Coach Graham Arnold Has Told Socceroos To Avoid Social Media During World Cup - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Coach Graham Arnold Has Told Socceroos To Avoid Social Media During World Cup

As the Socceroos prepare to face Denmark for a place in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Australia coach Graham Arnold has warned them of the perils of social media.

Even with the time difference that often requires Australian fans to wake before 3am, the 2022 FIFA World Cup has continued to produce spectacles of sporting prowess and camaraderie that will forever be imprinted on our memory. While the Socceroos are somewhat regarded as the underdogs, that hasn’t stopped our national team from giving it their all on the world stage. As the team now prepares for a match against Denmark which will be pivotal to seeing who makes it through to the next round before the knockout stage begins on December 4, coach Graham Arnold is sparing no efforts to ensure his players are in the best headspace to tackle such formidable opponents.

When it comes to blocking out the noise of the public and critics alike, Arnold has warned his players to steer clear of social media and avoid reading “shite” posted to online domains. As he explains, reading such comments will only serve to negatively affect their psychological preparation for their final Group D match against Denmark. Speaking from personal experience, Arnold told the Socceroos: “The same people backing you are the ones killing you the day after.”

He added, “I know I keep saying it, and I hope finally you might be believing that I don’t read anything. I know the effect it can have on people, and it does have a huge effect on celebrities, sports stars or whatever. Mentally it’s the biggest thing, and if it affects your brain it doesn’t matter how fit you are, technically how good you are or how good the tactics are, they don’t take it in because they’re mentally not ready.”

The advice comes from Arnold’s experience at Tokyo Olympics, where the Olyroos upset Argentina in a stunning match that saw them emerge victorious at 2-0. But after their first group game, they then lost their second and third matches to Spain and Egypt, only to finish bottom of their group. 

“That’s why I had the huddle straight after the game,” said Arnold. “Because if there’s one thing I learned at the Olympics, [it’s that] after the big win against Argentina it was too much celebration, and that celebration is social media.”

He continued: “They get on that until 4am or 5am and watch all the great comments and enjoy all that shite, and it affects the sleep patterns. You’re up until 5am looking at good comments, and the same people backing you are the ones killing you the day after. So just get rid of it, don’t look at it.”

Arnold is no stranger to criticism online – something most coaches unfortunately find themselves engulfed in as the public looks to point fingers at someone during any loss. But as the Australia coach suggests, he’s found a way to block out the noise during his tenure as coach of the national team. “I’m really glad I played in the days where there was no mobile telephones and no journos giving you ratings out of 10 and things like that,” said Arnold. 

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“It was a long time a ago, I know, but it’s a big think. I think players these days are so mentally strong because of that, but at the end of the day I have to get my wife off social media, I have to get my kids off social media, because it nearly kills them in this environment.”

The Socceroos will face Denmark on Thursday morning, with a kick off time of 2am AEDT. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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