Can Dyslexia Affect My Football Skills?

Indulging in sports is a noteworthy choice of recreations in school and vacation. Such practices can lead to generating aspirations among young students to turn into professional players. Among a number of sports that are accredited, Football is not an exception. 

While aspirants often acknowledge the significance of rehearsing and strategies to get professional, some may be bewildered if they can become a footballer with certain compromises. Be it Dyslexia or any other learning difficulty, the chances to succeed may increase with exercise and drills. 

Further, we here look into relevant insights that may assist you with finer decision-taking. 

Being a footballer- Evaluating relevant attributes in dyslexics

Being a footballer requires an individual to possess certain traits. Here we will traverse through these, simultaneously we also evaluate the same in Dyslexics. 

1. Endurance – Can be Brushed up!

Endurance, in layman’s terms, is the ability of a person to deal with unpleasant and hard scenarios as a part of the game. Football often needs a sizable ground where the players need to run around as the game goes on. All this often needs the player to have noteworthy endurance levels. Susan M. Shirrefs[1] studied the need for water and electrolyte for football training in which it was outlined that football leads to sweat loss. Therefore, traits like endurance and sprint components are crucial along with skill components for the game. 

The endurance levels in Dyslexics may vary from low to high. Ricks Ries, in his research[2], outlined that it is common for dyslexic people to show either very high or very low levels of endurance. This may rely on a number of factors like how they have responded to and the support they get. Accordingly, it can be inferred that with proper support and training, people can build up endurance over time. 

2. Spatial Awareness – Not really a Snag!

Sports like football often involve the players passing the ball to one another. This gameplay thereby needs a spatial awareness of the ball to forecast the game. Prof. Dr. Anil S. Vaidya[3] outlined that Spatial awareness refers to a player’s ability to see space clearly across the entire pitch and utilise it to their advantage. Being one of the attributes to master football, it ensures the players have a grip on immediate space around them. 

The Visual-spatial abilities of some people can be compromised. Andrea Facoetti[4] made a study on visual-spatial attention and speech recognition in some preschoolers. The results indicated that visuospatial dysfunction depicts Dyslexia, which can offer an approach to remediation later. These lines depict Dyslexics with spatial compromises.

3. Agility and Balance- Ameliorates with Age!

Agility is the ability to displace swiftly. To make decisions and accomplish the goal within the given time slot, agility may be required along with endurance. F Ayub[5] made a study on the role of Agility and dynamic balance in improving football performance in university players. The results depicted that agility and dynamic balance ensured the football players to compete at their best in national and international games. 

Special individuals often need to address their gross motor skills, which encompasses Body Coordination, Strength, and Agility. Nur Sakinah Bahurudin[6] studied the level of gross motor skills in students of varying ages; While the results found a deficit in these skills, it was also marked that older children showed the highest level of skills. This implies that motor skills can brush up with time and practice.

4. Tactical Awareness- Can be ensured with Practice!

To identify the problems in the game and respond to them soon appropriately, tactical awareness/ situational awareness becomes significant in games like football. Jaime Serra Olivares[7] being aware of the same assessed youth football players with their tactical expertise. The research studied the tactical awareness of these players in small-sided and conditioned games and thereby gave an idea of an ecological approach to training. 

Some individuals may have to thrust their tactical awareness. Benjamin Taylor[8] studied the situational awareness of Dyslexics to road signs using driving simulators. It was found that these showed the lowest levels of situational awareness, suggesting these may be detrimental in sign processing. Nevertheless, some believe that tactical awareness can be developed over time with practice and preaching. Jeremy R. Hawkins[9] studied how tactical preaching skills can assist athletic training. It is outlined that preaching tactical skills is a befitting method to assist athletic training students in developing this skill.

Dyslexic footballers- Role models to boost up to your aspiration!

Comprehending the attributes of football in Dyslexia, a mixed opinion may be formed. Nonetheless, some international footballers excelled in the game being Dyslexic. These players show inferences that being a footballer may not be constrained by Dyslexia. Here we look into some of the well-known footballers who have dyslexia: 

  • Steven Naismith:  Being a Scotland based football player, Steven Smith was diagnosed with Dyslexia. He opened up about the same in an interview. He stated how he felt it was taxing in school. Nevertheless, he developed some strategies to manage and turn a footballer. 
  • Sam Allardyce: Sam skipped his 11th grade exams and focused on football; he was unaware of the complications that he had. He mentioned being dyslexic in his book Big Sam. An article was published about him in Hindustan Times encompassing his journey with dyslexia. 
  • Frank Gore: Diagnosed with Dyslexia at a tender age, Frank has seen complications in his schooling and activities. Footballing started as an escape from school. He managed his compromises by seeking assistance and ensuring a positive mindset. Evidently, he had a deep aspiration for football. 

Can you master football with dyslexia?- Concluding with insights

Not every trait is gained from birth; some of these may be acquired later. While evaluation of obligatory football attributes in Dyslexics may give rise to mixed opinions, most of these skills can be learned over time. Further, Players with Dyslexia proved that one can be a footballer being Dyslexic. With appropriate aspirations and strategies to master the same, the chances may escalate. 

Considering an aspiration and evaluating it from various dimensions is required for a better grip on the scenario. The one who can motivate successful players may reap positive insights, leading them to progress. 


  1. Water and electrolyte needs for football training and match-play. (2006, August). Susan M. Shirreffs.
  2. The Impact of “Dyslexia” (on student learning). (2003).
  3. Different Techniques And Benefits Of Football. (2007). Prof. Dr. Anil S. Vaidya.
  4. Visual spatial attention and speech segmentation are both impaired in preschoolers at familial risk for developmental dyslexia. (2010, July). Andrea Facoetti.
  6. Gross Motor Skills Performance in Children with Dyslexia: A Comparison between Younger and Older Children. (2019). NUR SAKINAH BAHARUDIN.
  7. Tactical expertise assessment in youth football using representative tasks. (2016). Jaime Serra-Olivares.
  8. Reading the situation: The relationship between dyslexia and situational awareness for road sign information. (2016, January). BenjaminTaylor.
  9. Hawkins, J. R., Sharp, E. B., & Williams, S. M. (2015). Take a Page from Your Coach’s Play Book: Teaching Technical and Tactical Skills in Athletic Training. Athletic Training Education Journal, 10(3), 244-248.

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