Tennis Psychology: Novak Djokovic – Beyond Tennis!

It’s not unusual anymore for sports professionals to work with psychologists. The mind plays such a critical part in sporting success. They also work with therapists, to look to heal difficult and challenging personal issues from the past, It is unusual. however, for a top player to bring a spiritual guru into their team. Which is exactly what Novak Djokovic appears to have done. The world number one has turned to former tennis player, Pepe Imaz who now preaches the gospel of love and peace, through meditation and other self-reflective techniques. Will this translates into Novak’s results? Can love make […]

Read More...

Tennis Psychology: Nick Kyrgios – Bored!

Its the Shanghai Masters. And Nick Kyrgios is making an early exit. His defeat to world number 110, Mischa Zyerev would only be a shock if the Australian was giving it 100%. Which he isnt. Complaining of boredom and tiredness, Nick once again incurs the wrath of the Australian sporting community with an un-committed performance. And of course the pundits start hawking the same questions…’Why does he do it?’…‘where’s his respect for the game?‘…’What could he achieve if he was really bothered?‘. None of which seems to trouble Nick Kyrgios. He’s making his way nicely up the rankings. And occasionally […]

Read More...

Football Psychology: Wayne Rooney – The Gift!

He announced himself in 2002.  A supremely confident sixteen year old. A teenager in a mans body. Right then, everything seemed possible for Wayne Rooney. Fourteen years later, having been jeered by the Wembley crowd, he finds himself dropped from the England team. No longer a potent attacking force, the best days appear to be behind him. There are many talented players that have played the game. But truly gifted players are fewer in number. Cruyff…Maradona…Pele…Messi…Ronaldo…all blessed by The Gift. And all have taken the game to a level that raised the stakes for everyone else. They are the trailblazers…the pathfinders…not […]

Read More...

Golf Psychology: Rory McIlroy – Motivation!

It’s the par five fifteenth at Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minnesota. Ryder Cup day one. Rory Mcilroy has just drained an eagle putt to defeat Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar. He bows in mock theatrical fashion to the corwd. Then delivers a mighty fist pump, to let everyone know what the win means to him. It has echoes of Ian Poulter at Medina four years ago. A one-man demonstration of will and courage in adversity. Of course at Medina the European team had the late Severiano Ballesteros’s memory to play for.  Here at Hazeltine, there appears to be no external […]

Read More...

Football Psychology: Sam Allardyce – Sacked!

And so Sam Allardyce, one game into his dream managerial job, is sacked. Drawn into a newspaper sting, his bluff views on third-party ownership, the FA, and his predecessor Roy Hodgson, weren’t fully appreciated by his employers. Big Sam, with his well developed track record in stabilising league clubs, was considered a known factor. One that would bring team-spirit and collective unity to England’s dis-connected individuals. And on paper it should have been. But when you walk into the most high profile job in English football, there is no hiding place. If there are elements of your character that aren’t […]

Read More...

Golf Psychology: Phil Mickleson – Harmony!

His first two rounds complete, and Phil Mickleson leads this years Open. In years past, there would be an element of uncertainty about Phil’s ability to maintain his leaderboard position. A feeling that he would find a way to sabotage his opportunity somewhere out on the course. But this Troon Open feels different. Reducing risk off the tee, by using a two iron to maximise control, has given him a sense of certainty in his game. In other words, he is pretty certain where his ball is going to go most of the time. When a player has that level […]

Read More...

Football Psychology: Wales – The Golden Triangle!

It was billed as the biggest game in Welsh football history. A team that had never been beyond the quarters of a major tournament. By implication that should have created a burden of pressure…expectation…hidden fears…(especially if you have been conditioned by England’s serial competition failures). Instead you had a team that found a level of individual and collective performance. that more than matched the occasion. Much has been spoken of Wales’s team-spirit. A band of brothers. Everyone looking out for each other. The collective greater than anyone individual. But last night another level appeared to be reached. Evidenced when Hal […]

Read More...

Football Psychology: England – The Manager!

And so the inquests begin into England’s shocking Euro exit. As ever the themes are familiar…pampered superstars; clubs not bringing through academy players; dearth of good English coaches and so on. The FA will undertake a review to try to understand what happened on Monday night in Nice. But past post-tournament reviews have never led to drastic improvements in the national team’s fortunes. The one decision that will solve most problems is getting the choice of manager right. The criteria for selecting a good national team boss is not complicated…. Does the manager have the tactical acumen to succeed in […]

Read More...

Football Psychology: Roy Hodgson – No Magic Answers!

When England opened the scoring against Russia in their first group match of the Euros, it looked like the perfect opportunity to establish their tournament credentials, and put the weak opposition to the sword. Just after Eric Dier’s goal went in, Roy Hodgson formed an unexpected huddle with his management team, Ray Lewington and Gary Neville. The reason…to create a defensive strategy to safeguard their lead. Of course it failed. Why did the manager need to form a huddle with his management team? The game dynamics were clear. The Russians were there for the taking. Could he not see that? […]

Read More...

Football Psychology: Derby County – Another Failure Of Leadership!

It’s Sky’s pre-match analysis ahead of rugby’s European Final in Lyon. Jonny Wilkinson is discussing his part in Toulon’s 2013 success. The former England number ten, commanding the respect of his team-mates, acted not as a superstar, but drew on his vast experience to glue the French team together. He was the ‘go to player’ when problems needed solving. He’d seen it. Done it. Nothing phased him. He had the answers. His observations felt relevant following Derby County’s lame three nil Championship play-off home defeat to Hull City. The Rams simply had no ‘go to player’ who knew how to […]

Read More...