Football Psychology: Claudio Ranieri: Calmness!

So…four games remaining in this dramatic Premier League campaign. Tottenham purposefully chasing down leaders Leicester City. Last Sunday’s dramatic West Ham draw exposed some of the pressure that has been quietly building in The Foxes title challenge. The strong arm penalty box tactics. Vardy’s expertise in winning penalties.  Referee Jon Moss was having none of it. In return he got openly abused, as if he had prised open the black box that harboured Leicester’s dark secrets. Whilst everyone both on and off the pitch at the Walker’s Stadium appeared to be letting the unfortunate ref know what they thought of […]

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Golf Psychology: Charlie Hull -The Dream State!

It’s possibly the highest golfing mental attainment. That is the ability to detach yourself completely from your outcomes. It’s the Zen Of Golf. A dream-state of mind that means you are simply tuned into the purity of striking the golf ball. Letting everything else take care of itself. Some golfers may go through their whole career and experience this on -course nirvana only once. For young English golfer Charlie Hull this state appears to be the norm. In a recent interview Charlie talked about a shot she hit at the Rancho Mirage ANA Inspiration, where she finished an impressive runner-up […]

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Snooker Psychology: Stuart Bingham – Being Champion!

And so Stuart Bingham’s one year adventure as World Snooker Champion comes to an end. A last thirty-two defeat to Ali Carter, means that no first time winner has yet been able to defend their title in Sheffield. You might think that winning a title for a second time, would be easier than securing the first crown. But there’s a big difference. First time around, there is no expectation. You make your way through the rounds, simply playing what is in front of you. Sure, your taking a journey into the unknown as you close in on your first World […]

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Golf Psychology: Jordan Speith – The Water!

It’s Sunday at the Augusta National. And defending Masters champion Jordan Speith is in dominant mood. A run of four birdies has left him seven under par after nine. Despite a couple of subsequent dropped shots, by the time he reaches the par-three ‘Golden Bell’ twelfth, he looks likely to retain the green jacket. His tee shot off twelve goes directly into Raes Creek, that protects the narrow green, It’s ok. It’s a recoverable situation for a mentally strong player like Speith. Then he betrays his clouded mindset by striking his penalty-shot wedge straight back into the water. He still […]

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Cricket Psychology: West Indies – Eat Your Words!

It’s the post-match interviews after a dramatic finish to the World T20 Final. And West Indies captain Darren Sammy is in bullish mood. He’s taking aim at a number of targets. One of whom is former player turned commentator Mark Nicholas, whose derogatory comments about the West Indies having ‘no brains’, have apparently acted as a trigger for their cup winning performance. There’s is nothing more satisfying for a team or an individual than to prove a point. It’s like someone has invaded your secret world with their casual outsider judgement and criticism. And if you have any kind of […]

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Golf Psychology: Rory McIlroy – The Post-Shot Routine

In a few weeks time the world of golf heads to Augusta for the first classic of the season. And world number three Rory McIlroy will be looking to secure his first green jacket. At the moment, McIlroy is a little short of the consistency necessary to win the games top prizes. Moments of magic are interspersed with doses of mediocrity.  And he has some interesting things to say on the subject of his game. After a final round seven-under 65, at The Arnold Palmer Invitational, that left him still eleven shots of Jason Day, McIlroy said, “I’ve really beaten myself […]

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Football Psychology: Leicester City – The Unknown!

It’s five minutes from time at the King Power Stadium. Leicester City are holding a slender lead against Newcastle United. And the tension is palpable. On the touchline, Claudio Ranieri is rousing players and fans for one final effort. It’s a scenario we may well see played out again before the curtain is drawn on this unusual Premier League season. With eight games to go and a five point cushion, the Leicester title dream can now become a reality. And that is why Ranieri’s interjection was necessary last night. He needed to break the spell. Break the sense of nervousness […]

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Snooker Psychology: Michael Holt – Composure!

There’s rarely an ideal time to play Ronnie O’Sullivan. Especially given his form in 2016. But if you land him in the draw, then the first round is probably the best time to catch him cold. Even then you musn’t be daunted by the prospect of beating him. Few people gave Michael Holt a chance in the World Grand Prix at Llandudno last night. But that didn’t stop him pulling off one of the shocks of the season, as he sent Ronnie home early, with an impressive 4-3 victory. As Holt admitted afterwards, he hasn’t always matched his talent with […]

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Football Psychology: Steve McClaren – Frustration!

It was a so called must win game for Newcastle United. Taking points from the teams around them, vital in the quest for sustained Premier League football. So their limp home defeat to Bournemouth, does not augur well for the rest of the campaign. Manager Steve McClaren came out afterwards to say that this was the most frustrating group of players he has ever worked with. Which won’t exactly get them back on side. It’s a frank admission from the under-pressure manager. And one that seems to direct the blame onto the players and away from himself. It suggests that […]

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Football Psychology: Willy Caballero – Instinct!

A few years ago, Sky made a TV documentary called ‘The Science Of Ronaldo’. One of the experiments conducted with the Real Madrid superstar, involved a player taking corners in a room containing a small set of goal posts. In front of the goals was Christiano Ronaldo. All he had to do was put the corner into the empty net. No defenders. No keeper. Easy stuff. Apart from the fact, that when the corner was struck, the lights were turned off. Meaning that Christiano couldn’t actually see the ball. Didn’t stop him scoring every-time though! With no visuals to guide […]

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