fbpx

Don MacNaughton Coaching

Ryan Christie- Positive Mindset & Resilience 

“When I’m playing or in training, nothing else matters. The sheer joy of playing football is something I hope I never lose.” – Ryan Christie

Ryan Christie, Bournemouth and Scotland midfielder, has always been football daft. He grew up surrounded by football influences, not least his dad (Charlie Christie, player and coach) and admits to having no idea what he would have done had he not become a professional footballer. 

Passion for the Game

As a teenager, he can remember times when he became aware of the difference between his lifestyle and that of other 15-year-old lads. There were moments of feeling that he was missing out by not going out on a Saturday night, but with matches being played on a Sunday, his focus stayed with football. He says,

“Sometimes I felt I was missing out when I was in my bed early on a Saturday, but when I was playing well on a Sunday, that trumped it for me.” 

Football was (and still is) what he loved, and when you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. He says,

“Something I noticed in all the coaches I had in my youth and early career was their passion. The common denominator was their passion for coaching, and they brought an energy with them in everything they did.” 

Striving for More

Ryan’s professional career began at Inverness, but then signing for Celtic gave him a whole new challenge. He says,

“There was a big change in training intensity straight away, and that took a bit of adjusting, but I was always looking to improve.”

Going on loan from Celtic to Aberdeen proved to be just what he needed to develop as a player and a person. He says,

“In training at Celtic, I could see the first team out on the park and I wanted to be a part of that. I was still playing football for the joy of it, but the push and the competitiveness to get there was beginning to come in. I got my chance to play for the first team, but I wasn’t getting the chance to play every week. Going on loan to Aberdeen was perfect for me. Some think of being loaned out as being taken out of the picture, but this wasn’t the case. The chance to play straight away at Aberdeen gave me the chance to develop, and this meant I could go back to Celtic a better player.”

Gaining Confidence

The opportunity to play not only improved Ryan’s physically game, he also gained confidence, becoming stronger mentally as well as physically. He says,

“When I was at Inverness, I was the young lad moving up. If I did well, great, if I didn’t, it was to be expected. After the move to Celtic, I had to step up. Playing with Aberdeen gave me the chance to develop as a player and to manage that step. I went back to Celtic from Aberdeen much stronger mentally.”

On first arriving at Celtic from Inverness, Ryan had accepted that he was the new lad and that he’d be on the bench or in the stands, but after coming back from Aberdeen, he knew he wanted to be in the team and, crucially, he says,

“I felt good enough to be in the team.”

Taking It Game by Game

Now playing three games a week, he had been given the opportunity to prove himself, and he not only took it, he ran with it. He says,

“I was just taking it game by game, but I felt I’d made my mark, and I felt I belonged in the Celtic team. Although you’re trying to just live in the moment as a player, you’re also looking over your shoulder because in a team like Celtic, you know there are always players coming up behind you, ready to take your spot. Rather than get paralysed by fear, I was always looking to improve.”

Positive Mindset

Something Ryan has experienced firsthand is the power of social media to affect your mental health. He says,

“Social media can be hard to handle. I don’t think the public know what it’s like to be on the other side of it, and to be in the players’ shoes. As a young player, it’s hard not to look at what people are saying – even when you try not to. When it’s good, you almost like it, but then you’re caught up looking for other positive reports. Of course, it then flips, and if you’re relying on the “good” as acceptance, negativity kills your confidence. Something I had to learn was that you don’t need to listen to everybody’s opinion, you need to be able to block the external noise out – there’s more to you than your performance on the pitch on a Saturday. Outside forces don’t know who you are.” 

New Challenge

Having now signed for Bournemouth, Ryan has moved into a new challenge in his career. He says,

“It was a tough decision to move from Celtic, a team that so many people dream of playing for, so it feels a bit like you’re giving up an opportunity you’ve been given. But, it felt like the right time to try making the move, almost a now or never, when I’m at the right age to develop my game more in England. I’ve won trophies with Celtic, been part of an amazing team, but playing in the Scottish premier league, you tend to win by big goal margins. In the English Championship, every team you play is a threat and you need to be switched on. If you don’t play well, these teams are going to punish you.”

It’s fair to say that Ryan’s decision to move south of the border wasn’t popular with everyone, but he knows that the opinions of others don’t matter. His undying love for football and his desire to keep pushing forward to achieve his full potential is his driving force. He says,

“When I arrived at Bournemouth, I Instantly felt I was relishing the new challenge, and when you get that feeling, all other doubt leaves your head.”

Instagram Version

Ryan Christie has always played football for the joy of it. As a teenager, he can remember times when he became aware of the difference between his lifestyle and that of other 15-year-old lads. There were moments of feeling that he was missing out by not going out on a Saturday night, but with matches being played on a Sunday, his focus stayed with football. He says,

“Sometimes I felt I was missing out when I was in my bed early on a Saturday, but when I was playing well on a Sunday, that trumped it for me.” 

Football was (and still is) what he loved, and when you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. He says,

“Something I noticed in all the coaches I had in my youth and early career was their passion. The common denominator was their passion for coaching, and they brought an energy with them in everything they did. When I’m playing or in training, nothing else matters. The sheer joy of playing football is something I hope I never lose.” 

Are you still passionate about what you do?

Don MacNaughton is a High-Performance Coach

Email donald@zonedinperformance.com for latest coaching programs 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.