Snooker Psychology: Mark Allen – Fist Pump!

It’s the last eight of the Welsh Masters. And a big local crowd is in to see if Neath’s Michael White can make his first Welsh semi. White will not be wanting to disappoint his fans. And the experienced pro that is Mark Allen is canny enough to recognise the pressure this will naturally bring. Allen clears up in the second frame after White accidentally pots the pink. He celebrates his good fortune with a fist pump. It’s an act of positive aggression designed to wind White up. He was lucky to win the frame. Instead of respecting his good […]

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Snooker Psychology: Judd Trump – Concentration!

It’s the last sixteen of the Welsh Open. And Judd Trump is in prime position to make progress. But a crucial missed black in the final frame opens the door to a relieved Joe Perry. Thus Judd makes another premature exit from a big TV event. Afterwards he talks, not for the first time, about the dips in concentration that cost him the match. Concentration is a key ingredient for success in top level sport. Especially in snooker. The quality of your concentration allows you to be in harmony with the table. Seeing your shot. Seeing the angles. Seeing the […]

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Snooker Psychology: Ronnie O’ Sullivan – The 146!

It’s the second round of snooker’s Welsh Open. And all eyes are on Ronnie O’Sullivan. After refusing a maximum the previous day, O’Sullivan has brought plenty of media and public attention to himself. Steve Davis once said something like, that if he ever played a casual shot then he fully expected the snooker gods to show him their displeasure.  So how would the unseen powers respond to Ronnie’s 146? Would he be made to suffer with kicks, big bounces and runs of bad luck? All signs that the player and the game are not quite in flow. Well the five […]

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Football Psychology: Aston Villa – The Indifference Virus!

Jamie Carragher called them the worst team in Premier League history. Experienced defender Jolean Lescott apologised for his team’s lack of commitment.  Aston Villa are bottom of the league. And their 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool was akin to waving the white flag. Teams don’t deliberately set out to be uncommited. There is rarely a plan to under-perform. Or to lose six-nil. It’s a consequence of a cocktail of ingredients all coming together at the same time. It tends to begin with self-interest. An individual player putting himself before the team. Maybe not trying or giving 100% in training. Showing […]

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Golf Psychology: Sung Kang – Sixty!

It’s the Monterey Country Club. California. The Pebble Beach Pro-Am. And South Korea’s Sung Kang has just created a little bit of local history. A course record sixty has given him a share of the clubhouse lead at the halfway stage. That’s nine birdies and an eagle from the world’s number three hundred and six! Lots of players have rounds that begin in spectacular fashion. Runs of early birdies can feel good. Exhilarating even. But they can also make you feel uncomfortable. Players can get freaked out by sequences of birdies. It doesn’t feel normal. It can throw you. Like you […]

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Golf Psychology: Ricky Fowler – The Water!

It’s The Phoenix Open, Arizona. America’s Ricky Fowler is in a two-man play-off with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama. It’s the fourth extra hole. The 317 yard par four 17th. And the American is aiming to avoid past Scottsdale mistakes. On eight previous occasions he has found water on the seventeenth. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. Fowler is in the hazard again. and Matsuyama wins the play-off and his second PGA tour event. Fowler’s family have been in the galleries. Including his father and grandfather. They have never seen Ricky win. In his post round media centre interviews, Fowler breaks down in tears at […]

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Golf Psychology: Sergio Garcia – The Mystery of Putting!

It’s the start of the European Tour season. Spaniard Sergio Garcia starting promisingly with a seventh place finish in the Qatar Masters. Garcia, as always, strong from tee to green. But an average of 31.5 putts per round. And by the final round, more experiments with his putting grip. Abandoning the claw technique of recent seasons, to go back to a more traditional method. Change of putter. Change of grip. It all seems logical to a player seeking excellence. Seeking his first Major at the age of thirty-six. But after so many changes. maybe the answer lies elsewhere. Lies in […]

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Football Psychology: Derby County – The Power Vacuum!

And so after only eight months into his first managerial adventure, Paul Clement is sacked by Derby County. Touted as one of the brightest and the best coaches in Europe, Clement appeared to have everything in his favour at The Ipro. A squad blessed with talent. An owner prepared to put his hand in his pocket to spend. A Premier League set up. It was all there. So what went wrong for the former Real Madrid coach? The writing was on the wall immediately after the tame home draw with Reading, Owner Mel Morris came down from the boardroom to […]

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Football Psychology: Lee Johnson – The Perfect Fit!

A lot of managerial appointments in football seem to be little more than an exercise in fingers-crossed hope . Good networking; a strong well-practised interview; a reputation forged on past success. All these things can land you a decent job. But it doesn’t make you the right fit for a football club. However, sometimes the appointment just looks and feels right. Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. David Moyes at Everton. Ian Holloway at Blackpool. More recently, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. There are lots of examples. The managers personality, values and philosophy matches that of the club, the fans and […]

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Football Psychology: Teddy Sheringham – Sacked!

So Teddy Sheringham is sacked as manager of Stevenage.  With only three points taken from the last eight games and the club hovering above the League Two trap-door, the former England striker was relieved of his duties, in this his first managerial post. One of the negative patterns that Sheringham wasn’t able to resolve, was that of his team conceding costly late goals. York City, Crawley Town, Leyton Orient and Yeovil were all beneficiaries of his sides inability to close out a game. The failure to solve problems is one of the most obvious reasons why a manager loses his […]

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