chapter  6
14 Pages

Sport Psychology and Spirit in Professional Football

ByMARK NESTI

The fi rst thought that springs to mind on seeing spirituality and football in the same sentence is usually one of incomprehension, or disbelief. Football, especially at the most elevated levels of performance, appears to be an intensely physical activity and one where utilitarian attitudes to the body are the norm. Although recent research literature (Thelwell et al., 2005) and accounts of professional practice (Nesti & Littlewood, 2009) highlight a growing recognition of the importance attached to psychological factors in top-level professional football, few would argue that it provides an ideal vehicle to encounter spiritual experiences.