Creativity involves putting ideas together in new and useful ways. Lara Mossman, Positive Psychology Researcher, football player, and mother of three, offers a refreshing and practical view on creativity. What is it, and how can we prime our young players to become more creative?

Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, inventor of the ‘Cruyff Turn’ and the man behind the ‘phantom goal’, epitomised the creative footballer in the 1970s, as does today’s global superstar Lionel Messi. Cruyff was a king of improvisation, throwing out the rulebook on positioning and producing a rapid, one-touch passing game.

While inventing a signature move or creating our own football philosophy may seem beyond the scope of our current imagination, injecting more creativity into our playing style is realistic. Creativity is part of the high- level problem-solving within our brain. It appears that the better our problem- solving, the more likely we are to make it to the top leagues.

Lionel Messi and Lukas Podolski, 2010. Photo: Saadick Dhansay

Lionel Messi and Lukas Podolski, 2010. Photo: Saadick Dhansay

A Swedish study of both male and female football players found that higher division players outperformed lower division players on problem- solving tests. If we want to be the best player we can be we must be able to assess situations at a lightning pace, compare them quickly to past experiences and create new possibilities. We develop these abilities progressively throughout our player development years.

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Lara Mossman
Lara Mossman
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lara Mossman is currently working towards her PhD in wellbeing and positive psychology in football at La Trobe University in Melbourne. As well as being a regular contributor to PDP, Lara teaches positive psychology at The University of Melbourne.
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