Football Psychology: Brazil – Over-Emotion!

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Football PsychologistIt’s the anthems ahead of the Brazil/Germany World Cup semi-final. And the Brazilians are singing as if the match is to be decided there and then.

They are putting all their emotions out there, as players and fans are joined in passionate spirit and heartfelt hope. It’s a powerful and evocative sporting moment. Unfortunately it’s the prelude to a calamity.

Super-charged with emotion, Brazil are picked apart by the ruthless Germans in a clinical display of finishing. Brazil are playing with their hearts. But their minds are non-existent. Their minds are scrambled.

It is as if their mental patterns have been de-stabilised by the power of their own emotions. Like a mist that prevents clarity of thought and leaves the player in a fog of uncertainty, as they can no longer make clear-cut decisions and see the moment lucidly.

David Luiz spoke after last nights defeat, of how he wanted to give some joy to the people of Brazil who had suffered so much. But that feeling has to be aligned with a clear mind-set. Yes you need some emotion. But not so much that you can’t think clearly.

In wanting to do it so much for the people, Luiz and his colleagues forgot the ‘how’. They let their hearts rule their heads. In reality, this game required almost no emotion. For the fans were creating that mood for the players to feed off. All the players needed to do was focus on the job in hand. ‘What’s my role?’ ‘What are the three things that I need to do well?’. A clinical mind-set.

Draw the emotion from the crowd, and channel it into your focus. Take the emotion and use the power of the energy to be strong in the closing stages of the game, when you will need it the most. But don’t burn it all up straight away!

It was as if the Brazilian players felt they had to over-compensate for the loss of Silva and Neymar, by replacing them with banks of emotional power. They they didn’t trust themselves to win without these two key players. Ally that with the importance that they put on the game and the desire to not let their people down. An intoxicating emotional mix.

It’s a massive lesson in the psychology of football. How much emotion do you really need, to perform well in a World Cup semi-final. The answer is not very much!