Football: Tottenham Hotspur – Cracking The Code

With the cheque-book out in the close season, there has been much speculation concerning Tottenham’s ability to finally break the dominance of the top four. Martin Jol’s spending confirms ambition. Thus expectations are high at White Hart Lane. Those expectations brings pressure. Pressure brings fear of making mistakes. Expectations. Pressure. Fear. Not a formula to crack the code of Champions League Qualification. To do that will require a bit more daring. A bit more belief. Forget about the pressure of qualifying for the Champions League. Set out to play a brand of football that is worthy of the Champions League. That allows the players to express […]

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Cricket Psychology: Mal Loye – Be Mad As Hell!

If England were to go with twenty twenty specialists in South Africa, then Mal Loye was strongly tipped to be opening the batting. The slog sweep. Down on one knee. Over square leg for six. Getting the innings off to a flyer. And yes, the selectors went for the specialists. Darren Maddy – Yes. Jeremy Snape – Yes. Mal Loye – No. Excluded. Loye, after learning of his exclusion, could no longer hold back. ‘I am so angry about the situation I am past caring. I will make a decision next week about my international future’. It’s understandable that Loye […]

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Golf: Padraig Harrington – The Pressures Of A Champion

It should come as no surprise that Padraig Harrington would have a less than perfect first round at the Bridgestone Invitational. ‘I was a long long way from my last round at the Open, in terms of focus’, the Irishman tells us. Harrington’s biggest challenge will be how he reacts to any potential dip in form over the next three months. His status and stature within the game has changed. And with it come expectations. Everyone now will be taking notice of him. Is he good enough to win another major? Was it a one-off? The chances are he will […]

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Football: Youssef Safri – You’ve Just Cost Us Promotion!

It’s the Norwich City pre-season squad photo and there is no sign of Youssef Safri. For manager Peter Grant it’s the final straw. ‘I’ve hid behind it for a long time. So many things have been going on. If you don’t want to be here, it makes my decision easier’. It tells us something about how tolerant Peter Grant is. ‘I’ve hid behind it for a long time’. Why? And at what price? When England were building their rugby World Cup winning squad of 2003, Sir Clive Woodward and his team imposed a strict code. If you were late for […]

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Football: Robin Van Persie – Out Of The Shadows

Free of injury and two goals in the Emirates Cup Final. The season augurs well for Robin Van Persie. Talent never in doubt, but questions marks have hung over the Dutchman. Did he have the mentality to match his gifts? The self-belief to be a leader? The departure of Henry to Barcelona provides the perfect opportunity for Van Persie to take centre stage. Thierry Henry was a positive infleunce on Arsenal’s development. He set the tone for their expression. The cultural leader. The orchestrator of Wenger’s vision. The one the team looked to in turning moments. Now he’s gone. And […]

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Football: Robin Van Persie – Out Of The Shadows

Free of injury and two goals in the Emirates Cup Final. The season augurs well for Robin Van Persie. Talent never in doubt, but questions marks have hung over the Dutchman. Did he have the mentality to match his gifts? The self-belief to be a leader? The departure of Henry to Barcelona provides the perfect opportunity for Van Persie to take centre stage. Thierry Henry was a positive infleunce on Arsenal’s development. He set the tone for their expression. The cultural leader. The orchestrator of Wenger’s vision. The one the team looked to in turning moments. Now he’s gone. And in it, an […]

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Football: David James – The Zen Of Goal-Keeping

It’s the final of the Asia Trophy and David James is in prime form. Penalty saves from Yossi Benayoun and Fernando Torres give Portsmouth the trophy. And James the plaudits. So why, after losing his England place to Paul Robinson, is James showing his best ever form? England form. Well attitude certainly comes into it. As does motivation – motivation to prove people wrong. Make a point. These provide the foundation of excellence. There is, however, another level top professionals can attain. A place beyond excellence. But it’s for the few, not the many. The level of mastership. Mastership is […]

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Golf: Sergio Garcia – A Mind Made Stronger

In the follow up to the Open Championship, many pundits seem happy to conclude that Sergio Garcia is a serial choker. Loaded with talent. But lacking the killer instinct. The nerve. The mentality to tighten the screw in turning moments. How Sergio thinks about Carnoustie Sunday will have a significant bearing on his ability to prove the doubters wrong. The correct approach would be for Sergio to do two things. One, to look at and confirm all the things he did well. All the things that meant he held a lead for over 3/4’s of the Championship. All the things […]

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Golf Psychology: The Open – Breaking The Stop Situation

What makes sport so compelling? Often we are absorbed by the effortless mastery of a Federer or Woods. Legends and leaders who elevate their sport to rarefied levels. But doesn’t the most memorable drama come when we witness vulnerability? When we are drawn into the struggle of individuals digging deep to draw on the gossamer thin thread of personal strengths and positive memories in the face of physical, mental and emotional challenge. The final day of the 2007 Open was loaded with such sub-plots. Garcia, Romero and Harrington all exposed us to their vulnerabilities. Their raw human side. The part […]

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Golf: Padraig Harrington – Future History

When assessing why a Open Championship play-off has been won by one player and not the other, you have to take into account age and experience. You have to factor in the quality of their game. Then and most importantly of all, you have to throw into the mix their mental application. How they would be thinking about themselves. Their last afternoon’s work. Victory spurned. Their opponents. Any slivers of doubt and uncertainty would tilt the advantage away from them. When we learn of Padraig Harrington’s attitude to the play-off, it starts to become clear why he is now the Open […]

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