After over 20 years in professional football, former Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg decided to hang up his gloves and take on a new and exciting role tackling one of the island’s most fundamental sporting issues, mental performance.
Instead of stepping away from the game, Hogg has joined the Malta Football Association as a mental performance coach – a role that encompasses training youths to have the appropriate skills and mindset to become holistic athletes, both on and off the pitch.
“I decided it was time to give back to our young guys in ways that we never had,” Hogg told Lovin Malta.
Maltese football has never had a dedicated mental performance coach before, meaning players are taught the physical aspect of the game without much guidance on how to prepare mentally for challenges ahead.
As such, most youth players are unprepared to take the next step in their career, resulting in many choosing to settle for a career here instead of moving abroad to more competitive leagues.
However, the same cannot be said for the crop of local female players, who are faced with more challenges and stumbling blocks at a young age because of their gender, and develop a maturity that has seen many take their talent abroad with resounding success.
“The world of sports is evolving and unfortunately it’s athletes who don’t tune in and get their brains trained that will end up being left behind,” Hogg continued.
“It’s time to look at an athlete from a holistic perspective,” he said.
In addition to collecting over 60 caps with the national team, Hogg also ventured abroad to advance his career, with goalkeeping stints at Enosis Neon Paralimni in Cyprus and AEL Kalloni in Greece.
With over 20 years of experience both in domestic and foreign leagues, the Maltese goalkeeper has been able to identify gaps in youth development, and hopes to impart what he has learned to the upcoming generation.
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“I think that our youngsters do not understand the necessity of sacrifice, and whilst they have the ‘want’ to become elite athletes, are unaware of the method to get there,” he said.
“I think that in today’s world of intense competition, every athlete should have a mental skills framework, not only to navigate through the hard times but also in order to develop into more competent individuals.”
In addition to mental performance coaching, Hogg will also be the goalkeepers’ coach for the U-19 national team.
“I expect to assist in the development of our athletes, teach them how to unlock their full potential, and help them adopt the professional behaviours needed to achieve their goals,” he ended.
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