Rugby Psychology: England – Peaking!

And so it was, that England’s momentous World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand, was the point they peaked. The supreme focus they created to beat the All Blacks, meant that they didn’t have another gear to find come finals day. Or, they didn’t know how to find that gear! Another view is that, the semi-final took them far enough out of their comfort zone, that a re-set was required. This means that on those days that you have a peak performance, if this is at a higher level than your normal playing level, then it can time for this […]

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Rugby Psychology: Eddie Jones – The Look!

It was evident about ten minutes in. It’s The Look. A certain moment that can occur in major sporting events, when all the preparation you have done, condenses into a feeling. And shortly into England’s World Cup semi-final against The All Blacks, you could see it on head coach, Eddie Jones’s face. He was trying hard not to smile. England had begun the game in imposing fashion. And Jones knew that all the physical, strategic, mental and emotional preparation that had been done, was now manifesting itself in performance. It’s like you know that you are going to win, before […]

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Football Psychology: Tottenham Hotspur – The Reset!

We are barely a quarter into the season, and Spurs’s manager Mauricio Pochettino is under pressure. A faltering start to the campaign has got people asking questions about whether he has taken the Spurs as far as he can. Yet, only a few months ago, the Argentinian was leading them out in their first Champions League Final. After every major final loss, there is a natural period of comedown. A huge amount of mental and emotional energy is exerted in breaking a stop situation, and going further than you have gone before. If you win that final, then the collective […]

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Rugby Psychology: Sebastien Vahaamahina – The Red Mist!

And so Wales make it through to the World cup semi-final. Theres was a tough battle -hardened performance. Helped in no small measure by the sending off of French lock Sebastien Vahaamahina. The Frenchman’s brutal elbow on Aaron Wainwright probably cost his team the game. An unexpected act of madness in a quarter-final demanding discipline and clarity of mind and emotions. But the red mist doesn’t work like that. It has it’s own operating conditions. It’s impulsive and highly reactive. Like an act of self-sabotage. It rarely comes from out of nothing. The red mist is a build-up of emotions. […]

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Darts Psychology: Dave Chisnall – Finals!

And so Michael Van Gerwen defends his World Grand Prix title in Dublin. In the process denying Dave Chisnall his first major darts prize. That’s five final losses now for Chisnall. Of course, getting to fie finals is a terrific achievement. But your darts career will be known for the silverware you have won, not the finals you have graced. Of course playing MVG in a final can feel daunting. You sense that you need to bring your A Game. Anything less and Mighty Mike will be all over you. But the danger with that mind-set is that you end up […]

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Rugby Psychology: Japan – A Powerful Cause!

It began with an emotive national anthem. Always an early sign of the potential for a special performance. And then it continued with a blistering first half display that blew Scotland away. It ended with Japan qualifying for their first ever World Cup quarter-final. And with many critics opining that it was the best World Cup match they had ever seen. That was possibly because, Japan were playing for more than themselves. The typhoon which caused havoc the days prior to the Scotland match, gave the Japanese team a powerful focus for their emotions. A reason to succeed beyond themselves. […]

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Golf Psychology: Shane Lowry – Calmness!

And so Shane Lowry is crowned Champion Golfer for 2019. The only threat to his commanding position at the top of the overnight leaderboard appeared to be himself. Would memories of his lost four shot lead at the US Open come back to haunt him? Would the lure of holding the Claret Jug aloft inveigle his thought process? The answer was No on both counts. By the closing holes, Lowry was experiencing the super-natural calm, that is the preserve of those who know that all is in place for success. A lot of that calmness emanated from the presence of […]

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Golf Psychology: Rory McIlroy – Expectations!

It’s day one of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. And Rory McIlroy is on the tee. This isn’t just any old Open for Rory. It’s the homecoming. The first Open in his beloved Northern Ireland since 1951. Most of the pre-tournament publicity seems to be built around him. But with all that in mind, you’d expect this multiple Major winner to take it all in his stride. Ride the wave of expectation and channel it all into his focus and belief. But it couldn’t have started any worse for Rory. His opening tee shot find itself out of bounds. […]

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Football Psychology: Vincent Kompany – The Unknowns!

There’s twenty minutes left on the clock. The Etihad is simmering with tension and anxiety. Brendan Rodgers defensive game plan is denying Manchester City opportunities. City’s title hopes are under threat. Then up steps Vincent Kompany. Bringing the ball forward, the Leicester defence back off and back off. Vinnie was not identified as a goal threat going forward! Brendan Rodgers had factored in everything else. But not this! Moments later Kompany’s blistering twenty-five yarder hits the back of the net. And the ground goes crazy. No one wanted or expected the City captain to shoot. But that was precisely the […]

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Snooker Psychology: Neil Robertson – Freedom!

It’s been nine years since Neil Robertson last secured his only  World Championship. But based on his demolition of Shaun Murphy at The Crucible yesterday, it may not be long before his next World Crown. In brushing aside Murphy, Robertson demonstrated a clinical display of break-building. The cue ball on a string. His practise game made real. Afterwards Neil talked about free he felt. Playing to entertain the crowd. Nothing about winning the title. It’s similar to how Jurgen Klopp has been speaking during Liverpool’s title run in. ‘We are on a journey with the fans’. The focus being on […]

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