The objective of the FLAME project is to contribute to mental health, well-being, and social-emotional development of players in football academies throughout Europe. We want to (further) enhance the knowledge, tools, and skills applied in football academies to create an environment in which players can flourish both in and beyond the game.
Football academies can offer an ideal environment for young players to build resilience, learn mental skills, and develop psychologically. However, in order to achieve this, much more needs to be done to ensure that players are properly supported in this area. This may mean that coaches need to become more familiar with psychological and pedagogical aspects and the issues faced by young players. Clubs should be encouraged and given guidance to help them to appoint the best qualified staff to offer psychological support directly to the players. Educating players and parents about the psychological demands of becoming a footballer is also something that merits attention.
After being involved in football over many years and in different countries, we are very clear that clubs understand that psychological health, well being, social-emotional development and football performance are interlinked.