Football: David James – The Psychological Edge

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“I do it in the hotel room before the game, do it on the bus and do it on the pitch. I work on every eventuality and hopefully don’t get surprise.” Portsmouth and England goal-keeper David James, talking about his use of sports psychology.

James is referring specifically, to his use of Visualisation. Mentally imagining outcomes; possibilities; potentialities. Expecting the unexpected. Thus in the white heat of a competitive match, his mind is able to coolly handle the pressures he is put under. Handle it, because he has been there before. Been there before in his mind.

His mind, therefore, is not forced or pressurised into reactivity-speeds. That is, forced to work too quickly for his body to handle. When this happens, panic can set in, leading to poor decision-making. And mistakes.

The mentally prepared way allows his mind and body to work in harmony. That is why he is playing so well. He has reached the point of excellence, whereby he will be seeing things, moments before they even happen. In slowed down time.

What he is doing in preparing his mind, for the outcomes that he wants, is an option open to every player. David James, however, has personally decided that he wants to be the very best at what he does. That is what marks the difference, between him and some of his rivals.