Jude Bellingham: Mental strength and success

September 07, 2023

Jude Bellingham should be more appreciated for the achievements of Borussia Dortmund in the 2022/2023 season than some media reporters have done. Today, the Dortmund team lacks not only the football skills, but above all the mental strength of Jude Bellingham. Borussia Dortmund has shown with only 5 points achieved against relatively weak opponents in 3 games that the departure of Jude Bellingham is harder to cope with than one might assume. He was the mentally strongest Dortmund leader in the 2022/2023 season and his achievements were very much linked to his appearance in training and during the games. One can assume that if Jude had appeared in the last Dortmund game, Dortmund would have won the game against FSV Mainz 05 and become German champion of the 2022/2023 season. Jude Bellingham also proved his mental strength as a national player of England and also showed his footballing qualities. But no one had guessed that he had integrated so quickly into the winning team Real Madrid. In this case, he also owes a bit to the best coach in the world Carlo Ancelotti, who not only brought him, but also invented the optimal position in the team for him.

Sometimes the behavior of some even renowned coaches gives pause for thought. They forget that just one wrongly occupied position already reduces the chances of winning by an average of about 9% (1/11). This value increases and becomes larger for the goalkeeper position and defenders. Other mistakes by coaches include dealing with the mistakes made by the players during the game. Of course, one has to accept mistakes, but not those when the player passes the ball to the opponent 5 times in relatively short intervals or the other one reaches his own position too late 5 times as a defender and only runs behind the attackers of the opponent. It is also not acceptable that in attack one does not pass to the better positioned colleague 5 times to create a 100% chance, only tries to shoot without success. And this behavior, when such a game fraught with errors is accepted by the coach, is counterproductive for the emergence and demand of a winner type culture. But how did Jude Bellingham achieve his mental strength and above all how can he call it up practically in every game? You would have to ask him this question directly! One can assume that a team without winner types, that is mentally strong players, will not achieve great success. At the moment, Manchester City stands out when it comes to the largest number of winner types they have in their team. This even goes hand in hand with the titles won in the 2023 season including including the CHL.

How did such players as Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewandowski, and earlier Pele, Maradona combine outstanding football skills with mental strength, which enabled them to play the role of absolute leaders? One can be tempted to make a simplified statement that a player can only think responsibly and creatively during a game when his physical preparation also allows him to maintain concentration at a high level throughout the game.

Sometimes one gets the impression that football clubs pay too little attention to the mental development of young players. On the other hand, it seems that also recognized football clubs carry out the psycho-physical training, which influences the development and maintenance of mental strength to a large extent, in an insufficient way. These forms of training such as: visualizing, breathing etc. can be practiced individually through yoga, Tai Chi etc. More and more players, including among others Müller, Haaland, Götze, practice yoga and emphasize its benefits for staying fit. The career story of Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal in the final of the World Cup Argentina-Germany, remains noteworthy. Due to health problems it seemed that he would end his career! He came back to form thanks to training among others with elements of yoga etc. The club managers who decide on the training methods should consider to what extent for example methods to increase the psycho-physical performance of athletes could be supplemented by such outstanding personalities from this area as Yasin Seiwasser, who teaches how to preserve calmness in stress according to the motto: “Only calmness in stress is true calmness”.