Gary Johnson: Change your thoughts and you change your world

Torquay United keeper Lucas Covolan has got home to Brazil. He will have to come back in time to qua

Torquay United keeper Lucas Covolan has got home to Brazil. He will have to come back in time to quarantine for two weeks, though, before the squad starts backPhoto: Steve Bond/PPAUK - Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle

At the start of the lockdown, we gave all our players their own training routines. But we also did something else.

We set up a 'Wellness' programme. As part of that, all the lads give a mark of how they are feeling within themselves every few days.

The information goes straight to Kai Hepworth, head of medical, and it stays with Kai unless he feels a problem might have cropped up.

The boys could be affected by any number of things - money, contracts, isolation, boredom...

Two lads on our minds were Kalvin Kalala and Lucas Covolan - both their families are abroad, in France and Brazil, and they were missing them.

Kalvin has left us now but I'm glad to say that Lucas has got home to Brazil, where his family live in a low-risk area in the north.

He will have to come back in time to 'quarantine' for two weeks, though, before we start back.

Most Read

Mental health in football - well, in sport generally - is something that is more on all our minds than it maybe used to be.

Prince William for one is doing great work to raise awareness.

Many people who are speaking out now are retired players but many current players still see it as a bit of a taboo subject. And that's absolutely understandable.

Finances, contracts, mental and physical injuries, form, gambling, drugs, relationships, family and even pet losses - I've seen them all affect players to the point where they weren't coping.

There's a thin line between somebody having a bad day, and that turning into a bad week or a month, and then into a major issue.

It's an illness that you can't see.

My first step is often a saying that I use - 'change your thoughts and you change your world'.

But that's not applicable when somebody is really suffering.

The PFA are always there, and I've had a couple of lads over the years who I've sent to the Sporting Chance Clinic in London, the one that Tony Adams supports. There is good treatment out there.

My son Lee often asks me: 'How have you managed to stay in the game so long and not become an absolute wreck?'

Managers have huge pressures, every day of every week.

You feel people's expectations and, by the way, telling a player who has given his all for you that you're not offering him another contract is no easier now than it was the first time I had to do it.

Love of the game keeps you going. Also the experience you've built up from being successful, and the belief that you are doing the right things.

At the moment, we are a happy bunch at Plainmoor. My staff believe totally in what we are doing, and the players do as well.

And when I sit down with directors Clarke Osborne, George Edwards and Mel Hayman, they motivate me, whether they mean to or not.

But as important as that, and I know it's the same for the players, is the motivation which you supporters give us every week.

It's always been great, and long may it continue...