I am sixteen years old and I used to consider myself decent. My position is usually RW/RM. But lately I can't understand what is happening to me. The main part of my game is my dribbling, and for this, I have always been very fast and could accelerate very well. This was when I was around fourteen years of age.

Now though, I can't seem to sprint. I can't accelerate, I can't reach my top speed. I don't have that energy, explosiveness that I once had, anymore. This is where, what I believe, my mental problem starts to take place. My legs always feel heavy during matches. Even when we do warm-ups before the match. This has happened for maybe around two seasons now. I see people my own age in my school and my football club still accelerating and sprinting, while I am slower and heavier.

When I was younger I scored around 25+ goals three seasons consecutively, then I injured my knee. Ever since then, mentally I just can't seem to use my legs. I can't control right, I can't do anything. I've recently moved club to see if this would help and now I just feel nervous and small. I feel that if I make a mistake, that's it, everyone will judge. I've also noticed that everyone around me is more 'developed' (running gag that I'm the most pre pubescent one in the team). I'm skinny and haven't really grown much in my eyes.

  • Note: Game days I don't eat much, if anything, because I get to nervous.

Someone please help, I'm sick of feeling like this. I just wan't to enjoy football again.

  • For me...I get that sometimes. Especially with basketball (I play football too). It might be a mental problem, aside from the physicals. I sometimes find I lose my passion for a sport temporarily, especially when something like feelings of slowness happens. Take a week off if you can to see if you can recover. You mention you haven't grown much, well in that case it might be that you are the same speed, but everyone has grown too, and become quicker. In that case, keep training hard, you are only 16. Don't give up, I began sport properly at 17 and grew to the quickest on my team (23 now) Jun 28, 2016 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


This is kind of outside of the scope of the PF SE but you seem genuinely in need.

First point of call would be to talk to your parents, you are saying you are feeling pushed too much into the older team and dealing with the changes in your body.

You are 16 and hopefully you understand what puberty is and you are feeling the very real effects of it on your body. Your limbs are growing at a drastic rate and as a result your body control (balance, ability to produce controlled explosive power, etc.) is weakening. The more senior members of your team have had a few years experience in dealing with the changes and so are more food-sure. There is nothing you can do to slow down your bodies development and everyone develops differently and at different rates.

Practically there are some things you can do to help:

  • Do more football, the more you practice the movements, the better you will be. You should be practicing at least 4 times a week for a hour each time on drills and game skills.
  • Eat proper food, I understand that your diet may be influenced by your parents significantly but try to make sure they are feeding you the fuel you need to develop. You shouldn't really be eating tonnes of sugar and processed food if you want to reach peak potential.
  • Talk to someone, be it a parent, coach, teacher, student support, etc. Chatting through a issue with someone may help you come up with ways to fix it.
  • Do another activity, football is not the be-all of sport. Like with weightlifting, people practice assistant lifts (dumbell fly, incline press) to help with major lifts (bench press). You can use the same principle; martial arts/boxing are great sports to pick up (even for just 2 sessions a week) and will help you with both balance and developing explosive power. If you like the idea of being strong you could consider a powerlifting/Olympic lifting class in your area, i'm sure most of the coaches would love the idea of a young guy wanting to start lifting.

Finally, relax! Do what you enjoy and don't worry about others. Only measure success against your own achievements. Set some goals and work towards them.

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