Football

How Cillian Sheridan Is Using Sports Psychology To Prepare For Whatever's Next

How Cillian Sheridan Is Using Sports Psychology To Prepare For Whatever's Next

These are interesting times for Cillian Sheridan. The 30-year-old striker, whose prolificacy as a goalscorer has brought him to Parkhead, Nicosia, Bialystok and Wellington, now finds himself back in Cavan, as his home county pursue their first Ulster final appearance this century.

Sheridan is without a club. Free agency means limbo for all footballers. For Sheridan, whose passport may have the most exotic stamps of anyone in the history of Irish football, that limbo might be that bit more acute because it seems he could end up in almost any football league on the planet.

We were interested to see Sheridan pop up on Joe Hart's on Instagram Story this week, at a sports psychology retreat for footballers. The course was run by Jamie Edwards, a former basketball player turned performance coach who's worked in the past with the likes of Gareth Bale, Luke Shaw and Hart. Sheridan has worked on-and-off with Edwards for a few seasons. He embarked on the camp this week with Hart and a few others as a way to reset his approach to the game on the back of a disappointing spell in New Zealand and ahead of a new season with an unknown club.

"There was just a few of us [footballers] there. Everyone was working together and working off each other. Jamie was giving us techniques and exercises for certain situations. His thing is called Train The Brain. He likes to work on the brain, with mental exercises.

"We didn’t do any exercises or running around. It was basically a mental preparation for the season or whatever’s next. A few of the lads who were there  aren’t sure where they’re going next. It was all about getting ready for what's next."

"When you see the likes of Joe Hart there, someone who's been there and done it at the stop, who's still a goalkeeper in Premier League, it just shows you it's not just for players in a bad way. It's for the top players who are looking to make themselves that bit better

Sheridan has warmed to the potential of sports psychology over the course of his career. He started embracing it after meeting Offaly-born sports psychologist Niall Stack over in Nicosia. Stack works with the Tipp footballers and provided a bedrock for Sheridan for better understanding his game.

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"In my experience, I've always found the difference between the great players and the very good ones has been mentality."

Sheridan is philosophical about his time in Wellington - 'it didn't work out'. He currently finds himself in uncharted territory, with a extended summer holiday.  He played his last game of the season on May 3, coming on as a sub in Wellington's 3-1 loss to Melbourne in the A-League playoffs and now finds himself in Cavan waiting for his next club.

"I'm just trying to keep myself ready. It’s strange because it’s gone on for so long. For the past five years, I had to be back for the European cup qualifiers, so I only had about two weeks off for the summer."

Regardless, Sheridan is confident that he'll be joining a new club shortly. In the meantime, he's hoping to be there in Clones Sunday, cheering on Cavan against Donegal.

 

 

Donny Mahoney

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