on shaking hands between players, proscription of effusive celebrations in the event of a goal, physical contact reduced to what is strictly necessary, wearing of a compulsory mask for coaching and substitutes … These restrictive measures open a period unpublished on the field, which is usually the space of free expression of footballers.


Like everyone, professional footballers are currently confined to their homes. In the absence of a match, and even collective training, the Luxembourg international from Paderborn keeps the condition alone at his home and worries about his future.


“It’s like playing against a team from another planet! It’s brand new. Inevitably, it can cause anxiety in some, “said mental coach Manuel Dupuis, who works with professional players in Germany and Belgium. The implementation of the “Protokoll” can seem “contradictory” with competitive sport, where we teach players to let go. It can be a distraction, “it’s not good for concentration,” he continues. “There is a lot of nervousness, but as much motivation to take up again. It is a double-edged sword. It’s like after an injury. If the player is well prepared, the sensations come back quickly. ”

“Weird”

“Preparation” is the keyword: the teams have all been tested by the context of a health crisis which has forced them to review their routine, since training resumed in April. With more or less adaptation time. “It’s breaking the codes that have been established for decades,” says Grenoble coach (L2) Philippe Hinschberger.

“At first, it was weird,” said Freiburg French midfielder Jonathan Schmid before the bans on showering at the training center or training with all his teammates. But we must quickly adapt to this new situation. “There is no time to waste for clubs,” says Makis Chamalidis. “We must reduce the time of astonishment, of surprise, by a form of anticipation. The teams that adapt the quickest will have an advantage. ”

“Players who need benchmarks, very specific rituals, will be more destabilized. Those who are more intuitive will be less so, ”thinks Manuel Dupuis. “But once you’re inside, that endorphins are released, I think the urge to play will pass over.”

New codes

Endorphin to relieve the evils of sanitized football: passion will continue to circulate on the lawn, even if it has to take other forms. “The emotion is not dead!” We can create emotions without kissing, without talking to each other. Simply by an attitude, a radiant behavior. When you are passionate, when you have a positive emotion, you know how to appropriate it. The players will easily have it, ”argues Denis Troch, former Amiens coach who has become a mental coach.

To celebrate a goal, despite the restrictions, “the players will find choreographies, gestures, surprising things of imagination, which will allow them to get out of their usual reflexes. Things that will make sense to them, ”he continues. Teams “can develop codes to encourage each other. It is interesting for cohesion, ”says Makis Chamalidis.

In South Korea, where the championship kicked off last weekend, the scorers created a thumbs-up gesture in support of the nursing staff, which was picked up in several stadiums. There were also more goals, and fewer yellow cards, than the average on the first day. A taste of the resumption of “Fussball” in Germany?


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